LIGO India is on hold!

Following the 11 February 2016 report of the discovery of gravitational wave, the LIGO India project was given approval on 17 February 2016. Since then the project has been moving with lightning speed. The Indian Ligonauts have been going great guns.

But now there are reports that the project has stalled – something to do with the site selection process. Many snags can develop with finalizing the site, and so this is not unexpected. What is unexpected is that the Government of India is being blamed for holding up LIGO India.

American physics Nobelist David Gross visited India earlier this month and berated the Indian Government thus:

“India has explored many possibilities in last decade or so. Unfortunately even in the cases where fascinating new projects have been approved or are about to be approved, the tendency here to delay funding run into legal obstacles (which) has severely damaged the potential of such projects,” said Gross at Nobel Dialogue at Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit here.

He cited the Lego India Project and added that India was losing a marvelous opportunity due to “inexcusable’’ political and legal delay. “…the opportunities are there…China is seizing upon them in all aspects of basic science and India must rise with its ambitions for the benefit of India, for the benefit of science and for the benefit of the world and I strongly encourage and support such efforts.”

If LIGO India was going gangbusters and if it had the personal patronage of the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, why would the Government put the project on hold?

The only conclusion that makes sense is that the Indian Government is rethinking LIGO. A very wise and responsible thing to do.

If they maintain the hold until the 2017 Nobel Prizes are announced in fall, they will have the final piece of information they need. Remember the Ligonauts are the ones who made the Nobel Prize a touchstone, the essential imprimatur that must be stamped on the discovery.

The following and other indications suggest that LIGO is up for the Nobel Prize this year:

Ich war vorher am Massachusetts Institute of Technology bei Rainer Weiss, der hoffentlich in diesem Jahr den Nobelpreis für den Nachweis von Gravitationswellen bekommen wird.

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