ON THE WITNESS STAND: Rainer Weiss (for the Defendants)

VINO MOSCATO (Attorney for the Defendants): Professor Weiss, it is an honor to have you here. Congratulations on your Nobel Prize. Now, we know that you do not read stuff Dr. De puts out on the Internet or his book on LIGO. But at my request, you read that book before coming here. What is your reaction?

RAINER WEISS: I believe he cannot understand that LIGO is a novel instrument which cannot be judged by conventional instrumentation concepts.

MOSCATO: So is his entire book dismissible?

WEISS: I believe so.

MOSCATO: Is it correct to conclude that Dr. De is wallowing in his own misunderstandings in his book?

WEISS: I think that’s right.

MOSCATO: Thank you, Professor Weiss. I will not burden you further with this sort of thing. Your witness, Ms. Veritas.

ASSUMPTA VERITAS (Attorney for the Plainfiffs): Good Morning, Professor Weiss. Let’s get right down to it. Does the LIGO instrument have an input signal and an output signal, and if so, what are they? Also, for the ease of understanding, let us use the term wiggle for signal.

WEISS: Yes, there is an input wiggle and there is an output wiggle. The input wiggle would be a time trace of a number that is the linear size of something that is being sequentially contracted and expanded by the passage of a gravitational wave. The output wiggle would be this same wiggle as reported by the LIGO measuring system.

VERITAS: And the two wiggles are different?


VERITAS: So, is Dr. De correct in describing LIGO as a two-port instrument with an input port and an output port?

WEISS: We don’t look at it this way, but that description is OK up to a point.

VERITAS: And is he correct in saying that the input wiggle and the output wiggle – which are different – are related by an Instrument Transfer Function which must be determined and reported for LIGO to be a valid scientific instrument?

WEISS: This is where his confusion begins. What we do with LIGO is take the output wiggle as reported by LIGO, remove the noise component from it, and what remains is the input wiggle. This process is our equivalent of the conventional Transfer Function. The Instrument Transfer Function procedure is not applicable to LIGO.

VERITAS: Thank you for that clear statement. And the stuff you remove as noise, where does it come from?

WEISS: There are very many sources of noise – seismic ground vibration, a truck passing by, waves lapping on shore, distant thunder, … , And then there are also many types of instrument-origined noise.

VERITAS: When you speak of noise here, anything that is not gravitational wave signal is noise. Is this correct?


VERITAS: Very good. So, let us make a list of all possible external noise sources and label them A through K, say. Then all instrument-origined noise L through P, say. And let Q be the gravitational wave signal. So when your computer takes out the noise part, does it subdivide the noise into all these categories A through P, and show the tabulated values for the categories?

WEISS: Of course not. Our sophisticated digital technique can distinguish between signal and noise, and remove all that it identifies as noise, namely, A through P taken as a consolidated lump. Only the signal Q then remains, and that is the input wiggle. This is what we compare with the theory wiggle for black hole merger.

VERITAS: But the instrument-origined noise L through P is different from external noise A through K. The latter is not dependent on LIGO, the former is. It is more likely than not that L-P is correlated with Q, the input signal. The “noise” L-P could be harmonics of Q, for example. If your algorithm has instruction to take out out L-P, would not it take out some of Q as well? Or wouldn’t it leave some of L-P with Q? You simply cannot lump together A-K and L-P for the purpose of extracting Q. It may be convenient for the computer, but it is wrong physics.

WEISS: Now we are getting into complicated areas.

VERITAS: Not at all. We have just clarified your misunderstanding. It is the components L through P that necessitate the Instrument Transfer Function, not A through K. You are mixing up and mishandling them, and you are doing so to your benefit. By bypassing the Transfer Function procedure, you have given yourself leeway to make up your custom discovery wiggles from the data. There is nothing about LIGO that cannot be described and analyzed in terms of conventional instrument concept. What is your response to that?

WEISS: As I said, this subject is too complicated.

VERITAS: OK, let’s move on. As Dr. De has pointed out in his book, there is no written evidence anywhere that you have taken into account the Earth’s static magnetic field on the LIGO instrument all these years. What do you have to say about that?

WEISS: This effect is being studied.

VERITAS: So are your discoveries valid even though you left out this effect?

WEISS: This effect cannot be so important as to invalidate our discoveries.

VERITAS: And then Dr. De has also pointed out that you take the hypothetical properties of gravitational wave as true and operative, to deduce the passage of gravitational wave. You assume that the mirror motions are invisibly entangled (because a gravitational wave is passing through) to prove that a gravitational wave has passed through. There is absolutely no experimental evidence of any kind that the mirror motions are in invisible entanglement. This is a pure flight of fancy that leads you to report a tangible discovery.

WEISS: As I said, this is too complicated.

VERITAS: Dr. De has also shown that LIGO is not a complete scientific instrument. I believe the expression he used is “it is not all there.” LIGO cannot detect gravitational waves even if they existed and traversed LIGO. That is because it is the invisible entanglement of the mirrors that LIGO must experimentally demonstrate to report the detection of the wave. And LIGO has no way to do this.

WEISS: We have detected gravitational wave – four times now.

VERITAS: So you say. Professor Weiss, who is wallowing in his own misunderstanding, you or Dr. De? And what about your 1000 colleagues?

MOSCATO: Objection, Your Honor. There is no cause for this kind of taunt.

JUDGE: Overruled. You started this, Mr. Moscato!

VERITAS: Your Honor, I have no further questions.

JUDGE: The witness is excused.


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One Response to “LIGO COURTROOM DRAMA: Trial Part 8”

  1. Thomas Says:

    Brillant. Thanks Bibhas!

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