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LIGO's Discovery of Gravitational Waves --"May Upend General Relativity and Usher In a New Exotic Physics"

 

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In 2015, the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatories (LIGO) made the first direct detection of gravitational waves created by two black holes that were spinning rapidly around each other before colliding and merging to form a larger black hole. The discovery was announced as unequivocal proof that Einstein’s theory of general relativity was valid.

But, ironically, three physicists recently announced that the discovery may have in fact achieved the opposite: invalidate General Relativity and instead signal proof that the first signs of quantum gravity may have been found.

A group of physicists studying the publicly-released data that LIGO has collected so far, claims to have uncovered wave “echoes' that could contradict general relativity’s predictions. Ironically, LIGO's epic discovery of gravitational waves was thought to be the ultimate confirmation of Einstein’s theory, but may soon prove to be it's undoing.

The three theoretical physicists, Jahed Abedi, Hannah Dykaar and Niayesh Afshordi, have published a new paper explaining that they have detected the first evidence of gravitational effects not explained by general relativity in the data. The team says they have spotted signs in the data of a quantum-gravity effect known simply as an echo.

 

 

 

According to General Relativity , the event horizon is a smooth and infinitely thin surface: at any given moment, you’re either behind it, falling into the blackhole, or in front of it, looking into the abyss that is the black hole. But according to quantum mechanics, the event horizon is actually a ‘firewall’ of particles popping in and out of existence.

When two black holes collide to form a larger blackhole, there is a very large amount of energy released. In LIGO’s first detection of a merger, made on September 14, 2015, two black holes weighing 29 and 36 solar masses merged to form a blackhole weighing 62 solar masses. The remaining three solar masses – equivalent to 178.7 billion trillion trillion trillion joules of energy – were according to General Relativity, with an infinitely thin event horizon, then the waves are immediately expelled into space.

However, if quantum mechanics predictions are valid, then some of the waves are first trapped inside the firewall of particles, where they bounce around like echoes depending on the angle at which they were ensnared, and escape in a series of instalments. Corresponding to the delay in setting off into space, LIGO would have detected them similarly: not arriving all at once but as "echoes" with delays.

The three physicists – Jahed Abedi, Hannah Dykaar and Niayesh Afshordi – simulated firewall-esque conditions using mirrors placed close to a computer-simulated blackhole to determine the intervals at which gravitational echoes from each of the three events LIGO has detected so far would arrive at. When they had their results, they went looking for similar signals in the LIGO data.

In a pre-print paper uploaded to the arXiv server on December 1, the trio writes that it did find them, with a statistical significance of 2.9 sigma. This is a mathematical measure of confidence that’s not good enough to technically be considered evidence (3 sigma), let alone proof of any kind (5 sigma). And when tested for each event, the odds are lower: they max out at 2 sigma in the case of the merger known as GW150914, the first one that LIGO detected. Finally, even if the signal persists, it might not ultimately be due to quantum gravity at all but some other sources, according to the Wire.com

The echoes will need further peer review investigation, as the researchers note they could disappear as more data comes in. If they continue to be observed, that would be show that while Einstein’s theory has held up for 100 years, it could break down in extreme circumstances — like in merger of two ancient black holes. That relativity also fails at the edge of a black hole's event horizon, an inescapable point of no return for anything that crosses that boundary captured by the black hole’s awesome gravity.

If quantum physics is correct, the black-hole event horizon should not be an invisible border, but rather a cosmic firewall. This supposed ring of high-energy particles would incinerate any matter that passes by. If this is true, it’s a violation of Einstein’s theory. Physicists proposed that if there was any sort of exotic phenomena, like a firewall, that the gravitational wave signatures would be followed by a series of echoes.

Afshordi’s team studied the three black hole mergers that LIGO has observed so far, and discovered that each observation was followed by echoes at the exact intervals their models predicted.

Only time and future observations by scientists and the LIGO team will be able to tell with any certainty if the echoes are real or a statistical fluke, caused by random background noise? .

The Daily Galaxy via thewire and inverse.com

Image credits: LIGO, and top of page, a computer simulation shows two neutron stars, the extremely dense cores of now-dead stars, smashing into each other to form a blackhole. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

 

Comments

LIGO's work was definitely wrong because Einstein's relativity theory has already been disproved both theoretically and experimentally (see “Challenge to the special theory of relativity” March 1, 2016 Physics Essays). The most obvious and reliable evidence disproving relativity is the absolute time shown by the universally synchronized clocks on the GPS satellites which move at high velocities relative to each other while special relativity claims that time is relative (i.e. the time on each reference frame is different) and can never be synchronized on clocks moving with relative velocities. We should abandon the wrong relativity theory to open our mind in the researches.

As this is such an extremely important message that can prevent billions of taxpayer's dollars from being wasted on the wrong physics theories, I and all other people, especially science news reporters, should be obliged to deliver this message to the entire community of the physicists in the world..

44e,panchavati,manikonda
these new insights prove that TRUTH evolves,towards absolute TRUTH!
still,we should keep trying to go nearer &nearer!

Sorry if this is a dumb question, I'm looking at the shadow under my monitor and wondering if a black hole would also cast a "shadow" in a gravitational wave were to pass it?
Like a tsunami, getting absorbed and deflected by an a narrow island, but keeps traveling where it didn't contact the land.

@Xinhang Shen Totally agree. Congratulations

OMG Xinhang Shen, uh, No. These guys are doing nothing more than guessing because they want their names published . since when has gen. rel. ever been disproved? I mean first they can not be sure of the cause of the gravitational wave, there really is no way to know if the phenomena was more local, there are way too many unknowns, so as I said before they are just guessing.

Xinhang Shen the GPS satellites have a microcomputer that corrects for effects from special relativity in order to keep the clocks synchronized. Did you not know that or are you like Vaggelis who thinks it's all a "Gravity Centric" conspiracy.

It's actually heartening to see signs of intelligent life battling the anti-this and anti-that conspiracy nuts like V.T and X.S..

The very first thing that anyone should notice is that LIGO used the fundamental predictions of GR to detect the gravity waves. Uh, duh, Homers, are you getting it?

The second most significant thing is that these three attention seekers couldn't even muster better than a 2.9 sigma...and given the totality of their "research" 'm betting even that was fusged more than a tad. But, 2.x sigma is about the same significance as saying when a child throws sand in the air that it then falls to earth and forms glass. 2.x sigma isn't convincing enough to prove a McDouble is made from real beef.

On the other hand, Vaggionutjob has a new bff in the sorts of a poser called Xinfool. Why don't you two quietly PM each other and leave this blog...that's not a question, it's a suggestion from those of us that hate stupidity trying to breed more stupidity.

Chris Kirk, All what I said are facts, not assumptions. If you know the very fundamental concept of special relativity, you will know that the special relativity correction can't be done by any methods including smart computers because special relativity claims that time is relative (i.e. different on each satellite) while the real time on all GPS satellites are the same (i.e. it is absolute).

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