The 27 graphics from
Saulson's talk are here in 7 web pages. In the narrative below you can
click on any subject to go to its
page. Click here for a
It is essential but difficult to provide explanations that are both
correct and intelligible to
those who support GR research, e.g.the general public and their
representatives. Saulson offered two such explanations of how LIGO's interferometer is to detect
gravity wave -- a heuristic, mostly correct, explanation and a
more elaborate one that is always correct.
His heuristic example starts
with a picture of a set of freely falling masses.
pg. 2 He
shows what happens when a gravity wave
passes through the set of masses. The
interferometry to sense the relative motion of free masses that are
kilometers apart. These small differences of displacement are converted
pg. 3 The more
measures distance by
round-trip travel time of light. This requires generalizing
interval of special relativity with the appropriate
pg. 4 Then gravity
waves appear as small
terms in the flat space GR metric. The waves have two
independent polarizations -- plus and
cross. Now solve for
variation of light travel time
in each interferometer arm.
pg. 5 The
result is the
difference between the travel times in the x and y arms. This
difference can be expressed as a
phase difference that
the transponder turns into a brightness at the
What does the calculation mean?
1) Do gravity waves move the test masses?
2) Do gravity waves stretch light waves?
3) If so, how can you use light waves to detect gravity waves?
pg. 6 Answers:
1) It depends on your
2) Again, yes and
3) Light is a rubber ruler
participating in the distortions being measured, but it is not a
static ruler and over the time it travels through an interferometer arm
there is a response that builds to the size found with the heuristic
calculation. It will work.
You can do the math and not understand the results.
Professionals as well as non-professionals need
heuristics. We need them for