“There’s no way it’s real”

Interesting “inside” story by a student of the discovery of gravitational waves, from the Classical and Quantum Gravity Website.
Professor Stephen Fairhurst (mentioned in the post) is a member of the Gravitational Physics group at Cardiff University, and Director of the Data Innovation Research Institute.


Written by Samantha Usman, who is currently pursuing an MPhil at Cardiff University, UK under the supervision of Prof. Stephen Fairhurst. She graduated in May 2016 with a BS in Mathematics and Physics at Syracuse University. While at Syracuse, Usman worked with Prof. Duncan Brown on improving LIGO’s sensitivity to gravitational waves from binary star systems. In her spare time, Usman trains in Brazilian jiu jitsu and Muay Thai kickboxing and enjoys walks with her Australian Shepherd, Marble.

The discovery of gravitational waves from an undergraduate’s perspective

Author Samantha Usman training for competition in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Author Samantha Usman training for competition in Brazilian jiu jitsu.

The first time I learned LIGO might have detected a gravitational wave, I was listening in on a conference call on September 16, 2015. Two days earlier, ripples in the fabric of space from massive black holes crashing into each other at half the speed of light had passed through the…

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2 Responses to ““There’s no way it’s real””

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    Books will be written about this, at all levels. Would it be churlish of me to express mild concern about the way one sentence has been written up, and hope it will be altered?

    on Monday, impatiently sitting on another telecon with a few hundred other researchers, we agreed the background of the searches looked clean and no more changes would be made to the data or the analyses once we looked at the results.

    The author needs to explain what “no more changes would be made to the data” mean. Otherwise it looks fishy, even though it isn’t.

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