[ExI] Has LIGO found new physics ?

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Sat Dec 10 22:23:00 UTC 2016

Yesterday a paper was published hinting that maybe just maybe LIGO has
found evidence for new physics, the first ever departure from General


String theory says, well...,some string theories say,
a Black Hole really has 2 event horizons just a few Planck lengths apart,
the inner one is like the one Einstein predicted where anything crossing it
can never escape, and the outer event horizon where anything crossing will *
*probably** be trapped to
but might still escape if the particle enters at just the right angle. Some
non-string theories also predict similar event horizons
with a few subtle differences from the String Theory version
in an effort to avoid the Black Hole information paradox and explain Black
Hole firewalls.

To Gravitational Waves these 2 event horizons would act like mirrors, most
waves would pass through both but some would start bouncing back and forth
between the two


​the waves
would all get out but there would be a delay. The above paper calculates
that the echo
should appear at 0.1 seconds, 0.2 seconds and 0.3 seconds
fter the primary wave.
When they looked at the LIGO data for the 3 Black Hole mergers (2 certain
and 1 probable) they seemed to find echos after just
those delays
(the delay only changes with the log of of the mass, and the mass of all 3
events were roughly the same so the delays would be too).

The evidence so far for any of this is weak, the sigma is only 2.9 which
means if you repeated the experiment 270 times you'd only expect to see the
observed results once if it was
​all ​
due to random noise

ou need 5 sigma to claim a discover and that's one chance in 3.5 million
it's just a fluke. A few month ago everybody got excited when the LHC said
they may have found a new unexpected particle, and the evidence for it was
almost as good
​ as LIGO's​
, the sigma was 2.1, but as more data came in the entire thing
​just ​
disappeared, so caution is warranted.

As LIGO collects more data we should be able to confirm or rule out new
physics within the next 2 years, less if we're lucky; although the data
will probably not be good enough to figure out if a string theory o
a non-string theory fits the results better, but at least we'll know if
there is something new
​under the sun ​
or not.

John K Clark
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