(Extensions of Remarks - May 19, 2006)

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[Congressional Record Volume 152, Number 63 (Friday, May 19, 2006)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E885-E886]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                         HON. SOLOMON P. ORTIZ

                                of texas

                    in the house of representatives

                         Thursday, May 18, 2006

  Mr. ORTIZ. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to share with the House a 
monumental discovery made by scientists in my district that will make 
it easier for space scientists to map black holes in space. This 
breathaking discovery on gravitational waves was made by researchers at 
the University of Texas at Brownsville, and allows scientists--for the 
first time--to study the warping of space and time produced by 
colliding black holes.
  Now, I'm no rocket scientist--but UTB's gravitational wave studies 
universal breakthrough will give researchers and other space scientists 
greater insight into one of the most cataclysmic astrophysical events 
predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity, the merger of two 
black holes. Given that most of us are not scientists, let me just say 
that this remarkable discovery will guide astrophysicists as they learn 
more about the origin and history of the supermassive black holes which 
reside at the core of most galaxies, including our own Milky Way.
  Black hole merger models are always challenging to build due to their 
unique and unknown nature. Black holes in space are regions where 
gravity is so intense that nothing, including light itself, can evade 
their pull. Because their mergers generate a remarkably strong burst of 
gravitational waves when they approach and collide, lasting for years 
at a time, they affect both space and time by producing ripples in the 
curved geometry of the universe.
  This shift in the concept Einstein defined as ``spacetime'' has 
proven to be a difficult task for computer simulations to execute or 
follow. Yet UTB scientists M. Campanelli, C.O. Lousto and Y. Zlochower 
devised a novel technique for properly representing black holes during 
such collisions, which is why UTB's breakthrough is an epic 
contribution in the study of our universe.
  This extraordinary discovery will enable scientists to verify 
Einstein's famed theory of general relativity--and specifically his 
theory of spacetime curvature. Results from this discovery will prepare 
the NASA/European Space Agency's 2015 gravitational wave mission, which 
aims to detect the gravitational waves produced from supermassive black 
hole collisions, also considered the most potent source of energy in 
the universe.
  Physicists at UTB's Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy have made 
exceptional progress in their field through this development, which is 
a reflection of their extensive dedication and sheer creativity. 
Through such efforts, they are establishing south Texas as a force in 
space science issues and as a leader in innovation.

[[Page E886]]

  Several groups have attempted to reach a solution to the 
computational complications involved in gravitational wave detection, 
leaving most researchers predicting that this elusive discovery would 
be incremental, through an arduous series of small improvements. UTB 
scientists, however, have contradicted this belief with their out-of-
the-box thinking and relentless perseverance.
  Despite a lack of equipment and economic resources, UTB scientists 
utilized the least sophisticated computer systems and relied on their 
stellar ingenuity to achieve a revolutionary breakthrough, the sort 
that comes along between every 10-50 years.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues in the House of Representatives to 
join me in applauding a group of intellectuals whose vision and 
brilliance are truly ahead of their time. These south Texans have 
inspired us today and changed the way our world will see the future.