Why not just wait for LISA?

nooneishere
nooneishere
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Topic 188386

First off full disclosure, I studied history in college and physics beyond the 200 level gives me migraines. So maybe I'm missing somthing here. But I've been reading all about LIGO and GEO and LISA today online and it occurs to me why not just wait for better data?

It's not like LIGO is the best attempt we're going to be able to make. We've got a plan to launch LISA which will be massively more sensitive and won't have to worry about hunters deciding to poach deer a quarter mile away or other random distractions.

From what I've been reading its like comparing a high end telescope from your local mall to the Hubble. So why expend such massive efforts trying to discern a scientific breakthrough from a truck backfiring? Wouldn't the NSF funding be put to better use if they plowed it into LISA and hopefully caused that project to come to fruition sooner?

Again, I'm a layman, and a supportive one at that. I've got two PCs crunching data as I type. But I haven't been able to really find a decent answer to my question from any of the existing literature aimed at non physics geeks like myself.

Ben Owen
Ben Owen
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Why not just wait for LISA?

Windowdog,

There are all sorts of administrative issues I won't go into, save to say that LISA is at best a 2013 project and likely will be delayed even further.

I will say that there is merit in pushing what you've already got the farthest it'll go rather than waiting around for something better. You generally don't get the chance at something better tomorrow unless you've wisely used what you've got today. More specifically, it's clear that LISA will benefit from a lot of the data analysis and organizational lessons being learned by LIGO right now. Even then I wonder if LISA will have the infrastructure set up by then. They'll probably be asking us for help.

More fundamental is the science issue, which comes down to the fact that you get different sources in different frequency bands. LIGO is most sensitive around a hundred Hertz. LISA is most sensitive around a hundredth of a Hertz. The actual strain sensitivities are comparable; it's just that there are known to be a lot more sources in LISA's frequency band.

But the sources are different, and they will tell us different things. I would say the main difference is that LIGO's high-frequency signals can tell us about the properties of dense matter through observations of neutron stars, which LISA can't. Since that's turning into my main interest these days, I spend my time on LIGO not LISA (yet). Also, I'm a masochist and like pushing to the limit now rather than waiting until it's easy later. In my experience, things don't become easy later unless someone is pushing hard now.

Hope this helps,
Ben

nooneishere
nooneishere
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Good answer, thanks for the

Good answer, thanks for the info. I didn't realize LISA wasn't sensitive at the 100 herzt level. Though now that I think about it that makes sense. I figured there had to be a good reason seeing as so many folks are spending their careers on the effort. It just wasn't self evident to me.

Thanks for clearing things up. And I didn't even get any flames accusing me of being a heretical luddite. This is turning into a unique web based experience in more ways than one.

Jim Baize
Jim Baize
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Seeing as how you are in deep

Message 7647 in response to message 7646

Seeing as how you are in deep despair about not recieving any flames, I want to do my part to help eliminate any feeling of nonunity to the typical web based experience. Therefore, I respectfully submit the following flame for your purusal. Should you feel that the following flame does not fit your needs, please forward all suggestions for improvements to /dev/null.

You are a heretical luddite. The answer to your question was so obviously self-inevident that even a blind flea couldn't see it.

Consider yourself officially flamed.

Jim

PS... I actually thought it was a very good question and the response was superb. Keep the questions coming. I think you are right, this is a unique web experience. It is a wonderful group of people who participate and further this project, regardless of their level of involvement.

PSS... I don't even know what a "heretical luddite" is. I think i've seen the definition of "luddite" before, but I don't remember what it is. LOL

> Good answer, thanks for the info. I didn't realize LISA wasn't sensitive at
> the 100 herzt level. Though now that I think about it that makes sense. I
> figured there had to be a good reason seeing as so many folks are spending
> their careers on the effort. It just wasn't self evident to me.
>
> Thanks for clearing things up. And I didn't even get any flames accusing me of
> being a heretical luddite. This is turning into a unique web based experience
> in more ways than one.
>

Jim

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