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LIGO

LIGO COURTROOM DRAMA: Trial Part 13 TRIAL PART 13 ON THE WITNESS STAND: Kip Stephen Thorne (for the Defendants) VINO MOSCATO (Attorney for the Defendants): Professor Thorne, Congratulations on your Nobel Prize. I am just thrilled to be speaking to you, even if under these circumstances. Our jury is very fortunate to be hearing from not one, but two Nobel Laureates. I doubt if any greater scientific authority has gathered under a courtroom roof before. Now, Professor Thorne, do you stand by the five LIGO detections to date? KIP STEPHEN THORNE: I do. MOSCATO: And are you apprised of the issues that the so-called LIGO dissidents have raised about these discoveries? THORNE: In a summary way. MOSCATO: And what is your assessment of their objections? THORNE: I did not find any substance in them. MOSCATO: So would you say that, as far as the validity of the five detections is concerned, the body of objections can be dismissed? THORNE: I would say that. MOSCATO: Professor Thorne, who do you think is qualified to review the LIGO instrument? THORNE: The same people who have reviewed and endorsed LIGO all these years: The members of the National Review Board, the referees of The Physical Review Letters, the selection panels of the many prize-giving bodies, and so on. MOSCATO: So, throughout its history, LIGO has faced constant and competent vigilance. It has in fact faced the full brunt of the scientific process, with all its safeguards, with all the self-policing. Are all these correct?? THORNE: They are. 78

MOSCATO: And based on what you have been apprised on the LIGO dissidents, are they qualified to critique LIGO? THORNE: Look, LIGO is a highly complex scientific program that has evolved over decades. You cannot just come in cold, and start poking holes. That is not a scientific activity. MOSCATO: Do you think LIGO has any obligation to answer the dissidents? THORNE: We will always answer criticisms that are properly posed in a proper way. We will answer them at a proper time and in a proper forum. But we simply cannot go answering everything that anyone posts on the Internet. That will be the death of scientific progress. MOSCATO: Thank you, Professor Thorne. I have no further questions at this time. Your witness, Ms. Veritas. ASSUMPTA VERITAS (Attorney for the Plaintiffs): Good Morning, Professor Thorne. You are the world’s leading expert on gravitation and gravitational waves. Is that correct? THORNE: I would say one of the experts. VERITAS: Thank you. You are also a theoretical physicist and a physics educator. So is it correct to say that you are thoroughly knowledgeable on the general subject of wave behavior? THORNE: Yes. VERITAS: Is it correct to say that the fundamental aspects of known wave behavior apply to gravitational wave? THORNE: Up to a point. But we have to consider each specific comparison in detail. VERITAS: OK, so let’s do such a specific comparison. Suppose an electromagnetic wave is traveling past us. It is linearly polarized. Its wavelength is 10 meters. Suppose I have a linear dipole antenna 1 centimeter long. By orienting this antenna, would I be able to determine the plane of polarization? THORNE: I would say no. The antenna is too small for this purpose. VERITAS: Can you elaborate? 79

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