# Prof: Trautman: my work on gravitational waves was forgotten

**My work on gravitational waves was written almost 60 years ago. Following the 1960 publication of the. I practically stopped dealing with them. And my research was forgotten by virtually everyone,” recounted Prof. Plebansky. Andrzej Trautman during a lecture at the Copernicus Science Center.**

Prof. Andrzej Trautman – Professor Emeritus of the University of Warsaw – is the recipient of this year’s Foundation for Polish Science Award, called the "Polish Nobel". He received the award in the area of mathematical, physical and engineering sciences for the theoretical demonstration of the reality of gravitational waves.

About the origins of gravitational wave research prof. Trautman spoke as part of the Adult Evening at the Copernicus Science Center.

Trautman in the 1950s. was a student at the Warsaw University of Technology. – In 1955. I listened to a lecture by prof. Jerzy Plebanski, whoóry was a student of prof. Leopold Infeld,” recalled prof. Trautman. Plebanski advised the young researcher to transfer theófame to prof group. Infeld and to deal with gravitational radiation as part of his doctoral work. He warned, however, that Infeld does not believe in the existence of gravitational radiation, so doing a PhD will be difficult. – And indeed it was a difficult task,” commented Prof. Trautman.

**And Einstein was mistaken**

Prof. Trautman talked about the origins of the theory on gravitational waves. Albert Einstein introduced the concept of gravitational waves in a 1916 paper by r. – Such a curiosity: this work contains an error – one might say an accounting error, but a very significant one. The final results, the formulas for the magnitude of radiation are (there – przyp. ed) bad,” said Andrew Trautman. And added that the error was not corrected until several years later.

In 1936. Einstein and Nathan Rosen undertook prób to describe plane gravitational waves. – By choosing the right arrangement of wspóThey came to the conclusion that there are no good solutions, because in all solutions thatóre they were able to find, they showed up in the necessary wayób singularities.(. ) They posted to *Physical Review* The paper, in whichówho questioned the existence of gravitational waves on this basis, Trautman recounted. However, the reviewer of the paper suggested that the results of the work are related to the choice of an ill-fitting layout wspórows. – It was the first time that Einstein’s work (. ) got a critical review,” commented Prof. Trautman. He added that Einstein was very outraged by the criticism. – We now know that the reviewer was Einstein’s friend from Princeton, (Howard Percy) Robertson. As far as I know, he did not admit to Einstein that it was him,” smiled Prof. Trautman. However, Einstein took the reviewer’s suggestions into account and sent the publication to another journal, further denying the existence of waves.

With Einstein wspóhe Leopold Infeld (wspóln conjunction with Banesh Hoffmann, they developed a new method for solving róin the equations of motion of bodies, whichó(ra is now called the EIH method). And Infeld shared Einstein’s opinion that gravitational waves do not exist.

**To do their own thing – even against everyone**

However, despite his promoter’s doubts, Andrew Trautman managed to gather arguments for the existence of gravitational waves. He showed that the energy of the system, whichóry emits gravitational waves, decreases (and it was not obvious to show).

Trautman presented hisój idea to British scientist Felix Pirani, whoóry came to Warsaw. And even before his doctorate, the Polish physicist was invited to the British King's College, where he gave a lecture series on his researchów. These lectures were attended by prominent researchers, including Hermann Bondi. – He wrote to Infeld that what I am doing is quite good,” said the physicist. When Andrew Trautman wróHe came to Poland, received his Ph. – It was not obvious, because Infeld did not accept the conclusionów of my work. This is one of the few cases in which theóIn the history of science, when someone gets a doctorate for a paper thatórej resultów promoter does not accept,” commented the gravitational wave researcher.

Prof. Trautman said, however, that Leopold Infeld was not a disbeliever until the end of his life regarding the existence of gravitational waves. – A person whoóhe one who managed to convince Infeld about waves was my wife, whoóra was also Infeld’s doctoral student – smiled Prof. Trautman.

During his stay in London, Trautman met Ivor Robinson. Researchers managed to find exact solutions róEinstein’s statements. This work started a series of subsequent very important studies.

– It was a paper from 1960. After that I actually stopped dealing with gravitational waves. My work on this subject was written almost 60 years ago. They were forgotten by virtually everyone,” Trautman said, adding that it was only because gravitational waves were recently observed in an experiment that his research was remembered. And – as he assessed – that’s why he now got the FNP award.

Sourceósource: PAP – Science in Poland , Ludwika Tomala, photo. CC BY-SA 4.0/Adam Walanus/Wikimedia