The Syncopated Sidereal Shake

The Syncopated Sidereal Shake

The mainstream scientific establishment has a nasty habit of moving on whenever it discovers something really interesting or [in this case] something that’s Earth Shaking.

The story starts in 1916 when Einstein envisaged gravitational waves rippling through spacetime.

In physics, gravitational waves are ripples in the curvature of spacetime which propagate as waves, travelling outward from the source.

Predicted in 1916 by Albert Einstein to exist on the basis of his theory of general relativity, gravitational waves theoretically transport energy as gravitational radiation.

Encountering gravitational waves in the real world is problematic because spacetime is a “fourth dimension” created in mathematical models.

In physics, spacetime (also space–time, space time or space–time continuum) is any mathematical model that combines space and time into a single interwoven continuum.

The spacetime of our universe is usually interpreted from a Euclidean space perspective, which regards space as consisting of three dimensions, and time as consisting of one dimension, the “fourth dimension”.

By combining space and time into a single manifold called Minkowski space, physicists have significantly simplified a large number of physical theories, as well as described in a more uniform way the workings of the universe at both the supergalactic and subatomic levels.

In mathematical physics, Minkowski space, Minkowski spacetime, named after the mathematician Hermann Minkowski, is the mathematical model of physical spacetime in which Einstein’s theory of special relativity is most conveniently formulated.

In this setting the three ordinary dimensions of space are combined with a single dimension of time to form a four-dimensional manifold for representing a spacetime.

In Newtonian physics spacetime is an infinitely rigid conceptual grid.

Gravitational waves cannot exist in this theory.

They would have infinite velocity and infinite energy density because in Newtonian gravitation the metrical stiffness of space is infinite.

Detection of Gravitational Waves – L Ju, D G Blair and C Zhao
Rep. Prog. Phys. 63(2000) 1317–1427.

Click to access review.pdf

Despite these problems Settled Science lyrically believes “gravitational wave astronomy offers us ears with which to hear” the universe like “the thump thump of a fleeing kangaroo”.

Gravitational waves offer us a new sense with which to understand our universe.

If electromagnetic astronomy gives us eyes with which we can see the universe, then gravitational wave astronomy offers us ears with which to hear it.

We are presently deaf to the myriad gravitational wave sounds of the universe.

Imagine you are in a forest: you see a steep hillside, massive trees and small shrubs, bright flowers and colourful birds flitting between the trees.

But there is much more to a forest: the sound of the wind in the treetops, the occasional crash of a falling branch, the thump thump of a fleeing kangaroo, the pulse of cicadas, the whistles of parrots and honking of bell frogs.

Detection of Gravitational Waves – L Ju, D G Blair and C Zhao
Rep. Prog. Phys. 63(2000) 1317–1427.

Click to access review.pdf

This lyrical belief enabled Marcia Bartusiak to gush [at 2:32 in the video below] “that was a simulation of a sound of spacetime which astronomers may actually soon be recording…” and allowed her to euphorically predict [at 2:56 in the video below] that “We will hear the resounding clash of two black holes spirally into one another and merging. We will hear the dizzying spins of neutron stars colliding. In fact that is what you just heard…”

Marcia Bartusiak is an author, journalist, and Professor of the Practice of the Graduate Program in Science Writing at MIT.

Settled Science believes “the existence of gravitational waves is intuitively obvious” because they recognise that mathematical models are an infinitely elastic medium.

The existence of gravitational waves is intuitively obvious as soon as one recognizes that spacetime is an elastic medium.

The basic properties of gravity waves can be easily deduced from our knowledge of Newtonian gravity, combined with knowledge that spacetime curvature is a consequence of mass distributions.

First, consider how gravitational waves might be generated.

Electromagnetic waves are generated when charges accelerate.

Because a negative charge accelerating to the left is equivalent to a positive charge accelerating to the right, it is impossible to create a time-varying electric monopole.
The process of varying the charge on one electrode always creates a time-varying dipole moment.

Hence it follows that electromagnetic waves are generated by time-varying dipole moments. In contrast to electromagnetism, gravity has only one charge: there is no such thing as negative mass!

Hence it is not possible to create an oscillating mass dipole.

Action equals reaction.

That is, momentum is conserved and the acceleration of one mass to the left creates an equal and opposite reaction to the right.

For two equal masses, their spacing can change but the centre of mass is never altered.

This means that there is a time-varying quadrupole moment, but there is no variation in monopole or dipole moment.

Detection of Gravitational Waves – L Ju, D G Blair and C Zhao
Rep. Prog. Phys. 63(2000) 1317–1427.

Click to access review.pdf

Therefore, it was only a matter of time and budget before someone started searching for gravitational waves in the aptly named swinging sixties.

Joseph Weber (May 17, 1919 – September 30, 2000) was an American physicist.

He gave the earliest public lecture on the principles behind the laser and the maser and developed the first gravitational wave detectors (Weber bars).

A Weber bar is a device used in the detection of gravitational waves first devised and constructed by physicist Joseph Weber at the University of Maryland.

The device consisted of multiple aluminium cylinders, 2 meters in length and 1 meter in diameter, antennae for detecting theoretical gravitational waves.

These massive aluminium cylinders rated at a resonance frequency of 1660 hertz and were designed to be set in motion by gravitational waves predicted by Weber.

Because these waves were supposed to be so weak, the cylinders had to be massive the piezoelectric sensors had to be very sensitive, capable of detecting a change in the cylinders’ lengths by about 10−16 meters

Aluminum Cylinders

Focus: A Fleeting Detection of Gravitational Waves – David Lindley
American Physical Society – 22 December 2005 – Phys. Rev. Focus 16, 19

Resonant Bar Detector

During the November LSC meeting at the LIGO Hanford Observatory, a historical exhibit of one of the original resonant bar gravitational-wave detectors was dedicated.

The bar was one of three used by Joseph Weber of the University of Maryland in his pioneering experiments to search for gravitational waves from astrophysical sources.

Resonant Bar Detector Dedicated at Hanford – Linda Turner
The LIGO Web Newsletter

However, searching for gravitational waves in the “fourth dimension” is a politically risky business because the instrumentation may actually detect a real world phenomenon.

This is particularly true when the instrumentation detects a resonating pulse from “the direction of the galactic center” every 718 minutes i.e. every half of a sidereal day.

Around 1968, Weber collected what he concluded to be “good evidence” of the theorized phenomenon.

Coincidences have been observed on gravitational-radiation detectors over a base line of about 1000 km at Argonne National Laboratory and at the University of Maryland.

The probability that all of these coincidences were accidental is incredibly small.

Experiments imply that electromagnetic and seismic effects can be ruled out with a high level of confidence.

These data are consistent with the conclusion that the detectors are being excited by gravitational radiation.

Evidence for Discovery of Gravitational Radiation – J. Weber
Phys. Rev. Lett. 22, 1320 (1969) – Published 16 June 1969

Large anisotropy is observed for gravitational-radiation-detector intensity as a function of sidereal time, with peaks in the direction of the galactic center and in the opposite direction consistent with 12-h antenna symmetry.

The 12-h sidereal-time histograms exhibit anisotropy exceeding 6 standard deviations from the mean.

Received 8 September 1969

Anisotropy and Polarization in the Gravitational-Radiation Experiments – J. Weber
Phys. Rev. Lett. 25, 180 – Published 20 July 1970

My earlier publications1 have reported the concept, theory, and development of an antenna to detect gravitational radiation.

These antennae are well isolated from the local environment by acoustic and electromagnetic shielding but they do respond to sufficiently large local disturbances.

Effects of the local environments can, however, be minimized when two detectors are used which are a considerable distance apart.

For this reason coincidence experiments at 1,661 Hz were carried out with two antennae, one situated at the University of Maryland and the other 1,000 km away at the Argonne National Laboratory.

Computer Analyses of Gravitational Radiation Detector Coincidences – J. Weber
Letters to Nature – Nature 240 – 03 November 1972

Sidereal time is a time-keeping system astronomers use to keep track of the direction to point their telescopes to view a given star in the night sky.

Briefly, sidereal time is a “time scale that is based on the Earth’s rate of rotation measured relative to the fixed stars” rather than the Sun.

A mean sidereal day is 23 hours, 56 minutes, 4.0916 seconds (23.9344699 hours or 0.99726958 mean solar days), the time it takes the Earth to make one rotation relative to the vernal equinox. (Due to nutation, an actual sidereal day is not quite so constant.)

The vernal equinox itself precesses slowly westward relative to the fixed stars, completing one revolution in about 26,000 years, so the misnamed sidereal day (“sidereal” is derived from the Latin sidus meaning “star”) is some 0.0084 seconds shorter than the Earth’s period of rotation relative to the fixed stars.

Predictably, Joseph Weber was attacked by the mainstream in the 1970s and “largely discredited”.

In the 1970s, the results of these gravitational wave experiments were largely discredited, although Weber continued to argue that he had detected gravitational waves.

In order to test Weber’s results, IBM Physicist Richard Garwin built a detector that was similar to Joseph Weber’s.

In six months, it detected only one pulse, which was most likely noise.

David Douglass, another physicist, had discovered an error in Weber’s computer program that, he claimed, produced the daily gravitational wave signals that Weber claimed to have detected.

Because of the error, a signal seemed to appear out of noise.

Garwin aggressively confronted Weber with this information at the Fifth Cambridge Conference on Relativity at MIT in June 1974.

A series of letters was then exchanged in Physics Today.

Garwin asserted that Weber’s model was “insane, because the universe would convert all of its energy into gravitational radiation in 50 million years or so, if one were really detecting what Joe Weber was detecting.”

“Weber,” Garwin declared, “is just such a character that he has not said, ‘No, I never did see a gravity wave.’ And the National Science Foundation, unfortunately, which funded that work, is not man enough to clean the record, which they should.”

The process of how physicists and the general public came to reject Weber’s claims that he had found gravitational waves is described in several articles and the books Gravity’s shadow by sociologist Harry Collins and Einstein’s unfinished symphony by Marcia Bartusiak.

Such experiments conducted by Joseph Weber were very controversial, and his positive results with the apparatus, in particular his claim to have detected gravitational waves from SN1987A in 1987, were until recently widely considered discredited.

Criticisms of the study have focused on Weber’s data analysis and his incomplete definitions of what strength vibration would signify a passing gravitational wave.

One problem with those results was that the rate of detection was far in excess, by a factor of 1,000, of what was expected by calculations based on Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

Nevertheless, Weber’s results were sufficiently credible that several experimental groups attempted to replicate his findings.

None were successful.

Serious questions were also raised concerning Weber´s apparatus and his analysis procedures.

By 1975 a consensus had been reached that Weber’ claim was unsubstantiated.

Shifting Standards: Experiments in Particle Physics in the Twentieth Century
Allan Franklin – 2013 – University of Pittsburgh Press

Around 1968, Weber collected what he concluded to be “good evidence” of the theorized phenomenon.

However, his experiments were duplicated many times, always with a null result.

However, in December 1983 a story appeared in the CERN Courier reporting that those frightfully nice chaps from the National Laboratory of Frascati had been searching for gravity waves [during 1978 and 1980] and had discovered [Surprise! Surprise!] “sub-microscopic mechanical vibrations” with a regular period of “one half of the sidereal (astronomical) day – 718 minutes.”

CERN/FRASCATI Searching for Gravity Waves
A few years ago, a 400 kg gravitational antenna came into action at Frascati.

To minimize thermal noise, the detector is cryogenic.

Oscillations of the bar were monitored and an ‘event’ was deemed to occur when the signal exceeded a threshold value.

These discontinuous readings were converted into a spectrum by Fourier analysis, and the results from measurements carried out in 1978 and 1980 showed that these events, corresponding to sub-microscopic mechanical vibrations in the antenna of the order of 2 x 10-15 m, tend to occur with a regular period of one half of the sidereal (astronomical) day – 718 minutes.

It is exceedingly improbable that this result is due to a statistical quirk.

With gravitational waves ruled out, explanations favour earth movements which excite the antenna.

Gravitational wave antenna of the Rome group at CERN

The new 2.3 ton cryogenic gravitational wave antenna of the Rome group at CERN, now being tested. (Photo CERN 25.10.1983)

CERN Courier, December 1983

Click to access 46032065.pdf

The INFN National Laboratory of Frascati (LNF) – ordained to further the particle physics research – was founded in 1954 to host the 1.1 GeV electrosynchrotron, the first accelerator ever built in Italy.

The Laboratory later developed the first ever electron-positron collider: from the first prototype AdA, which demonstrated the feasibility, to the ring ADONE and later on to DAΦNE, still operative today (2015).

Besides conducting experiments with their own facilities, the LNF researchers are also taking part in extensive collaborations at external laboratories, especially at CERN and in the USA.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (French: Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire), known as CERN (derived from the name “Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire”) is a European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. Established in 1954, the organization is based in a northwest suburb of Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border, (46°14′3″N 6°3′19″E) and has 22 member states.

Clearly, the mainstream narrative that Joseph Weber’s experiments couldn’t be replicated is extremely tenuous [to put it very politely].

Needless to say, the CERN Courier reported that gravitational waves had been “ruled out” and that “the search for gravitational waves continues undeterred.”

The story was reported upon by The New York Times early in 1984 and rather humorously observed that “The last thing anyone expects from the cosmos is a collapsing star every 718 minutes.”

Recently, Italian physicists at widely separated sites, at Rome and near Geneva, detected what could have been the right sort of evidence for gravitational waves.

Their detectors, large aluminum cylinders minutely instrumented, registered the ringing oscillations passing gravitational waves ought to produce.

Moreover, the cylinders at Rome and Geneva were shaken simultaneously, seeming to rule out the likelihood that a passing truck or some other local disturbance was responsible for the perturbation.

Unfortunately, the Italians’ equipment has found too much evidence and too often.

Whatever is happening occurs every 718 minutes, or twice a day – to be exact, twice a sidereal day, or one complete rotation of the earth with respect to the stars.

According to The CERN Courier, the journal of the European nuclear research center near Geneva, where one of the detectors is situated, there is simply no obvious explanation for this ”intriguing result,” but gravitational waves seem to be excluded.

The last thing anyone expects from the cosmos is a collapsing star every 718 minutes.

Gravity: Did Einstein Get It Right? – Walter Sullivan
The New York Times – 17 January 1984

Obviously, Weber and CERN/ FRASCATI encountered the wrong type of gravitational waves just like British Rail encountered the wrong type of snow.

The wrong type of snow is a phrase coined by the British media in 1991 after severe weather caused disruption to many of British Rail’s services.

A British Rail press release implied that BR management and its engineering staff were unaware of different types of snow.

Henceforth in the United Kingdom, the phrase became a byword for euphemistic and pointless excuses.

Unsurprisingly, discovering the wrong type of gravitational waves “alienated virtually everyone in his field” and the mainstream ensured it became “a problem” for Joseph Weber.

Joseph Weber has a problem.

He’s discovered one of the secrets of the universe, but the world won’t listen.

Almost a quarter-century after his pioneering physics research at the University of Maryland held the attention of scientists worldwide and earned prestige for his school, he’s alienated virtually everyone in his field.

And the 71-year-old professor emeritus — with wispy white hair as distinctive as Albert Einstein’s famous frizz — can’t figure out how they could be so wrong.

We’re No. 1 in the field, but I haven’t gotten funding since 1987,” he said, standing in a small, concrete-block building, deep in woods near the university golf course.

The faded sign outside reads: “Gravitational Wave Observatory.”

It’s where Joseph Weber’s dreams reside, amid the huge machines he built and has religiously kept operating at his own expense for four years.

They’ve been running continuously since 1969,” he said.

“I think this is a tremendous tradition for Maryland.”

Pioneer researcher into gravity waves now pariah in field – Luther Young
7 April 1991 – The Baltimore Sun

The big problem for Joseph Weber was the mainstream wanted to spend really big bucks on the LIGO project which was going to look for the right type of gravitational waves.

In 1987, the NSF stopped funding his work in favor of others who were advancing bar-detector research.

The state-of-the-art approach — at Stanford University and Louisiana State University — now involves “super-cooling” the metal to minimize internal noise caused by the motions of atoms in the aluminum bar.

“Joe’s position with respect to gravitational waves is that his method is it and a little bit of refinement in his apparatus will make it detect anything you want, for much less cost,” said Dr. Boyd. “This position is not, in fact, accepted by the community.”

Dr. Weber stubbornly attributes the cutoff in funding to big-league science politics.

“It’s perfectly clear to me that any improvement in bars is a threat to the funding of LIGO,” he said. “My critics are all in the LIGO camp.”

Pioneer researcher into gravity waves now pariah in field – Luther Young
7 April 1991 – The Baltimore Sun

The antenna NAUTILUS at Frascati

The antenna NAUTILUS at Frascati, showing the bar and its cryogenic shields.

Detection of Gravitational Waves – L Ju, D G Blair and C Zhao
Rep. Prog. Phys. 63 (2000) 1317–1427.

Click to access review.pdf

And of course LIGO got the big bucks.

A bird's eye view of the LIGO

A bird’s eye view of the LIGO detector, sited in Hanford, Washington State.

Gravitational Wave Detection by Interferometry (Ground and Space)
Sheila Rowan and Jim Hough – 29 June 2000
Living Reviews in Relativity – Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics

Click to access lrr-2000-3BW.pdf

LIGO, which stands for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, is a large-scale physics experiment aiming to directly detect gravitational waves.

Cofounded in 1992 by Kip Thorne and Ronald Drever of Caltech and Rainer Weiss of MIT, LIGO is a joint project between scientists at MIT, Caltech, and many other colleges and universities.

It is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

At the cost of $365 million (in 2002 USD), it is the largest and most ambitious project ever funded by the NSF.

LIGO operates two gravitational wave observatories in unison: the LIGO Livingston Observatory (30°33′46.42″N 90°46′27.27″W) in Livingston, Louisiana, and the LIGO Hanford Observatory, on the DOE Hanford Site (46°27′18.52″N 119°24′27.56″W), located near Richland, Washington.

These sites are separated by 3,002 kilometers (1,865 miles).

Since gravitational waves are expected to travel at the speed of light, this distance corresponds to a difference in gravitational wave arrival times of up to ten milliseconds.

Through the use of triangulation, the difference in arrival times can determine the source of the wave in the sky.

Each observatory supports an L-shaped ultra high vacuum system, measuring 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) on each side.

Up to five interferometers can be set up in each vacuum system.

Between 2002 and 2010, LIGO failed to find the right type of gravitational waves.

Observations at LIGO began in 2002, ended in 2010, and no gravitational waves have been reported.

Therefore, they replaced LIGO with Advanced LIGO and are once again looking for the right type of gravitational waves.

The original detectors were disassembled and are currently being replaced by improved versions known as “Advanced LIGO”.

As of February 2015, two such advanced detectors (one in Livingston, Louisiana and the other in Hanford, Washington) have been brought into operation.

The Livingston detector is operating at twice the sensitivity of the initial LIGO interferometers.

This is called the Rinse and Repeat Ad Infinitum school of Settled Science.

Gallery | This entry was posted in Astrophysics, Earth, Gravity, Science, Solar System. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Syncopated Sidereal Shake

  1. Pingback: The Phi Frequency | MalagaBay

  2. oldbrew says:

    More of the same here…

    ‘The Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism, dark matter, antimatter and quark-gluon plasma are all on the menu for LHC season 2’

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