Archive for October 17th, 2017

LIGO COURTROOM DRAMA: Trial Part 11

October 17, 2017


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TRIAL PART 11

ON THE WITNESS STAND: Professor Rana X. Adhikari (for the Defendants)

VINO MOSCATO (Attorney for the Defendants): Good Morning, Professor Adhikari. It is indeed a pleasure to have the symbolic face of LIGO’s cadre of young geniuses to testify in this court. I am sure the jury would love to hear from you on the noble path of knowledge of the Universe LIGO has embarked upon. Would you tell us a little about yourself?

RANA X. ADHIKARI: I am a professor of physics at Caltech and a LIGO researcher.

MOSCATO: And a very young professor at that! Let me add for the jury that Professor Adhikari is one of the famed young bucks of the LIGO Science Collaboration, representing the new hope for physics in this millennium. He also happens to come from a Nobel pedigree – he was a doctoral student of LIGO Nobel Laureate Rainer Weiss. He is the instrument genius student of his instrument genius guru. His scientific authority in matters LIGO is unassailable. Now, Professor Adhikari, tell us briefly your position on the veracity of the LIGO discovery of neutron star merger just reported.

ADHIKARI: It is a most perfect scientific discovery with copious confirmations. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind.

MOSCATO: Thank you for enlightening the jury with that comment. Do you, with your full scientific authority, reject the Plaintiffs’ claim that the LIGO discoveries are fraudulent?

ADHIKARI: I do.

MOSCATO: And Professor Adhikari, you have been particularly involved in educating the masses on the beauty of the LIGO instrument, with your personal ‘like hey’ flair. You have explained how LIGO indeed can measure incredibly small movements, movements to a scale far smaller than the molecular-scale surface roughness of a mirror and the thermal vibrations of molecules. Some have tried to use this point to cast doubt on LIGO. What would you say to the public on this subject?

ADHIKARI: We are very careful scientists, and we know how to do our job.

MOSCATO: Excellent. I think that puts paid to all the criticisms from all the amateurs who are gunning for LIGO in the shady world of the Internet. I am sure the world citizenry will have the right instinct to believe you before they will believe those characters. Thank you, Professor Adhikari. Your witness, Ms. Veritas

ASSUMPTA VERITAS (Attorney for the Plaintiffs): Professor Adhikari, counsel for the defendants has certainly given us compelling grounds to submit to your authority on LIGO. Let me just cover a couple of points here for the jury. Is it true that you have been a leading force in planning to install a LIGO station in your old country India?

ADHIKARI: Yes.

VERITAS: And is it true that you said that the India LIGO has the advantage of being able to avoid the mistakes of the US LIGO? That you would redesign India LIGO?

ADHIKARI: Yes, but that has nothing to do with the correctness of the LIGO discoveries thus far.

VERITAS: Now, Professor Adhikari, Dr. De here has said many times that when there is something obviously wrong with an observing instrument, it is totally useless to discuss any results from it – no matter how impressive, no many times confirmed etc. Do you agree with that position?

ADHIKARI: That’s truism.

VERITAS: Very good. So we will proceed on that note and talk about the LIGO instrument. Then we will come back to the neutron star merger issue. Now, the citizens of the world have been constantly regaled with the fact that LIGO is so sensitive an instrument that it can sense a car driving by a mile away, waves lapping on the shores of the far ocean, a LIGO scientist pedaling his bicycle nearby …and so on. Are these stories correct?

ADHIKARI: Yes, LIGO is indeed that sensitive.

VERITAS: Is the point of this public education that if LIGO can astoundingly sense such things, it can also pick up gravitational waves from billions of light years away?

ADHIKARI: Yes.

VERITAS: Professor Adhikari, does LIGO pick up all these disturbances we have just spoken of in the same way – that is by the same instrumental mechanism – as it picks up gravitational waves?

ADHIKARI: Well … er… no. These disturbances are picked up because things go haywire inside LIGO in random ways. A mirror may move, a laser beam may go out of alignment, etc. But a gravitational wave causes LIGO to respond in a very specific and very predictable way.

VERITAS: Then LIGO picking up those disturbances says absolutely nothing about the LIGO sensitivity, does it? It is in fact a completely bogus story that has been spread around the world.

ADHIKARI: We are using a science-popularizing technique. We were not trying to be pedantic here with the general public.

VERITAS: I see. OK, for the sake of clarity, let us say the disturbances we have just spoken of that cause LIGO to go haywire in random ways are recorded by LIGO in Class A Operation which involves misalignment of the laser link, a mirror tilting off-axis etc. And the gravitational wave is picked up by Class B Operation which involves a perfectly aligned laser link and systematic movement of the mirrors, along their axes only – without any rotational or sideways motion. Is this an acceptable framework for discussion?

ADHIKARI Yes.

VERITAS: Now, in this scheme, how would geomagnetic disturbances be picked up?

ADHIKARI: They would be picked up in Class A Operation.

VERITAS: So it is only gravitational wave – and nothing else – that concerns the Class B Operation?

ADHIKAR: Yes.

VERITAS: Professor Adhikari, what is Class B Operation?

ADHIKARI: It is a very specific mode of actuation of LIGO. The two mirrors move forward and backward along their axes; and they move in concert, even though there is no mechanical or electromagnetic linkage between them. They have in fact been hung to move independently of each other. So these mirrors are in a kind of invisible entanglement – somewhat like quantum entanglement. When one mirror moves towards the apex of LIGO – the corner of the LIGO ell, the other moves away from that point. In this way the two mirrors move in lockstep. And the amplitude by which a mirror moves under the influence of a gravitational wave is on a scale of one ten-thousandth of a proton diameter.

VERITAS: So LIGO is always operating in Class A mode. Only when a gravitational wave is incident, the Class B mode comes into play. Is this correct?

ADHIKARI: Yes. In that case we have both Class A and Class B Operations occurring simultaneously.

VERITAS: So when you detect a gravitational wave, what is the experimental evidence that Class B Operation has been actuated? What is the evidence that the mirrors are entangled as though through some mysterious, invisible bond? What is the evidence that the mirror displacement is near one ten-thousandth of a proton diameter – a quantum-scale distance?

ADHIKARI: We do not monitor these effects directly. We cannot. If the LIGO readout wiggle matches our model of black hole merger wiggle – after the removal of noise of course – then that fact in itself proves that Class B operation has taken place.

VERITAS: So the matching of the two wiggles confirms in one fell swoop four independent theoretical conjectures: passage of gravitational wave; black hole merger; entanglement of mirrors; and the movement amplitude on a quantum scale. One endpoint agreement confirms four highly esoteric theoretical conjectures. Is that correct?

ADHIKARI Yes.

VERITAS: And you do not see any logical problem with this?

ADHIKARI: No. The detailed agreement between two wiggles can confirm multiple conjectures. The scientific establishment and the Nobel Prize givers do not have any problems with this.

VERITAS: And is this agreement pristine in the sense that you remove the noise and out pops a wiggle that then matches one of your theory wiggles?

ADHIKARI: Actually this is a guided agreement in the sense that we window our theory templates through the data string and look for matches.

VERITAS: And you still think this agreement satisfactory confirms – jointly and singly – all four independent conjectures, none of which has any other support in the LIGO operation?

ADHIKARI: Yes.

VERITAS: Is it correct then to say that the LIGO instrument is validated by the discovery it makes, and only by the discovery it makes?

ADHIKARI: In a way.

VERITAS: And you do not see any logical problem with this scientific procedure?

ADHIKARI: No. It is not possible to test LIGO on any kind of standardized source. We do not have any other options.

VERITAS: Now, Professor Adhikari, the noise from Class A Operation and the signal from Class B Operation – when they appear together in the LIGO readout, they are superimposed on each other in the sense that you can separate one from the other. Is that correct?

ADHIKARI: Yes, but the separating is a complex digital procedure.

VERITAS: I want to clarify my question. The wiggle that you obtain after separating from the noise is the same wiggle that would appear in the readout if there were no noise at all?

ADHIKARI: Yes.

VERITAS: And that is the wiggle that was incident on LIGO and is to be matched to the black hole merger model wiggle?

ADHIKARI: Yes. But the matching is more or less already done because we have used the theory wiggle template to match and extract out the signal wiggle.

VERITAS: So is it correct to say that Class A and Class B Operations are independent of each other?

ADHIKARI: Yes.

VERITAS: Professor Adhikari, listen to me closely. This is very important. Consider an instant of time in which a gravitational wave is being recorded by LIGO. At that instant, the laser link is misaligned or a mirror is tilted due to the Class A Operation. So the LIGO instrument at that instant is in a changed configuration. And it is that changed LIGO that is registering the gravitational wave at that instant.

This means that Class A Operation not only adds noise but actually distorts the Class B signal. The noise and the signal are not additive. They become inextricable. This is no longer an issue of separating egg yolk from egg white. The egg is scrambled. Do you understand my point?

ADHIKARI: I am not sure. I think I am being trapped.

VERITAS: Professor Adhikari, this is a court of law and no one is trapping you. I am not schmoozing with you. I have asked you a question. Answer it please.

ADHIKARI: What you say sounds right but the real issue is if it is of any significance.

VERITAS: Do you know for a fact that this is not significant?

ADHIKARI: No.

VERITAS: Since noise is dominant in LIGO, common sense tells us that this effect is important. LIGO is an unconventional scientific instrument not because it is novel but because it is weird. But the bottom line is that LIGO readout contains signal and noise completely scrambled and cannot be separated. That is the LIGO weirdorama. Do you agree?

ADHIKARI: I cannot answer that question right off the bat. I would have to think about it.

VERITAS: Professor Adhikari, how long is your laser link that undergoes jitter – if we can use that term for misalignment etc. – to produce Class A noise?

ADHIKARI: It is 4 km on each side of the LIGO ell for the two US stations.

VERITAS: I will rephrase my question. How long is the effective laser link?

ADHIKARI: I am sorry. I spoke too soon. The effective link is 1200 km because of the light storage technique we use to accumulate measurements.

VERITAS: So the Class B signal undergoes 1200 km of link jitter that has been created by Class A Operation. Have you studied the importance of this instrumental signal distortion?

ADHIKARI: I have not. But someone else may have.

VERITAS: But it is clear that LIGO does not take into account the instrumental distortion of the Class B signal due to Class A Operation. Is that correct?

ADHIKARI: We have not addressed this in an explicit way.

VERITAS: And it is this instrument-distorted wiggle that you compare with theory to find perfect match. What does this match mean?

ADHIKARI: I cannot answer this question immediately.

VERITAS: OK, let us talk about the chirp that clinched the neutron star discovery. For the jury, chirp means an increase in the signal frequency with time. Now, according to the LIGO theory, this chirp is due to the LIGO mirrors oscillating mechanically with the same increasing frequency in its Class B Operation. Is this correct?

ADHIKARI: Yes.

VERITAS: Now, for the light storage measurement technique, a 1200 km effective length can be shown to be good for measuring mirror vibration frequencies up to ~ 70 cycles per second. But in the neutron star merger case, your chirp happens in the 25 ~ 300 cycles per second range and perhaps higher. What is your response?

ADHIKARI: We get that frequency range from digital analysis of our readout.

VERITAS: And that analysis can provide more information than what the instrument has gathered?

ADHIKARI: It is complicated.

VERITAS: Furthermore, whatever chirp you can find correctly is not relevant since gravitational wave signal – if it exists – is not extricable from the noise. The chirp cannot be ascribed to the wave, even if it was registered by LIGO.

But this is all superfluous. LIGO cannot detect gravitational wave because it cannot demonstrate quantum theory-like mirror entanglement or quantum-scale macroscopic mirror movement. There is neither any direct nor any any indirect evidence of any kind that these fanciful conjectures materialize in LIGO.

ADHIKARI: That’s a preposterous statement. The whole scientific community has accepted our result as a spectacular discovery. You are nitpicking. You are making too much of some trivia.

VERITAS: The trivia is simply that your neutron star merger diagrams are not “on the sky”. They are some type of instrumental-digital artifact, triggered by some terrestrial disturbance. You needed 100 seconds worth of action from that disturbance to bridge it to the gamma ray burst time, and there the artifact has served well.

ADHIKARI: The journal Physical Review Letters has certified that our results are on the sky.

VERITAS: Do you agree with the fatal LIGO instrument faults I have described?

ADHIKARI: I don’t know. I mean you … how can someone like you argue with the decision of the Nobel Prize Committee which has certified LIGO?

VERITAS: Mr. Adhikari, as I told you, this is a court of law. The Nobel Prize has no special standing here. Only facts have. Your Honor, I have no further questions for this witness.

JUDGE: Redirect, Mr. Moscato?

MOSCATO: Yes, Your Honor. Professor Adhikari, you do not admit that there is anything the matter with the LIGO discoveries, do you?

ADHIKARI: No, I do not.

MOSCATO: No further questions.

JUDGE: The witness is excused.

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