SCIENCE: Laplace’s ideas

Global Wave Discovery Ends 220-Year Search
An 18th-century physicist first predicted the existence of a chorus of atmospheric waves that swoop around Earth. Scientists have finally found them.

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Laplace’s ideas launched a centuries-long quest to find such waves. But the oscillations proved as gentle as they are giant, stubbornly refusing to reveal themselves even to some of the biggest names in the physical sciences.

At last, the search is over. An exquisite new meteorological data set has uncovered what millions of barometer readings missed: an ensemble of waves that race around the Earth, covering it in a patchwork quilt of high- and low-pressure zones. The detection is a stunning vindication of a vintage theory.

“This a really beautiful piece of work,” said Leo Donner, a geophysicist at Princeton University who was not involved in the study.

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Them Dead Old White Guys were damn smart!


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