Scientists working on the detection of gravity waves could be in line for huge payouts from bookmakers Ladbrokes.
Ladbrokes began promoting bets on scientific discoveries last summer, and offered 500:1 on gravity waves not being detected before 2010.
After scientists flocked to the betting shops the odds were cut to 5:1 and Ladbrokes closed the book a few weeks later when odds had fallen further.
Ladbrokes spokesman Karl Williams said: "We've been blinded by science. We're looking at a £150,000 loss if the experiments are successful.
"But win, lose or draw we'll carry on making odds for scientific discoveries. We never close a book on a popular betting area."
Williams explained that individual bets were limited to £25, so the maximum payout will be £12,500. British scientists will be getting the bulk of the money.
Scientists involved in the GEO600 project to detect gravitational waves now say that it is likely they will have proof by the middle of next year.
The team, including scientists from Cardiff and Glasgow universities, started the first stage of the project this weekend, and by the end of the year four Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory detectors will be working in concert to find the phenomenon.
Professor Jim Hough, from Glasgow University, a key member of the GEO600 team, told vnunet.com that he had managed to get a bet on.
Einstein postulated that as mass accelerates it forces the space time continuum to stretch, creating gravitational waves that can be sensed by their action on any particles.
But unlike light and radio waves gravitational disturbances do not degrade over distance or time, giving astronomers a much clearer way to see the universe around them.
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