some weeks ago, a number of our colleagues became unaccountably busy, disappearing into their offices, holding long, late night telecons, haranguing stressed postdocs

what they had in common was their membership of the LIGO science collaboration

well, social networks report that at the LIGO-VIRGO meeting all was revealed

the LIGO Internal Affairs division had done a blind injection of an artificial realistic gravitational radiation event to see if the data analysis pipeline actually performs as advertised

apparently it did, the blip was picked up, I presume we will hear soon how well they recovered the injection parameters, but in the meantime some postdocs can go get some sleep

false alarm

Amber at Living LIGO has the gritty details – and gave me the h/t that this could be spoken of in public without the LIGO ninjas coming after me,
again.

PS: Dear Very Senior LIGO people:

no one breached confidence on the LIGO event and analysis.
At all.
Seriously.

For reference, consider the Holmes story “Silver Blaze”.
Sometimes absence of evidence is itself evidence…

Comments

  1. #1 Peter Davis
    March 15, 2011

    How cruel :~€

  2. #2 Lab Lemming
    March 16, 2011

    Was it identified as a fake? e.g. were the analysts clever enough to notice something fishy about the data?