tisdag 3 oktober 2017

LI(e)GO Nobel Physics?

The detected signal of amplitude $10^{-22}$ lasting a fraction of a second supposedly coming from collision of the most violent event of a merger of two massive black holes 1.3 billion years ago.

With the announcement today of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics:
  • "for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves"
  • On 14 September 2015, the universe’s gravitational waves were observed for the very first time. The waves, which were predicted by Albert Einstein a hundred years ago, came from a collision between two black holes. It took 1.3 billion years for the waves to arrive at the LIGO detector in the USA. 
  • The signal was extremely weak when it reached Earth, but is already promising a revolution in astrophysics. Gravitational waves are an entirely new way of observing the most violent events in space and testing the limits of our knowledge.

I cannot refrain from recalling my earlier posts on this issue posing some serious questions: How is it possible to connect a largest possible cause (collision/merger of two black holes) to a smallest possible effect (measurement with precision of the thickness of a hair on a distance of 4 light years) according to Einstein's equations which are not understood and cannot be solved, and as an inverse problem draw conclusion about the very big cause from the very small effect? Compare with these questions. See also this detailed criticism. And this analysis with comment here. Also this.

If gravitational waves exist as "ripples in the fabric of space-time", whatever that means, why are they so incredibly tiny? And if they now are so incredibly tiny, what importance do they carry? Can they really be used as carriers of specific information?

LIGO is an example of Big Physics in the sense of Building a Biggest Possible Detector for detection of a Smallest Possible Effect from a Biggest Possible Cause.

Of course, if you build a Biggest Detector like LIGO in search of Smallest Possible Effect, it is only a question of time before you discover Some Small Effect.

But how can you go from there to a Unique Big Cause?

To me it seems to require a mathematical model of infinite precision, and what says that Einstein's (unsolvable) equations carry that precision?

In any case, I remain skeptical until more evidence is presented.  Here is the story we are supposed to buy. Is this real physics, or is it fake physics?

In Advanced Information (about LIGO) we further read:
  • Gravitational waves are travelling ripples in space-time.
  • A passing gravitational wave is expected to distort space-time through the effects of strain in a very specific way, predicted by the general theory of relativity.
  • It is easy to reproduce these results qualitatively without detailed calculations using the full power of general relativity.
  • The most likely interpretation for this evolution is the inspiral of two orbiting massive bodies, while emitting gravitational radiation.
We see several caveats: "ripples of space.time", "predicted by the general theory", "it is easy...without detailed calculation using the full power...", "the most likely"...

As soon as you hear "it is easy" concerning a mathematical equation, you should be on your guard...since usually it means the opposite...

7 kommentarer:

  1. From where did you get the idea that gravitational waves are tiny?

  2. Well, is a "ripple" twenty orders of magnitude smaller than a piece of dust, big or small?

  3. But the "ripples" are very large.

    Because of this largeness, the influence is almost flat on a smaller scale and the associated strain due to the variation in curvature is small. That is why the interferometer (Ligo) needs to be so large.

    Have you not looked into the basics of the theory? The theory of gravitational waves is not that difficult. My recommendation is that you do that, it should be accessible to someone with a background within academia.

    You should of course be critical to any theory, but not so critical that it becomes impossible for you to actually understand what the theory is about.

  4. Yes, they are (supposed to be) large with small amplitude. And I am not an expert of the equations of general relativity. What I know is that the "strain" is a dark horse in the equations. If you want to find gravitational waves you can as well start with Newtonian gravitation and make a small modification to get a wave equation, and Voilà you will have theoretical gravitational waves to hunt for experimentelly. The advantage would be a model which is computable, while Einsteins equations are not. But you would still run the risk of hunting for a ghost wave.

  5. PS Have you studied the detailed criticism with a link in the post? Reaction?


    There are many good reasons for disqualifying LIGO’s gravitational wave research. The reason headlined in this commentary is circumstantial, but also the most damning. A positive confirmation bias arises when the future of a scientific endeavor hangs on the positive confirmation of a specific phenomenon. In this case we have a big science institution’s future being questioned due to their failed attempts of proving the existence of gravitational waves (2002-2011). A positive confirmation of gravitational waves would win them a huge amount of money, prestige and fame. This combines with the economic long-term prosperity of a larger peer-reviewing community developing theoretical astrophysics. If they fail to find gravitational waves, their whole institution could quickly collapse under the weight of its enormous operational cost. This combines with a larger peer-reviewing community possibly losing jobs. This represents as extreme positive confirmation bias as you can get in science. One thing is when a single scientist has a strong positive confirmation bias. It is something else entirely when large economic interests have it, e.g. the “healthy smoke” research committed by the tobacco industry for many years.

    The whole scientific endeavor of LIGO became a pseudoscientific endeavor when this corporation’s extreme positive confirmation bias got combined with fraud-inviting operational procedures. In 2009, the LIGO and Virgo collaboration agreed upon a mechanism where fake gravitational wave signals could be secretly mixed into the raw instrumental data, a procedure called blind injection. The argument for doing it was to check that their workforce would be able to correctly identify and progress with a genuine gravitational wave discovery. Further, they did not develop a single way of faking discovery, but a handful. They developed several software blind injection procedures that could be inserted at different times of data refinement, and perhaps more interestingly, they developed a hardware/physical blind injection procedure built into the interferometer’s calibration apparatus. In other words, a “find it or die” corporation gave themselves a multitude of tools for faking positive confirmations. In such a scenario, it is no longer a question whether you get a discovery or not. It is rather a question of whether you get real discoveries or faked ones, hence making it pseudoscientific.


  7. ...

    In 2010, the LIGO collaboration got very excited. An event, “big dog”, showed all the signs of being their breakthrough gravitational wave discovery. For months thereafter, a large astronomy community was engaged by LIGO in checking for potentially correlating events in the night sky at the time of discovery. Many people in this community were not part of LIGO’s workforce. Papers were drafted and people were excited about the prospects of a Nobel Prize and the birth of gravitational wave astronomy. In early 2011, LIGO gathered their science team in a big conference hall with champagne bottles ready, voted for where and when to publish their breakthrough scientific paper, and probably got quite sad when a letter from the top administration stated that it was only a blind injection. LIGO proudly stated that their workforce was very able to correctly identify and progress with a genuine gravitational wave discovery, just that this wasn’t genuine, but fake. How can this “almost” committed fraud in an extreme positive confirmation biased environment be reconciled with any form of scientific methodology? Was this really a question of whether their workforce could identify and progress with a Genuine discovery? After all, their identification of “big dog” took only eight minutes! Did the LIGO administration feel so righteous as to engage a larger astronomy community in coincidentally correlating their faked discovery? It can be mentioned that their “big dog” was a simulation of a neutron star spiraling into a black hole with an expected burst of electromagnetic signals. If there had been a coincidental correlation observed in the night sky, perhaps it would have been a bit harder to give out that letter in 2011 stating blind injection...

    After the last-minute cancellation of its piece of bravura in 2011, LIGO went dark for the next four years, being upgraded into “Advanced LIGO” with a disprovable measurement resolution of 1/10000th the diameter of a nucleon. This resolution can be proclaimed via a never-ending and therefore invalid calibration process of their large interferometers. Stop the never-ending process and their recorded resolution should immediately sway away from the “hair’s breadth in relation to our next closest star”. This might be due to the Mössbauer effect [1961 Nobel Prize], which gives a resolution limiting resonance of nuclei in a solid. Btw, their calibration apparatus also got upgraded with a host of new fake signal templates.

    A rhetorical question for Danish noise professionals: Would a hardware injected fake signal in one noisy data set being partially duplicated by software injection to another noisy data set create unwanted noise correlation with uniform time delay, e.g. 7 ms?

    As a final statement: The fraud-enabling Nobel Prize in Physics committee of 2017 is an absolute total fucking disgrace to all methodologies of Science!

    My sincere respect for thee, Olav Thorsen