Gravity’s Shadow: The Search for Gravitational Waves
Table of Contents
Common acronyms in gravitational wave research xx1
Introduction two Kinds of Space-time 1
Seeing gravitational waves is a matter of the spread of ripples through social space-time. Seeing has temporal and spatial dimensions. The nature of social space-time changes as we move outward from the centre of the science, the core-set
Part i a la recherche des ondes perdues
The early 1960s to 1975. The first experiments done by Joe Weber and his colleagues using room-temperature resonant-bars. The life and death of the first claims to have seen the waves. How these ripples in social space-time were made to disappear
Chapter 1: the Start of a New Science 23
The very first experiments and the first intimations that a new force had been detected.Theory and experiment.
Chapter 2: from Idea to Experiment35
The Maryland team. Sinsky’s attempt to calibrate the detector. The flavour of scientific experiment with its immense labour and many false starts
Chapter 3: what are Gravitational Waves?66
The science of the theory of gravitational waves. It was once possible to doubt that gravitational waves existed, to be unsure about what kinds of systems would emit them, and to doubt that they could be detected even if they were emitted.
Chapter 4: the First Published Results74
How Weber made his claims ever more convincing through a series of experimental elaborations which he set out in publications. The first intimations of opposition.
Chapter 5: the Reservoir of Doubt 97
A new metaphor for describing how a heterodox claim fights a theoretical consensus — the dam of certainty. How Weber began to fight.
Chapter 6: The First Experiments by Others 116
The first experiments by others. The Experimenter’s Regress and the dam of certainty. The craft nature of scientific experimentation prevents it being decisive.
Chapter 7: Joe Weber’s Findings Begin to be Rejected in the Constitutive Forum 135
Rejections of Weber’s claims begin to appear in the journals. Nothing decisive as yet.
Chapter 8: Joe Weber Fights Back 142
Joe Weber fights back harder
Chapter 9: the Consensus is Formed 154
The decisive moves. The evidence against Weber crystallizes.
Chapter 10: An Attempt To Break the Regress — The Calibration of Experiments 189
Calibration of experiments cannot break through the Experimenter’s Regress though it can dent it.
Chapter 11: Forgotten Waves 196
Weber publishes more on his claims but the papers are ignored by the community.
Chapter 12: How Waves Spread 206
The Science Citation Index and an analysis of Weber’s publications are used to indicate the trajectory of Weber’s claims. Successive headlines in New Scientist magazine indicate the same trajectory.
Part ii two new technologies
The new technologies that followed Weber’s pioneering experiments — cryogenic bars and interferometers.
Chapter 13: The Start of Cryogenics 215
A brief history of the origin of each of the five cryogenic-bar groups beginning with Fairbank’s and Hamilton’s pioneering work in Stanford and Louisiana in the mid-1970s. The cryogenic bars were to take 20 years to become reliable.
Chapter 14: nAUTILUS 234
More on the texture of scientific experiment. The ultra-low-temperature bar detector, NAUTILUS, built in Frascati near Rome.
Chapter 15: NAUTILUS, November 1996 to June 1998 254
NAUTILUS’s tribulations continued
Chapter 16: the Spheres 260
The start of the resonant sphere program which was meant to supercede the cryogenic bars.
Chapter 17: the Start of Interferometry 265
The idea of big interferometers as alternative gravitational wave detectors
Chapter 18: Caltech Enters the Game 284
The interferometer program takes shape.
part iii bar wars
The mid-1970s to the turn of the century. The curious revival of Joe Weber’s claims and their demise for the second time. How interferometry gained dominance over resonant technology including the death of the large spheres.
Chapter 19: the Science of the Life After Death of Room-Temperature Bars 305
Joe Weber’s new ideas for rescuing his `High Visibility gravitational waves. The new cross-section and `centre-crystal instrumentation. New alliances formed. Entry of Guiliano Preparata.
Chapter 20: scientific Institutions and Life After Death 329
The way scientific institutions allow the existence of alternative truths unless danger threatens. Formal and informal controls in science.
Chapter 21: room-Temperature Bars and the Policy Regress358
Interferometry’s growing power confronted by Weber and his new claims are formally challenged giving them new visibility. Eventually they return to obscurity. It is said that gravitational waves for Supernova 1987A have been seen but the claims are refused publication in the most prestigious journals.
Chapter 22: scientific Cultures;392
More claims to have seen gravitational waves come from Perth and Rome. How the difference between the Americans and the Italians can be understood in terms of different `evidential cultures.’ Fascinating developments in the relationship between American and Italian cryogenic bar groups. Gravitational wave scientific culture is dominated by the interferometer groups.
Chapter 23: Resonant Technology and the National Science Foundation Review 435
Confrontation and cooperation between barsa nd inerferometers; the National Science Foundation reviews the resonant bar and resonant sphere program and shuts down significant funding for these technologies in the USA.nbsp;
Chapter 24: Ripples and Conferences 449
How scientific credibility is gained and lost at scientific conferences
Chapter 25: three More Conferences and a Funeral 454
The decay of claims to have seen gravitational waves at three more conferences; the foundation of IGECnbsp;nbsp;
Chapter 26: the Downtrodden Masses 480
The demise of the resonant mass program in the speech and body language of the community. An unintended consequence of the unfavourable NSF review was the collapse of funding for resonant sphere programs throughout the world. The `800lb gorilla’ that was the American interferometer program, LIGO, had, in spite of itself, left room for only one advancing technology that cost any significant sum of money. The `causal chain’ that led to the triumph of interferometers over bar-technologynbsp;nbsp;
Chapter 27: the Funding of LIGO and its Consequences 489
Can there be a more social-structural way to explain the demise of the bars and the triumph of the interferometers? The pork barrel; the shfit from resonant masses to in interferometers in the framework of the wider technologies in which they were embedded; the conclusion is that this kind of approach, though revealing, does not seem to be a powerful way to explain the bars’ demise; forma an informal evidence; the decision to fund LIGO was close to arbitrary, though its consequences were devastating for the resonant massesnbsp;
part iv the interferometers and the interferometeers — from small science to big science
Mid-1990s to the present; the small science grows into a big science; modern large-scale interferometry; management traumas, sackings, conflicts, prospects and problems.
Chapter 28: moving Technology — What is in a Large Interferometer 515
Some of the inventions that make modern large scale interferometers both much more sensitive and much more complex than early interferometers. An elaboration of the ideas that were described in Section III.nbsp;nbsp;
Chapter 29: moving Earth — the Sites 525
The large interferometers and their sites in Australia, America, Germany, and Italy. Making concrete the scene for what is to follow.
Chapter 30: moving People — From Small Science to Big Science 546
The difference between big and small science. Are there different kinds of organisation which are best suited to science when it is developing and when it is mature? Is interferometry a mature enough science to be organised as a big science? Interferometry is much more risky than most big sciences. The small beginning of interferometry.
Chapter 31: the Beginning of Coordinated Science 558
The origins of LIGO — the American Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. The collaboration between MIT and Caltech under a three person committee — Kip Thorne, Ron Drever, and Rai Weiss — known as the `Troika.’ The Troika is ineffective and is replaced by a new strong leader, Robbie Vogt. nbsp;
Chapter 32: The Drever Affairnbsp;572
The great row which broke out between Robbie Vogt, and Ron Drever, the pioneer of many ideas for improving the sensitivity of interferometers. Drever’s separation from the project he had helped to found. nbsp;nbsp;
Chapter 33: The End of the Skunk Works584
The end of Robbie Vogt’s leadership of LIGO along with the `skunk work.’ management regime that he favored.nbsp;nbsp;
Chapter 34: Regime 3 — The Coordinators592
A `new management’ team, led by Barry Barish and Gary Sanders, comes in from high-energy physics. The new management find themselvs in disagreement with the `40 meter team’ who ran Caltech’s prototype interferometer under the Vogt regime.nbsp;
Chapter 35: Mechanism versus Magic603
Different ways of seeing the world. A big question and a small question about models of the world. Are interferometers `magic’ or can they be developed under a systematic, high-energy physics-like, organisation. Tacit knowledge and computer modelsnbsp;
Chapter 36: the 40 Meter Team versus the New Management Continued 636
The argument between the new management and the 40-meter team re-visited. The new management have to prioritise routinised and transparent progress for financial and political reasons; they have to build a successful facility.nbsp;
Chapter 37: Regime 4 (and 5) — The Collaborationnbsp;647
The success of the new management regime in drawing talent from across the world. The themes of increasing planning and control as science moves from small to big is repeated as more advanced interferometers are planned.
part v Becoming a new science
How large projects pool their data; how these decisions take place on an international stage; the special and curious features of setting upper limits on observations..nbsp;
Chapter 38: Pooling Data — Prospects and Problemsnbsp;661
The nature and practice of international data-sharing in interferometry. The logic and the `gamble’ that can be involved in different levels of data-pooling (technical integration), and the different kinds of `social integration’ that are conducive to these.
Chapter 39: international Collaboration Among the Interferometer Groups 676
The opportunities pressures and choices made about international cooperation by the existing national and international groups.nbsp;
chapter 40: when is Science? The Meaning of Upper Limits698
Even though interferometers are still too insensitive to see gravitational waves they can set `upper limits’ on the flux. The logic and meaning of upper limits is discussed and the question is asked whether, and for whom, setting upper limits amounts to transmuting the lead of `no findings’ into the gold of `science.’nbsp;
Part vi Science, scientists, and sociology
Why LIGO is so big; the first upper-limit results; how will the future unfold? The relationship between the analyst and the scientists, with implications for science policy; experts and nonexperts; methodology as the meeting of the two cultures; the meaning of the study for the history and sociology of science; a methodological reminiscence of Joe Weber.nbsp;
Chapter 41: Coming On Air: The Study and the Science 731
Why does LIGO need two interferometers if it really is a prototype? Long-term science and scientific lifetimes; the latest Frascati paper; the first results and the future; a chllenge over LIGO’s sensitivity.
Chapter 42: Methodology as the Meeting of Two Cultures: The Study, the Scientists, and the Public 745
The inevitable tensions between social analysis of scientific knowledge and science 9the Groucho Paradox); what it means to present results in different forums; the boundaries of what the analyust counts as science; “interactional expertise” as oppsoed to “contributory expertise” and science policy.nbsp;nbsp;
Chapter 43: Final Reflections: The Study and Sociologynbsp; 783
Summary of the book in the context of its goals; how representative of science as a whole is gravitational wave science? The revolution in the social analysis of science and Gravity’s Shadow; three ways to do the sociology and history of science; Gravity’s Shadow and methodological relativism as a middle way that can generate surprises without being so general and bizaree as to lose all purchase on science; final reflections on the science wars.
Chapter 44: Joe Weber: A Personal and Methodological Note 800
Personal reflection; the difference that has been made to me as an analyst by the death of Joe Weber, who can no longer judge my work nor help me to recreate `les ondes purdues.’.
coda: January 2004 813
New developments since the main part of the book was completed
Intro. 1: what is small?820
The world of the small. The small is what we must deal with if we are to understand why gravitational waves are so hard to see.nbsp;
Intro.2: gravitational waves, gravitational radiation, and gravity waves — a note on terminology 822
A potential terminological confusion between `gravitational waves’ and `gravity waves.’
Intro.3: Roger Babson’s essay 824
Roger Babson’s essay explaining why he founded the Gravity Research Foundation, to which a number of essays on gravitational waves were submitted, including early work by Joe Weber.
appendix III-1: Colonial Cringe 828
What makes the Perth group special
appendix V-1: The Method 830
The archive and the fieldwork