Grave Wave Doubts?

coverns

I noticed this morning that this week’s New Scientist cover feature (by Michael Brooks)is entitled Exclusive: Grave doubts over LIGO’s discovery of gravitational waves. The article is behind a paywall – and I’ve so far been unable to locate a hard copy in Maynooth so I haven’t read it yet but it is about the so-called `Danish paper’ that pointed out various unexplained features in LIGO data associated with the first detection of gravitational waves of a binary black hole merger.

I did know this piece was coming, however, as I spoke to the author on the phone some time ago to clarify some points I made in previous blog posts on this issue (e.g. this one and that one). I even ended up being quoted in the article:

Not everyone agrees the Danish choices were wrong. “I think their paper is a good one and it’s a shame that some of the LIGO team have been so churlish in response,” says Peter Coles, a cosmologist at Maynooth University in Ireland.

I stand by that comment, as I think certain members – though by no means all – of the LIGO team have been uncivil in their reaction to the Danish team, implying that they consider it somehow unreasonable that the LIGO results such be subject to independent scrutiny. I am not convinced that the unexplained features in the data released by LIGO really do cast doubt on the detection, but unexplained features there undoubtedly are. Surely it is the job of science to explain the unexplained?

It is an important aspect of the way science works is that when a given individual or group publishes a result, it should be possible for others to reproduce it (or not as the case may be). In normal-sized laboratory physics it suffices to explain the experimental set-up in the published paper in sufficient detail for another individual or group to build an equivalent replica experiment if they want to check the results. In `Big Science’, e.g. with LIGO or the Large Hadron Collider, it is not practically possible for other groups to build their own copy, so the best that can be done is to release the data coming from the experiment. A basic problem with reproducibility obviously arises when this does not happen.

In astrophysics and cosmology, results in scientific papers are often based on very complicated analyses of large data sets. This is also the case for gravitational wave experiments. Fortunately, in astrophysics these days, researchers are generally pretty good at sharing their data, but there are a few exceptions in that field.

Even allowing open access to data doesn’t always solve the reproducibility problem. Often extensive numerical codes are needed to process the measurements and extract meaningful output. Without access to these pipeline codes it is impossible for a third party to check the path from input to output without writing their own version, assuming that there is sufficient information to do that in the first place. That researchers should publish their software as well as their results is quite a controversial suggestion, but I think it’s the best practice for science. In any case there are often intermediate stages between `raw’ data and scientific results, as well as ancillary data products of various kinds. I think these should all be made public. Doing that could well entail a great deal of effort, but I think in the long run that it is worth it.

I’m not saying that scientific collaborations should not have a proprietary period, just that this period should end when a result is announced, and that any such announcement should be accompanied by a release of the data products and software needed to subject the analysis to independent verification.

Given that the detection of gravitational waves is one of the most important breakthroughs ever made in physics, I think this is a matter of considerable regret. I also find it difficult to understand the reasoning that led the LIGO consortium to think it was a good plan only to go part of the way towards open science, by releasing only part of the information needed to reproduce the processing of the LIGO signals and their subsequent statistical analysis. There may be good reasons that I know nothing about, but at the moment it seems to me to me to represent a wasted opportunity.

CLARIFICATION: The LIGO Consortium released data from the first observing run (O1) – you can find it here – early in 2018, but this data set was not available publicly at the time of publication of the first detection, nor when the team from Denmark did their analysis.

I know I’m an extremist when it comes to open science, and there are probably many who disagree with me, so here’s a poll I’ve been running for a year or so on this issue:

Any other comments welcome through the box below!

UPDATE: There is a (brief) response from LIGO (& VIRGO) here.

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38 Responses to “Grave Wave Doubts?”

  1. I didn’t vote, because it is not clear to me what the answer is. If software is released, what will people do with it? If they just compile and run it, nothing is gained, and perhaps this results in a bogus confirmation. Suppose you get a million lines of Fortran77 with no comments. How does that help? It would probably be quicker to write new code from scratch. An independent code producing the same results would be a much stronger verification. So, rather than publish software (there are reasons not to publish, which I can mention if asked), what one should release are data and a description of what the code does. People are free to write other codes. If the results agree, fine. If not, one might need a third code.

    Having the source code means little in practice. “I like running linux, because it is open source, and I can change it at will and/or find mistakes.” How often have I heard that, and how seldom have I met someone who actually has done either of these things. So, in practice, this doesn’t help, because a code which was difficult and time-consuming to write will be difficult and time-consuming to verify.

    Recently there was a case where a multiply imaged supernova was discovered and there was a “competition” to see where, a while later, another image would appear. People had the data to make the prediction, but it was probably better, in the sense of independent confirmation, that not everyone had all codes. (As it turned out, most of the predictions were very good. This is a rare case where one can actually test the prediction of the code in the real world.)

    I have nothing against making software freely available. I’m quite happy that some of my Fortran code was used by the Supernova Cosmology Project in the paper which one Saul Perlmutter the Nobel Prize. 🙂 I just don’t think that, in cases like that of the Danish paper*, it would solve the problem.

    —-
    *Why does the Danish paper remind me of the Scottish play? 🙂

  2. Peter: I haven’t read the latest papers by Creswell. Are there any new claims in their recent papers in addition to those in the papers in 2017 and before?

  3. Gravitational waves are, by definition, ripples in spacetime, and spacetime makes no sense if the speed of light is not constant. Contrary to mythology, the speed of light is OBVIOUSLY variable:

    Stationary light source; moving receiver: http://www.einstein-online.info/images/spotlights/doppler/doppler_detector_blue.gif

    (Website: http://www.einstein-online.info/spotlights/doppler.html)

    The speed of the light pulses relative to the source is

    c = df

    where d is the distance between the pulses and f is the frequency measured by the source. The speed of the pulses relative to the receiver is

    c’= df’ > c

    where f’ > f is the frequency measured by the receiver.

  4. George S. Willaims Says:

    There appears to be a copy of the New Scientist article on the author’s web site-
    Exclusive: Grave doubts over LIGO’s discovery of gravitational waves

  5. Thaddeus Gutierrez Says:

    I have been working on this problem from a more forgiving perspective than most – not denying GR, black holes, or that LIGO signals represent real events, but investigating coincident geophysical-space physical response to magnetospheric mode recorded in ACE, GOES, and cloud-ground lightning discharge data surrounding GW events. The blog posts are not exhaustive, but can be accessed by those with some background in various space physical and geophysical topics.

    The two most crucial studies relevant to the foundations of public belief on the topic of LIGO discovery are summarized in the first two links, which are geophysical and space physical explications of space physical GW150914 and GW170817 environments within our magnetosphere and near interplanetary domain:

    GW170817
    http://fulguritics.blogspot.com/2018/06/gw170817-occurs-at-green-bar.html
    GW150914
    http://fulguritics.blogspot.com/2018/06/progress-on-ligo-event-analysis-here.html

    Problems with NGC 4993/AT2017gfo/GRB170817A/GW170817 association and subsequent inadequacies in time and frequency domain models for a kilonova transient viewed off-axis with an enduring (and possibly oscillating/recurring) afterglow:

    https://fulguritics.blogspot.com/2018/10/why-is-information-on-ngc-4993.html

    GRB150101B as evidence for the validity of GRB170817A:

    https://fulguritics.blogspot.com/2018/10/a-short-grb-analogue-with-multi.html

    Lags between observer-dependent group arrival and the scaling and morphology of putative sources for GW are also readily identified as those produced by the unusually structured and energetic inter-detector line-of-sight thunderstorms (which are absent in literature on the topic, including those papers focusing on Schumann resonant mode excitation for stochastic GW background signal discrimination). The notion of discharge signal superposition and extended high energy glows have only been widespread in the literature regarding thunderstorms and terrestrial lightning since 2015. Magnetospheric-solar wind coupling to an opening geomagnetic field and particle outflow with quasiperiodic injection of global pulsations is not rare, but is the only valid exception to arguments against Schumann resonance-linked waveguide enhancement of transverse magnetic modes, which can charge instruments and modulate diffraction fields:

    http://fulguritics.blogspot.com/2018/06/blog-post.html
    http://fulguritics.blogspot.com/2018/06/continent-wide-blitzortung.html

    LIGO magnetometers still do not consider the Z-component in time evolution of local magnetic field at intervals < 1 minute, and arm-mounted on-site LIGO magnetometers were left off from September 12 2015 to November 2015; it is these multiple magnetometer sensor data streams by which LIGO will ultimately be tested prior to aLISA (expected to be launched by 2034):

    http://fulguritics.blogspot.com/2018/06/httpswww.html

    There are excess correlations between LIGO event parameters and multiscaled-periodic physical systems that remain unexplained:

    http://fulguritics.blogspot.com/2018/06/a-days-work-in-excel-of-all-places.html
    http://fulguritics.blogspot.com/2018/06/roger-penrose-penrose-2017-may-be.html
    https://fulguritics.blogspot.com/2018/06/srchttpswww.html

  6. Anton Garrett Says:

    I haven’t looked at the literature at research level but I don’t quite understand the fuss. The theorists implement GR on computers so as to determine reasonably accurately what GR predicts (with a free parameter or two for, eg, the masses), and if that signal is seen in two (or latterly three) detectors in which the noise is mutually independent, they announce a hit. Surely all they need to do in order to cover themselves is calculate the probabilities based on the noise stats, and perhaps translate that into the number of sigmas on the result. I don’t know if that is beyond the toolkit of orthodox statistics, but a decent Bayesian could do it in an afternoon. Did LIGO give probabilities/sigmas, or did they write it up without doing so, and just claim “We’ve got it”?

    The only thing I can see that that might render inadequate the logic in the preceding paragraph is if other naturally occurring events trigger both detectors in a manner vaguely resembling a gravi-wave-producing event. Certainly an earthquake might register in both detectors, but is it going to look anything like a ringdown?

    Responses gratefully received…

    • For example, there’s the detailed statistics and full detector characterisation for the GW150914 here: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0264-9381/33/13/134001

      • Thaddeus Gutierrez Says:

        A false dual trigger with correct lag occurs every 100 seconds (0.01 Hz), according to the article.

      • Thaddeus Gutierrez Says:

        “The rate of single interferometer background triggers in the CBC search for H1 (above) and L1 (below), where color indicates a threshold on the detection statistic, X^2-weighted SNR. Each point represents the average rate over a 2048 s interval. The times of GW150914 and LVT151012 are indicated with vertical dashed and dotted–dashed lines respectively.”

        LIGO dual trigger rate for transient events of all sources at SNR>8 is ~100 seconds (0.01 Hz).

        http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0264-9381/33/13/134001:

        “Potential electromagnetic noise sources include lightning, solar events and solar-wind driven noise, as well as RF communication. If electromagnetic noise were strong enough to affect h(t), it would be witnessed with high SNR by radio receivers and magnetometers.”

        North American ground magnetometer data around GW150914
        http://fulguritics.blogspot.com/2018/06/httpswww.html

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Thaddeus: If “a false dual trigger with correct lag occurs every 100 seconds” then LIGO’s analysts must be using some further criterion to label these as false, since LIGO is not claiming gravi-wave events every 100s. What would that criterion be, please?

    • Thaddeus Gutierrez Says:

      LIGO templates are generic waveforms based on Bessel functions. Chirps are ubiquitous as signals of short transients.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Thanks. But that is presumably just the asymptote and numerical GR enters nontrivially during the merging?

      • Thaddeus Gutierrez Says:

        NR templates are problematic in their incompleteness (LIGO cannot produce the full known array of GW waveforms with their ad hoc algorithms) and do not essentially contain any unique information that would be absent in an n-body coalescence of radiative relativistic annular ionization fronts or in a non-Newtonian fluid with shock-driven quasinormal modes from domain foliation, or from the superposition of annular singularity-like ionospheric radio bursts from thunderstorms with quasinormal modes. Upon Wiener filtering, arbitrary band subtraction, and decimation, any signal displaying Airy oscillation will do. Circular EM waveguides are modeled upon Bessel functions with similar characteristic to gravitational wave templates, and their TE-TM modes, upon generation of pseudospectral histograms from spatial eigenmodes of emitter and dispersive cavity, reproduce very much identical broadband spectral amplitude contours to DFTs of LIGO strain.

        A look-elsewhere/multiple comparisons risk is explicit when one considers both the true weakness of signal in all cases (orders of magnitude lower than RMS of total signal+noise), and that the process of signal extraction and parameter estimation from a strong prior assumption is necessary: the rejection of hundreds of thousands of experimental templates before any fit to signal is achieved with respect to prior demands for parameter rigidity.

        AT2017gfo source can no longer be described consistently if one accepts validity for error bounds derived after scaling the initial LIGO GW170817 event, and even the luminosity distances chosen for hypothetical models contradict other afterglow evolution models without addressing this inconsistency.

        The < 300 keV magnitude of GRB170817A and strange, oscillating X-ray luminosity|flux activity from AT2017gfo is inconsistent with any prior modeled or observed kilonova, a fact which is surprisingly not very well received in the astronomical community. Spectra are nearly featureless with unexplained bifurcations, and there are almost no observations still being made of the NGC 4993 sky area. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1802.10027.pdf

        https://fulguritics.blogspot.com/2018/10/why-is-information-on-ngc-4993.html

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Many thanks. Gravitational radiation is quadrupole, so presumably it is by seeking signals having no dipole or monopole character that LIGO claims to have detected gravitational waves? Is that why they don’t claim an event every 100s to match the coincidence rate you claim?

      • A dual-detector arrival interval within ~10 Ms is the primary criterion by which LIGO selects signals. The rest is template fitting and statistical confidence/systematic error estimation. LIGO transient strain signals show weak ordinary dispersion. Negative phase power in ASD plots dominates lagged spectrum corresponding to station-dependent arrival order.

      • l=3002 km (distance between LIGO observatories)
        c=299792.458 km/s
        l/c= 0.01001359413 s

        So, a candidate GE dual trigger must satisfy a 10 ms upper limit for wavefront arrival. For GW150914, the signal was delayed in the Hanford strain data by 0.0069 s (~7 ms).

      • Thaddeus Gutierrez Says:

        Remember that magnetic reconnection, intermittent modes in fusion plasmas, and many other critical phase transitions generate pairs of coupled oscillators/vortices, which can synthesize into nulls and “islands,” with feedback-driven nonequilbrium dynamics. LIGO cross-correlation searches are essentially locating quasiperiodic oscillation with quasinormal modes. This is a non-unique condition I would say.

        Difference in noise floor between GW channels (non-Gaussian during GW intervals) and magnetometer channels (nearly-white noise during known enhanced correlated noise intervals linked to global and local thunderstorm activity) challenges the efficacy of cross-correlation searches between undersampled LIGO mag. and GW channel data. Hidden power in transverse modes invisible to these sample lengths can cause significant charging and magnetic disturbances to LIGO instrumental modules, vacuum, and suspension hardware. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1707.09047.pdf

        From Magnetism and Advanced LIGO (Daniel and Schofield, October 6, 2014) https://dcc.ligo.org/public/0116/P1400210/002/SURF%20Final%20Paper.pdf:

        “LIGO plans to monitor magnetic fields because they can affect the interferometer’s signals. A magnetic field from a Schumann Resonance can affect both LIGO interferometers in a similar way as a gravitational wave. Magnetic field data can be used to figure out whether a signal was caused by a gravitational wave or a magnetic field.[… . …] One environmental factor that can affect the interferometer is magnetism because first, tiny magnets are used to control the position of each test mass and second, a magnetic field can induce a current in a wire that is a part of the detector. First, each test mass is hung in a suspension system containing electromagnets. The current carrying the gravitational wave signal runs through the electromagnets to produce magnetic fields which move the test mass back to its original position. Second, a magnetic field can induce a current in a wire such as the wire containing the gravitational wave signal and the wire within one of the electromagnets. An ambient magnetic field can not only displace a test mass via the tiny magnets but also induce a current in a wire. Monitoring magnetic fields around each interferometer is necessary in order to prevent a false gravitational wave detection.[… . …] A global magnetic field, or a magnetic field detectable on the global scale, is of interest to LIGO because gravitational waves and magnetic fields both travel at the speed of light. LIGO consists of two interferometers to provide a strong statistical confirmation of a gravitational wave detection, but this confirmation is void if the gravitational wave signal was actually caused by a magnetic field. An ambiguity in whether the signals from both interferometers were due to a gravitational wave or a magnetic field is conceivable because there are globally correlated magnetic fields. [… . …] When starting to calibrate one of the magnetometers in the LVEA, DTT’s time series plot was saturated. The maximum number of counts provided by the ADC was consistently exceeded. In other words, all the data was not fitting on the DTT time series plot, so calibrating in this state would produce an incorrect calibration factor. The power spectrum showed a tall peak at 60 Hz. The surrounding, fluctuating magnetic fields from the 60 Hz wires which power the entire LVEA, especially the clean rooms, were so strong that magnetometer’s sensitive measurements could not be accurately viewed on DTT. To calibrate the magnetometers, one must wait until the clean rooms are gone.”

        A strange non-chaotic attractor can appear in any critical n-bodied interaction, described by KAM and Aubrey-Mather theory. Soliton formation in phase space from Airy beams or pulses must be considered, as many natural solitons and other transients can be produced through nonlinear dynamics leading to non-equilibrium stable solutions in plasma and fluids.

        https://arxiv.org/pdf/1805.04738.pdf
        https://www.osapublishing.org/oe/abstract.cfm?uri=oe-19-18-17298
        http://www.ss.ncu.edu.tw/~lyu/lecture_files_en/lyu_NLSPP_Notes/Lyu_NLSPP_Chapter4_2S.pdf
        https://www.uni-muenster.de/imperia/md/content/physik_ap/denz/publikationen/2016/02diebel.pdf

    • telescoper Says:

      Anton, the problem as I see it is that the full analysis of the noise characteristics (which is needed to assign meaningful probabilities) has not yet been published. This is hard because the noise is non-stationary and non-Gaussian, but all the same it’s an essential part of the story and it’s a pity it’s not in the public domain.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Thanks for the summary Peter. Clearly the noise analysis must be put in the public domain given that detection depends on separating signal and noise. What more need be said?

      • telescoper Says:

        In the New Scientist article the LIGO folks Duncan Brown and Neil Cornish say they intend to publish such a paper, but they don’t say when.

        Incidentally, Duncan Brown was one of the people representing LIGO in Copenhagen last year. Apparently he is no longer a member of LIGO, though I don’t know why…

      • Thaddeus Gutierrez Says:

        These f______g people https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/10/danish-physicists-claim-to-cast-doubt-on-detection-of-gravitational-waves/:

        “For all the sound and fury, the Danish group’s position is a minority opinion. Even those physicists who went on the record with New Scientist in support of the Danish team’s analysis still think that, in the end, the LIGO results will hold up. Their emphasis is on the need for independent confirmation of LIGO’s analysis.”

        [which physicists? I highly doubt that one can call this an honest summation of consensus – and why can’t people recognize why we should be cautious while slinging the notion of ‘confirmation’ anywhere that may terminate an argument?]

        “On that point [independent “confirmation”], people seem to be in agreement. But Reitze counters that the complete data from that first run is already available online. According to Shoemaker, this includes the relevant time series data and the programs used, but “it’s not a trivial matter to use them.” Caltech even held a training workshop on how to deal with gravitational-wave data. That’s a pretty far cry from asking the physics community to take its analysis on faith, as Jackson claims in the New Scientist article.”

        [Reitze redirects the focus and bounds of transparency demands onto their own propaganda-like workshops and tutorials (hardly “faith”), and skirts around the issue undetected by a willfully-uninformed readership, as magnetometer and power monitor data, experimental logs, and complete signal extraction and parameter estimation process records will remain unavailable; just ask Kip Thorne: “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth”]

        “And contrary to Jackson’s assertion in the article, a technical paper really is in the works at the LIGO collaboration detailing how it has handled the noise in its data—noise just hasn’t been a top priority. Shoemaker concedes this has given LIGO a needed nudge to complete it. “We’ve been careful to write a paper that is not a rebuttal of Jackson et al., since I don’t think that would be very useful for the community,” he says. “Instead, it will be more didactic about the specific points where we see they had difficulties.'”

        [“a technical paper” full of circular logic and compositional fallacy will be released at some future date, after promising since July 2017 to do so, that will not even address the criticism, but will function as more coaching for their lackeys]

    • “a decent Bayesian”

      What is an indecent Bayesian? One who puts a high priority on posteriors?

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Sadly, although the word Bayesian is a differentiator from “trequentist”, the word still has various meanings and some of them are wrong.

      • telescoper Says:

        Sadly also, even Bayesians can screw up sometimes!

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Indeed Peter, but at least it’s not in the DNA of our techniques!

      • telescoper Says:

        It always impresses me that frequentists have special words and phrases to describe the way their methods are wrong (e.g. `biased estimator’ etc), whereas if you do a Bayesian analysis incorrectly you just have to say you fucked up.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        The question does arise of how, in a probabilistic calculation, you might know you got the wrong answer. Frequentist methods are liable to fail in model problems such as knowing with certainty that the answer in (for instance) a parameter estimation does not fall within a certain interval. Bayesian methods are able to incorporate such information into the prior information, and since the prior is a factor in the posterior the zero value of probability in that interval carries through. If a Bayesian answer clashes with intuition then either your intuition needed educating, or you failed to take relevant information into account, or (rarely) you implemented Bayes’ theorem incorrectly.

      • A decent Bayesian doesn’t confuse priors with posteriors; a decent Bayesian is aware of the difference between experience, empirical data, prior probabilities, and theory.

  7. Thaddeus Gutierrez Says:

    Apparently, according to “open” LIGO logbooks (which may have have been redacted, judging by various missing internal responses and a lack of information surrounding actual gravitational wave trigger times), at least one vital LIGO Livingston magnetometer was overlooked – left inoperative – for over a month, and as such both GW150914 and LVT151012 were recorded during a high-noise period with active magnetospheric sawtooth events during a dual detector SNR>8 false trigger arrival rate of 0.1 Hz (100 seconds).

    LIGO will not release their magnetometer or power monitor/mains data (which are scientifically important in their own right, but can lead to reduced confidence levels if a terrestrial magnetic source is involved with channel saturation and enhanced noise coherence in multiple instruments). Some highlights from magnetometer-related internal LIGO logs from O1:

    “12:46, Tuesday 17 November 2015
    [… . …]
    Magnetometers at End Station VEAs Fixed

    I went this morning to investigate the end station VEA magnetometers.
    Turns out we left the EY magnetometer off since Sep 12. I turned it on, spectrum looks reasonable now.
    At EX I swapped the PSU box from the new model to the old model and two types of noise went away: a comb of lines at 1 and 1.5 Hz and a high frequency slope that I don’t understand. We’ll have to look into this and complain to Bartington about it. I’ve seen this “feature” in other PSUs and I’ve relegated those to EBAY magnetometers, where we don’t have the x100 filter boxes. Spectrum attached. Not sure what the 1-2kHz noise is, maybe the old box is losing it too… Will investigate”

    Both Livingston and Hanford LIGO facilities report this (implied) total magnetometer inadequacy, which persisted during the first two LIGO events. here is a record from Hanford:

    https://alog.ligo-wa.caltech.edu/aLOG/iframeSrc.php?authExpired=&content=1&step=&callRep=22077&startPage=&preview=&printCall=&callUser=&addCommentTo=&callHelp=&callFileType=#
    “14:34, Tuesday 29 September 2015
    […]
    Reinstalled power supplies to end station EBAY magnetometers
    […]
    We put power supplies back in place that were removed here. The EY magnetometer in the SEI rack was disconnected now has an old style power supply and seems to be working ok. The EX magnetometer in the SUS rack was disconnected and is now connected with a new style power supply which has 1hz charging glitches.”

    I take “1hz charging glitches” to indicate that “glitches” are occurring in the magnetometer channel specified at a rate of 1/second, rather than anomalous excitation of a 1 Hz spectral band. Please correct me on this.

    Interview with Anamaria Effler, Caltech (stationed at LIGO Livingston during O1) https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/ligoevent/pdfs/LIGO_Testimonials_v02.pdf:

    “Robert Schofield and I were testing the L1 detector’s sensitivity to environmental noise at LIGO Livingston on the night of September 13. Our tests were part of LIGO’s preparations for the O1 run. We were still working at 2am on Monday, September 14. Pausing until about 4am to evaluate our data, we debated whether or not to do “car injections” in which one of us would drive a large car near the main detector building and apply the brakes violently every five seconds to see if the seismic noise from the car would appear in the interferometer data. But the GPS wristwatch that we needed for the test had become disconnected from the satellite signal. This was the last straw. We said, “Fine, we can live without this test.” I distinctly remember (because I was asked many times during the next few days) looking at my car clock as I was driving away from the site and seeing that the time was 4:35am. I knew that my clock was three minutes in error, which annoyed me.
    The next day or the following, I saw some email traffic on GW150914 and my heart stopped because of the possibility that it occurred during our tests (although this couldn’t have happened because we keep the detector out of observation mode while we’re testing). Nevertheless I experienced a second or two of “oh no . . . (the polite version of what I thought). Then I breathed a giant sigh of relief knowing that we were off-site by the time of the event and that we didn’t do the last few tests. But knowing how close we were . . .
    I didn’t expect a detection during this run and I didn’t believe that GW150914 was real for quite a while. Not until it was established that no injections had occurred and that the signal didn’t appear in other data channels; even then I didn’t dare believe. The realization slowly seeped in over time. The event was too big and I can’t imagine how people feel who have been in the field for a long time.”

    Data channel searches referenced by A. Effler are not power monitor and magnetometer channels, by the way (see above). There is little mention of any observation of excessive charging during LIGO runs in any discovery-explicating LIGO publications, but the fact that it happens frequently is ubiquitous in LIGO technical literature.

  8. Could it be that inertia decrease is into play here?
    I realise that the such an inertia idea is in contrast with common knowledge. However,
    two massive neutron stars or small BHs merge, seem to have no inertia enough to rotate around each other before merging longer than a second. My proposal
    is that they do not rotate but simply bang into each other, with only deformation gravity wave effects see image.

  9. […] quale potrebbe essere questo sforzo? Come suggerisce l’astrofisico Peter Coles sul suo blog, gli scienziati, oltre a rendere pubblici i dati, dovrebbero rendere accessibili anche i software, […]

  10. “That researchers should publish their software as well as their results is quite a controversial suggestion, but I think it’s the best practice for science. In any case there are often intermediate stages between `raw’ data and scientific results, as well as ancillary data products of various kinds. I think these should all be made public. Doing that could well entail a great deal of effort, but I think in the long run that it is worth it.”

    I ran across an interesting discussion on this today. It makes some of the same points you do, but also discusses barriers:

    “We’d need to prepare from the start for everything we do on the computer to eventually be made available for others to see. For many researchers, that’s an overwhelming thought. Victoria Stodden has found the biggest objection to sharing files is the time it takes to prepare them by writing documentation and cleaning them up. The second biggest concern is the risk of not receiving credit for the files if someone else uses them.”

  11. […] my recent post about the claims and counter-claims concerning the detection (or otherwise) of gravitational waves, […]

  12. LIGO’s claim of the discovery of grawaves (short form of gravitational waves) is based on the ripples caused on the Space-Time Continuum – henceforth STC. However, STC is being debated for 100 years and still then there is no generally accepted opinion – whether it is reality or an illusion. This year, in May, a conference was oreganized by the Minkowski Institute in Albena, BULGARIA and the focus was in STC: Real / Imaginary?. Therefore I am of the opinoion that the said discovery is still on a shaky footing though it was rewarded with the Nobel Physics Prize in 2017. If possible, readers can read my letter in Space Research today, April 2017, # 198, p. 35.

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