Scientists hopeful of funds for gravity wave observatory

Scientists hopeful of funds for gravity wave observatory

Scientists hopeful of funds for gravity wave observatory

Indian scientists hope to ride on the success of gravity wave discovery to seek quick approval from the Centre Rs 1,260 crore proposal to set up a gravity wave observatory for which four sites have been shortlisted.

Back in 2011, researchers proposed setting up a gravity wave detector in India. The proposal received a shot in the arm a year later, when the National Science Foundation, USA agreed to shift one of the detectors to be set up at Hanford in Washington to India.

The Department of Atomic Energy and the Department of Science and Technology put up a proposal for establishing and running the observatory over 15 years and sought Rs 650 crore for the 12th plan period (up to 2017) to kickstart the programme. The plan was cleared by the Planning Commission, but stuck in red tapes since then. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweets, within minutes of the announcement about discovery of gravity wave discovery have boosted scientists' hopes.

Proud moment
“Hope to move forward to make even bigger contribution with an advanced gravitational wave detector in the country. Immensely proud that Indian scientists played an important role in this challenging quest,” Modi tweeted.

“The Prime Minister’s tweet reduced our stress level,” said Dhiraj Bora, Director of Institute of Plasma Research, Gandhinagar, that would develop advanced vacuum system for both arms of the detector besides other vital components.

Scientists shortlisted four sites in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh where environmental surveys are being carried out.

“Sites on the Deccan Plateau stand higher chance of being selected due to low seismicity,” Tarun Sourdeep Ghosh, one of lead scientists at the Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune told Deccan Herald.

Setting up the Indian observatory would be a responsibility of IUCAA, IPR and Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore. The original plan was to complete the project within eight years, but that plan is now four years behind schedule. Physicists from 16 Indian institutes formed the INDIGO consortium for gravity wave research.

Two arms of the L-shaped Indian detector would be 4 km long and is 150 mt thick.


Gravitational waves are “ripples” in the fabric of space-time.
Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916.
Einstein compared the universe’s shape to a single fabric, called space-time.
The force of gravity is the result of curvature in this space-time (similar to the effects of placing a heavy ball on a large rubber sheet).
Gravitational waves are ripples in the space-time, produced when massive objects like black holes collide.
Other powerful processes like exploding stars and the birth of the universe can also create these waves.
Their existence is derived from his general theory of relativity.
Scientists presented the results from the world’s only gravity wave detector, LIGO, US.
 These waves were never detected.
 India plans to set up the third detector.
 A second detector VIRGO is in Italy.
 But the Cabinet approval is yet to come, four years after the proposal was made by the Department of Atomic Energy.

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