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LIGO_casebook

LIGO

LIGO COURTROOM DRAMA: Trial Part 15 82

TRIAL PART 15 ON THE WITNESS STAND: Olga Botner (for the Defendants) VINO MOSCATO (Attorney for the Defendants): Professor Botner, you are a member of the Committee that awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. You had no obligation to come to this court, but you agreed to help the defendant Nobel Laureates in this case to the extent you can. The defendants are grateful for that. The parties in this case have stipulated that because of the Nobel secrecy rules, there are some areas we cannot go into. So if we ask any questions in those areas, you may simply decline to answer. Now Professor Botner, you and the Chairman of your Committee, Professor Nils Martensson, are two world-renowned experimentalists on the Committee, are you not? OLGA BOTNER: We are experimentalists, yes. MOSCATO: So is it correct to say that the two of you – who by the way work at the same place – that you have fully evaluated the LIGO experiment personally and collaboratively to your satisfaction before deciding on the award? BOTNER: I cannot answer who evaluated what and how. MOSCATO: But can you say if there are any doubts about the instrument being perfect? BOTNER: Obviously, since we have given the Nobel Prize, there are no doubts. MOSCATO: Thank you, Professor Botner. I have no further questions at this time. Your witness, Ms. Veritas. ASSUMPTA VERITAS (Attorney for the Plaintiffs): Good Morning, Professor Botner. Were you and your fellow committeemen aware about any issues that had been raised by some critics about the LIGO instrument when you were deliberating on this award? BOTNER: I cannot answer that. VERITAS: OK. I will ask this another way. LIGO has two mirrors that are about 5.7 kilometers apart, and are not mechanically coupled in any way. The mirrors hang freely. The axes of the two mirrors are at right angles. Would that be a correct description? 83

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