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Open Letter to the Nobel Committee for Physics 2016

  • JET, Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik (retired)


The Nobel Committee is informed that according to Professor Karsten Danzmann (Albert Einstein Institut) the LIGO detectors are not calibrated as expected from the statement in the discovery paper: "The detector output is calibrated in strain by measuring its response to test mass motion induced by photon pressure from a modulated calibration laser beam [63]". The claim that gravitational waves have been detected is not substantiated experimentally, since direct calibration data, namely mirror displacement as a function of laser power moving the mirrors, are not published.
Open Letter to the Nobel Committee for Physics 2016
To Professor Olle Inganäs (chaiman),,
Dear Professor Inganäs,
on Feb. 11, 2016 the LIGO-team published the paper PRL 116, 061102 (2016): Observation
of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger. The experimental proof for the
existence of a gravitational wave was announced: Mirrors of 40 kg had been displaced by
10-18 m during fractions of a second as measured with a Michelson-interferometer with 4 km
arm length resulting in a strain of 10-21. Scaling up these data by a factor of 1013 a relative
accuracy must have been achieved by a hair’s breadth (10 microns) in relation to the distance
to the next fixed star (4 light-years). This is by a factor of 1 Million better than the relative
Mössbauer accuracy of 10-15 obtained so far. Indeed, Rudolf Mössbauer was awarded the
Nobel Prize for physics in 1961 for this achievement.
In order to substantiate this extraordinary claim, it is absolutely necessary to demonstrate
experimentally LIGO’s ability to measure a displacement of 10-18 m that is one thousandth of
a proton radius. The reader is assured that the calibration of the system can be achieved by
moving the mirrors by such a tiny distance with radiation pressure: “The detector output is
calibrated in strain by measuring its response to test mass motion induced by photon pressure
from a modulated calibration laser beam [63].” Ref. [63] is an unpublished e-print
describing the calibration method by radiation pressure. Formula (10) gives the calculable
connection between displacement and the radiation power of an auxiliary laser shining on the
mirror. Unfortunately no data are given as to the laser power, wave form, number of
oscillations in order to compare with the documented effect that was exerted on the mirrors by
the wave GW150914, as displayed in the “discovery paper”.
An enquiry with the Albert Einstein Institut revealed that such data do not exist. Prof. Karsten
Danzmann declared that the calibration procedure is much more complicated than could be
expected from the announcement in the discovery paper (http://www.kritik- , document 13). In order
to understand it, one would need to study lengthy technical documents such as
arXiv:1007.3973v1 [gr-qc] 22 Jul 2010 which, however, does not present either a calibration
curve “mirror displacement versus laser power”. In view of this statement one must conclude
that an experimental proof for the claimed accuracy of the system does not exist, certainly
none which is intelligible and could be accepted by the scientific public. It would be easy to
move the mirrors by radiation pressure similarly as the gravitational wave did on 15-09-14 ,
but no data have been published since then that would document this calibration
In view of Prof. Danzmann’s statement one must suspect that LIGO was not calibrated as
announced in the discovery paper with the consequence that the claim having detected a
gravitational wave is not substantiated experimentally. It is quite possible that GW150914
was a test signal injected into the system before the science run started. The second
“discovery” GW151226 shows a very weak signal that is hardly discernable in the noise as
admitted by the authors themselves.
In the early seventies there was a claim by Joe Weber having detected gravitational waves.
Repetitions of his measurements by several groups came up with null results. Weber was not
awarded a Nobel Prize, a wise decision by the Committee. In the present instance it is not
easily possible to repeat independent experiments with interferometers of 4 km arm length.
One should insist, however, that the LIGO-group carries out the calibration as described in
their discovery paper and publishes the results. Such data were included in the previous
Technical Document LIGO-T030266-00 - D 9/22/03
( ) where much higher laser
power was applied to achieve measurable displacements. Hence, it is surprising to notice that
direct calibration data were not included in Ref. [63] on this far more auspicious occasion. As
more events like GW150914 are expected, one should wait and see whether they materialize.
With my best regards,
Wolfgang Engelhardt
... A szóban forgó felfedezést olyan tartományban történő mérésekhez kötik, amelyre a LIGO műszerei képtelenek. "A gravitációs hullámok 4×10 ^-18 m dimenziójú változást okoztak a mérőműszerekben, 456-szor kisebbet, mint a proton sugara" [31]. ...
... -A jelenlegi cikk szerzője korábbi írásában több pontban is taglalta, hogy a gravitációs hullámokat régen fel lehetett volna fedezni, ha a mai tudomány egy elfogadható gravitációs elmélettel rendelkezne [32]. Ezért a jelenlegi írást egy olyan érvvel toldja meg, amelyet a fentebb már említett Engelhárd W. véleménye [31] mellé helyezve megmutatkozik, hogy a LIGO általi felfedezés leírása abszolút képtelenség. A Föld ugyanis egy olyan állandó elektromágneses gravitációs térrel rendelkezik, amelyről elmondható, hogy az makroszkopikusan "folyamatosan" változik. ...
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ABSTRAKT It is seen throughout modern history, that it's not always the best performance which earns the highest of prizes. Such cases would be the Nobel Peace Prize of 2009 or the Nobel Prize in Physics of 2017 inter alia.
... As Professor W. W. Engelhardt of Planck Institute in Germany stated in his open letter to the Nobel Prize Committee, LIGO team had never conducted independent experiments to prove that they were able to detect the length change of 18 10  m, how could they claim to be able to detect the length change of 18 10  m in the gravitational wave experiments? [9]. ...
Full-text available
This paper reveals that LIGO's (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) so-called gravitational wave discoveries are all fictions. What LIGO detected were actually noises not gravitational waves. These noises abundantly appeared in LIGO's laser interferometers. LIGO had previously calculated a large number of theoretical waveform of gravitational waves according to numerical relativity method and stored them in a database. Then LIGO's team elected several noises which satisfied the time correlation conditions and were similar to the theoretical waveform in the database, modifying and packaging them, announced the discovery of gravitational waves. In fact, no any astronomical or astrophysical event was founded which was related to the corresponding gravitational wave bursts. LIGO's team also used band-pass and band-stop filters to process the theoretically calculated gravitational wave forms, resulting in severe distortions. Such processed curves were no longer to represent the gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. It was meaningless to compare them with so-called observed data. In addition, according to the theoretical calculation of general relativity, the process of two black holes merging and producing gravitational waves lasted more than three seconds. However, the observed data from LIGO experiment was consistent with the theoretical waveform only in the time window of 0.1 ~ 0.13 Review Article Xiaochun et al.; IAARJ, 4(2): 46-59, 2022; Article no.IAARJ.87136 47 seconds. In LIGO's publications and communications to the scientific community and the social public, these issues were never mentioned. LIGO's so-called gravitational wave discovery was essentially a computer simulation and graphics-matching game that had nothing to do with actual astronomical and astrophysical processes.
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