A huge congratulations to the LIGO team on their recent announcement of the direct detection of a gravitational wave signal. It is an amazing achievement and thoroughly well-deserved.
I had the privilege of working in a sub-team of the Ligo-Virgo Science Collaboration that analyzed six months of the initial LIGO (and Virgo) data, as part of my PhD at Cardiff University and, hence, I know many of the people involved in the collaboration today.
They are a fantastic group, whom I have huge respect for, both personally and professionally. Many, such as my former supervisor Bangalore Sathyaprakash, have dedicated their careers to this work. No doubt, many of my younger former colleagues will do likewise, only their focus will now be on new discoveries and observations with this new window on the Universe.
Interestingly, the history of gravitational wave ‘detection’ announcements is a little bit dodgy and there have been one or two false-starts (though not from the LIGO collaboration). This history had led the LIGO group to be extremely cautious and thorough in terms of detection criteria and public statements.
Consequently, as a former ‘insider’, so to speak, I was well aware that when a press conference was announced, it could only mean one thing… a very significant detection result, that had been rigorously analyzed and vetted.