My reply to Andrei’s comment turned to be a little bit longer, so I put it as a separate post. Andrei said:
“Now every magazine and news agency tells us, citing important scientists, that Einstein predicted GW in 1916. Even though the paper can be difficult for journalists, but surely not for GW scientists, what controversy can possibly remain after GW have been observed with astonishing precision following directly from GR equations?”
If this (1916) paper is difficult for journalists to comprehend, then they just choose to believe important scientists tell and propagate (broadcast) these believes to general public to allow important scientists to have more funding to continue their important research. However, I think that anyone can read Einstein’s paper (it is not only about equations); it exists at least in three languages – German, Russian, and English. What is more important is to read the discovery paper in PhysRevLett.116.061102 , which is, unlike Einstein’s paper, freely available now (you have not read it before posting your comment, did you read it by now?). If a journalist is a science reporter (I guess, this is the case), he/she has to have some capacity of scientist such as skepticism (did you find at least one even slightly critical paper?). All articles of science reporters (that I have seen so far) are just like pure advertisements of a new gadget or writings of political reporters supporting a particular candidate or party during the election time (perhaps it was/is time for the review of financial support for this project).
So please, read PRL paper and tell me after reading, are you convinced that “GW have been observed with astonishing precision following directly from GR equations”?
In addition, please read it as a scientist, i.e., looking for mistakes, contradictions, not sufficiently justified assumptions, not clear statements, etc. After such reading anyone has to generate tonnes of questions. For example: the search for GW is 50 years old enterprise including their “successful” (published) observation in the past; LIGO has also been operational for years. For years they did not see colorful pictures presented on Fig.1. PhysRevLett.116.061102 Is it right? [footnote 1] So, for years they observed only noise, and suddenly for the part of second on September 14, 09:50:45 UTC they saw it, and nothing after that for months (till today, February 16, 2016) or perhaps for the next 50 years.
In fact, it is not till today, the Advanced LIGO’s first observational period ended on January 12, 2016. Its beginning is less clear. The PRL paper refers to September 12, but the LIGO website announced that the official start of data collection was September 18, while the interferometers have been working in engineering mode a few weeks before that day LIGO, September 18, 2015 .
“That’s because on 14 September 2015, LIGO physicists were still tuning up their machines after a 5-year, $205 million upgrade.Researchers had intended to start their first data run with the new rigs on that day, but several systems—including the injection system—were not ready to go… So instead, LIGO leaders opted to continue a shakedown test known as an engineering run for another week.” Science magazine, February 11, 2016
According to the PRL paper, the possible source is a binary black hole system: incredible masses, incredible loss of energy, and this energy was released in part of second (see Fig.1, 0.2 s). And you suggest to believe that this is unquestionable proof of GW existence?
Do you remember the discovery of superluminal neutrino by OPERA Faster-than-light neutrino anomaly and titles as “Knocking Einstein…” (hmm, Einstein, sounds familiar)? My guess their equipment was less complicated than at LIGO but, more importantly, their experiment can be repeated by independent groups of scientists (this is was actually happened with the faster-than-light neutrino “discovery” – ICARUS experiment reported neutrino velocities consistent with the speed of light). Is it possible to eliminate all natural and experimental effects in the case of only ONE event (please, do not ask old school scientists)?
I also made a “discovery” – the number of earthquakes is enormous everyday! I checked for September 14, 2015 and only for USA Earthquakes, US, September 14, 2015 . I do not know the exact location of two LIGO machines but in the middle of USA there were a few events on this day (this region is very active in the last years, 500% increase in earthquakes). Did LIGO detect all of them? Can I see pictures of them like in Fig.1 (machines must be very sensitive) or for the years they did not observe such pulses (with exception of September 16, 2010), only noise? Perhaps all environmental effects were eliminated in the new upgraded LIGO machines, but why in this case the PRL authors are talking about
“an array of sensors: seismometers…”,
are these sensors more sensitive than the interferometer itself? The list of questions can be easily extended by anyone, including science reporters.
So, I found truly astonishing your statement “GW have been observed with astonishing precision following directly from GR equations”. This is a topic not for science reporters but for investigative journalists (“accountability reporting”). Putting all jokes aside, these observations cannot be qualified as a discovery according to the science standards.
[footnote 1] Actually, the answer is “no”, a very similar (but with different colours) pictures can be found in LIGO, blind injection (please, compare….did they know about the 2015 signal or what should be observed?). It was on September 16, 2010, when the blind-injection test was run (even the PRL paper was ready but, unlike this year, only by the middle of March of 2011, after a vote of all collaborators whether it is a discovery or not. Vivat democracy! Death of science). Perhaps this time it is also a blind-injection made by a GW- fundamentalist to fulfill the someone (not Einstein’s) prophecy. Thousands of people are involved in this project (all of them are the GW believers)! But this is question for the homeland security.