Einstein Gravitational Wave Astronomy Uncovering Einstein's New Universe Wallal Expedition

Uncovering Einstein's New Universe: From Wallal to gravitational Wave Astronomy was released early in September 2022 to celebrate the centenary of the 1922 Wallal expedition.

Einstein gave us a vision of a new universe in which time and space are warped and rippling in response to everything else in the universe. Vast bursts of energy in the form of ripples of pure and empty space are passing through us at light speed, carrying messages about a dying universe and about the places where space, time and matter all cease to exist.

It took a century of struggle to understand Einstein’s prophesy. Einstein doubted his predictions, and eventually, it took 1000 physicists to detect his greatest prophecy of all, gravitational waves.

The definitive proof of Einstein’s new universe began with donkey trains and sailing ships at Wallal in 1922. A century of struggle by an array of eccentric and determined scientists brought us to the era of gravitational wave astronomy where our detectors, like bionic ears, have given us a brand new sense, an ability to hear across the vast scale of the universe.

This book tells the international story from an Australian perspective, from the Wallal Expedition, instigated by Alexander Ross of the University of Western Australia, to the Australia-wide team that participated in the discovery of gravitational waves and continues to lead national efforts in gravitational wave discovery.

David Blair leads the Einstein-First project that is bringing Einstein’s universe into classrooms across Australia. This book is part of that project.

Ron Burman is an astrophysicist who has uncovered the Wallal history.

Paul Davies is a renowned cosmologist and thinker, and bestselling author of more than 30 books.



Find out more about UWA's celebrations for the Centenary of the Wallal expedition here.

In September 2022, The University of Western Australia (UWA) is celebrating the centenary of the Wallal eclipse expedition, a heroic effort involving astronomers, filmmakers, aviators, physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, and the Indigenous Nyungumarta people who welcomed the group to their land.

Instigated by UWA Professor Alexander Ross, the expedition proved Einstein’s theory of relativity, changed our understanding of space, time and gravity, and showcased Western Australia as a significant player in world science. This set the stage for Australian participation in recent discoveries of black holes and neutron stars crashing together and making the most powerful explosions that send gravitational waves echoing across the universe. 

The expedition is a story of science, sailing ships, surf and donkeys, and innovative ideas that changed how we think. Hosted in the Undercroft of UWA’s iconic Winthrop Hall, scientists, a renowned WA artist, and educators have created an exhibition that takes you on a journey that starts in Wallal and finishes with the astonishing discoveries of black holes all over the universe.


Now available from our website.

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