One hundred years ago, Albert Einstein used his newly discovered general theory of relativity (which implies that space itself responds to the presence of matter by curving, expanding or contracting) to demonstrate that each time we wave our hands around or move any matter, disturbances in the fabric of space propagate out at the speed of light, as waves travel outward when a rock is thrown into a lake. As these gravitational waves traverse space they will literally cause distances between objects alternately to decrease and increase in an oscillatory manner.

Too often people ask, what’s the use of science like this, if it doesn’t produce faster cars or better toasters. But people rarely ask the same question about a Picasso painting, or a Mozart symphony. Such pinnacles of human creativity change our perspective of our place in the universe. Science, like art, music, and literature, has the capacity to amaze and excite, dazzle and bewilder. I would argue that it is that aspect of science — its cultural contribution, its humanity — that is perhaps its most important feature.
— "Finding Beauty in the Darkness" by Lawrence M. Krauss, The New York Times, Feb. 11, 2016.