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Has LIGO already discovered evidence for quantum gravity?

“According to Einstein, a black hole’s event horizon should have specific properties, determined by its mass, charge and angular momentum. In most ideas of what quantum gravity would look like, that event horizon would be no different. Some models, however, predict notably different event horizons, and it’s those departure models that offer a glimmer of hope for quantum gravity. If we see a difference from what Einstein’s theory predicts, perhaps we can uncover not only that gravity must be a quantum theory, but what properties quantum gravity actually has.”

In 2015, LIGO collected data from a total of three candidate gravitational wave events, all of which were announced and released in 2016. These events verified the great prediction of Einstein: that decaying orbits should emit gravitational radiation with specific magnitudes and frequencies that distort spacetime in a particular, measurable way. But some quantum gravitational ideas modify the event horizon and the space just outside of it, creating the possibility that merging black holes will exhibit “echoes” superimposed atop the Einsteinian signal. For the first time, a team of theorists dove into the LIGO data to test this, and may have just uncovered the first evidence for quantum gravity in our Universe.

With the next run of LIGO already underway, be prepared to find out that gravity may be inherently quantum after all!