Considering the "publish or perish" culture in academia and the immense stress to always report positive results (or get their funding cut), how can we be so sure gravitational waves were really found today by LIGO?
well since the results wont be used in practical industry for decades/centuries, no one really cares.
Leave the guys who actually have to do something with this shit to worry about the results/validity of the tests
What makes me a bit skeptical, but I'm probably just an idiot:
They claim that they have discovered a specific gravitational wave caused by two known black holes merging into one at the speed of light.
Ok first of all, how do they even know these black holes, if the whole concept of black holes isn't even proven without a doubt. Much less have we ever seen a black hole and I highly doubt that they know a specific example of two of them who are in the process of merging.
Secondly, even if they absolutely know that those black holes exist. How do they point at it with their expensive toy? From what I understand this machine might be able to detect if such waves exist. Or it might just detect some other unknown interference. But how on earth will they be able to tell, were these waves originate from? They could basically come from everywhere.
That depends how you define "impact"
Science is incremental: We take small steps forward given what we already know. By contributing to that incremental process with even the smallest steps, you are actually making an impact with your work.
I'm not talking impact factor R value or any of that bullshit
Having two detectors working in tandem, (one in Washington, one in Louisiana) means they can use the delay in propagation to narrow the source down to a certain patch of sky. There's also some directionality in the detectors individually, I don't know about the rest.
They discovered the black holes along with the gravitational waves.
The way the discovery works is sort of like this:
I draw you a picture of a blue ball and give it to you. At some later point, a blue ball hits you in the head. Shit that blue ball looked a lot like that picture I have. You compare your GoPro footage with my picture, they look kinda the same, you found blue balls.
You also check the footage to see where the ball came from and what type of blue ball it was, big, bright, smooth, whatever.
You then infer from all that extra information you recorded extra shit, like who threw the ball, maybe come up with theories on what blue ball chuckers look like, it might confirm previous suspicions.
So up until now, Blue balls have been hitting us on the Reg, but we didn't have a blue ball picture or a GoPro to record it, and the balls were so small anyway that even with all of that set up it was kind of hard to spot any. So about 50 years of preparation lead to the moment when last year in September particularly large blue balls were thrown at us, and we went from blue ball agnostics to blue ball believers.
Hm I see, so basically they claim that they can tell pretty accurately where the wave is coming from. Maybe I also had a misconception about the size of such a wave. Originally I though such a wave must be huge, I mean like minimum whole earth diameter in amplitude. But it seems as if it's rather very small, even smaller than light.