9 months ago


CORDOVA: We received

CORDOVA: We received assurances from the LIGO leaders that their discoveries thus far were shipshape. VERITAS: Did it not occur to you that such assurances had to be false because no geomagnetic monitoring was available in the cases of the past discoveries? CORDOVA: We took their word in implicit trust. VERITAS: So you did not pursue this issue further? CORDOVA: We had no reason to. VERITAS: Would it have been within your authority to commission an independent engineering study of the LIGO instrument – independent of the LIGO organization? Such a study could be performed, for example, by a high-tech consulting company like The Aerospace Corporation? CORDOVA: It would have been within my authority, but that thought never occurred to me. VERITAS: Is this a failure of imagination? CORDOVA: It is not usual for the agency to go outside the scientific establishment and order independent scientific investigations. VERITAS: So – to summarize – you did receive a complaint about LIGO. You did conduct a study on it. The study gave categorical support to the complaint. But then you closed the matter based of assurances from LIGO and/or from LIGO proponents. CORDOVA: We attended to the complaint. It had no merit. We moved on. VERITAS: Who determined that it had no merit? CORDOVA: The LIGO scientists did. VERITAS: So you dismissed a complaint that is in scientific evidence as having substance, based on the recommendation of the very project against whom the complaint was made? And all this you did in a secret two-party dealing – NSF and LIGO? CORDOVA: There is nothing secret about it. The study of geomagnetic disturbances was published. VERITAS: Exactly where was it published? 60

CORDOVA: It was published in a special issue of the Journal of Classical and Quantum Gravity. VERITAS: Is this even a remotely logical place to publish this study on the influence of geomagnetic disturbances on the LIGO instrument? Where do we get gravity here – classical or quantum? CORDOVA: I cannot say why they decided to publish a paper in a particular journal. We do not micromanage the projects we fund. VERITAS: Well, it seems to me that for various reasons the paper had to be published, but it was not desirable for it to become widely known. So it was buried in a journal where nobody would look for it. MOSCATO: Objection, You Honor. Counsel is testifying. JUDGE: Move on, Ms. Veritas. VERITAS: Dr. Cordova, was the public informed of this highly significant geomagnetic study in any of the many LIGO public outreach forums where LIGO progress and LIGO developments were constantly being broadcast, bandied about and gloried upon? CORDOVA: I don’t know the answer to that. VERITAS: And after that study you still maintain that the discovery is one hundred percent solid? CORDOVA: I certainly do. VERITAS: Did it occur to you to inform the Nobel folks of this little-known but highly relevant study you conducted, a study that placed the LIGO discoveries in serious question? CORDOVA: We do not get involved with the Nobel process. VERITAS: Are you aware of two other independent studies – one from Japan and one from Russia – suggesting LIGO may have observed just geomagnetic disturbances? These studies were published even as LIGO was undergoing evaluation for the Nobel Prize. CORDOVA: No. We are not researchers ourselves. We would not know of such studies unless LIGO or others inform us. VERITAS: And now learning about those studies, you still maintain that the discovery is one hundred percent solid? 61

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