‘Chasing the Waves’: sharing the discovery of the century through theatre

University of Glasgow physicists and astronomers who helped make the discovery of the century – the detection of gravitational waves – are set to share their fascinating story through theatre, with performances of new show ‘Chasing the Waves’ this December.

The show, produced by Glasgow Science Festival and funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) draws on the research and experiences of scientists who helped detect these ‘ripples’ in space-time, caused by some of the most dramatic events in the universe, from exploding stars to colliding black holes.

'Chasing the Waves' music video

Featuring acting, comedy, film and even a 1970s-style music video, ‘Chasing the Waves’ presents physics and astronomy as you’ve never seen it before.

Among the scientists involved is Professor James Hough, of the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy, who has been researching the elusive waves since 1971. Professor Hough said: “I’m delighted to have been a part of this project, which will highlight Glasgow’s contribution to the discovery. I’m looking forward to seeing the final product.”

Director of the Institute for Gravitational Research and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Scottish Government, Professor Sheila Rowan said: “I’m really looking forward to gravitational waves – the musical – the songs of space-time!”

Both Profs Hough and Rowan feature in a 1970s-inspired music video which will accompany the show.

Professor Martin Hendry, head of the School of Physics and Astronomy, said: ““The story of LIGO’s discovery, and the decades of research that made it possible, is a fascinating tale and this is a unique way to bring the excitement of that discovery to a completely new audience.”

The show is co-written by Dr Zara Gladman of Glasgow Science Festival and writer Emily Benita. Dr Gladman said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the public to gain a behind-the-scenes insight into the world of research and to hear how Glasgow scientists played a pivotal part in this discovery. I’m really excited to produce the show, which will share both the human interest and scientific aspects of the story, from doughnuts and 70s disco to black holes and interferometers. It’s going to be a lot of fun!”

Over 500 school pupils and teachers have already booked in to attend the shows. One FREE public performance for adults will take place in the newly refurbished Kevin Hall on Friday 9 December at 7pm. For booking and more information visit www.glasgowsciencefestival.org.uk

First published: 22 November 2016