LIGO, Gravitational Waves - GS questions based on daily current affairs

1)   The LIGO-India project will be jointly coordinated and executed by which of the premier Indian institutions

2) Indian Institute of Astrophysics
3) Institute for Plasma Research

a. 1, 2
b. 2, 3
c. 1, 3
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 1, 3


  • The LIGO-India project will be jointly coordinated and executed by three premier Indian lead institutions viz., the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune, the Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), Gandhinagar and the Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Indore.
  • Some of the Universities in the country will also participate in the project.
  • The LIGO-India project will establish a state-of-the-art gravitational wave observatory on the Indian soil in collaboration with the LIGO Laboratory in the U.S. run by Caltech and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • The project will bring unprecedented opportunities for our scientists and engineers to dig deeper into the realm of gravitational wave and take global leadership in this new astronomical frontier.
  • LIGO-India will also bring considerable opportunities in cutting edge technology for the Indian industry which will be engaged in the construction of eight kilometre long beam tube at ultra-high vacuum on a levelled terrain.

2)   Recently the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics has been awarded to

a. Team detecting gravitational waves
b. Team detecting Higgs boson
c. Team detecting Dark Matter
d. Team that proved that the universe is rapidly expanding
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Team detecting gravitational waves


  • The scientists and engineers of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, who detected gravitational waves and reported their discovery in February, have been awarded a $3 million Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.
  • The team also includes Indian scientists and researchers.
  • The three founders of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) are Rainer Weiss, emeritus professor of physics at MIT; Kip Thorne, Caltech’s Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, emeritus; and Ronald Drever, emeritus professor of physics at Caltech.

3)   What are gravitational waves?

a. Faint ripples in space time
b. Fourth dimension which is hard to fathom
c. Collision which sends ripples across the universe
d. Both a and b
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

Sound waves may exist but hearing the experience has proved to be unforgettable for physicists worldwide. Gravitational waves were first theorised by Albert Einstein in 1916 as part of the theory of general relativity. These are faint ripples in space time which are a forth dimension. What happens is that when massive yet compact objects such as black holes or neutrons combine through collision, gravity sends ripples across the universe. While the indirect proof of the existence of gravitational waves in 1970s led to the awarding of the 1993 Nobel Prize in physics, this announcement is considered a direct detection of the gravitational wave. Gravitational waves are the soundtrack of the universe and Einstein theorised that scientists would ever be able to hear them. Sensitivity is vital for the LIGO instrument detecting the waves as LIGO detects waves that stretch and squeeze the entire Milky Way galaxy by as little as the width of the thumb.Each LIGO has two giant arms more than 2 miles long which are perpendicular. A laser beam is split and travels both ways bouncing off mirrors to return to the arms' intersection. Gravitational waves stretch the arms to create an incredibly tiny mismatch infinitely smaller than a subatomic particle which is detected by LIGO.

4)   Scientists have detected gravitational waves in fabric of space time predicted by Albert Einstein exactly 100 years ago using LIGO. What does LIGO stand for?

a. Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory
b. Laser Interferometer Gravity-Wave Observatory
c. Laser Interceptor Gravitational-Wave Observatory
d. Light Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory

In a discovery that has been lauded by scientist Stephen Hawking and the scientific world, scientists have detected gravitation waves as the ripples in the fabric of space time predicted by Einstein 100 years ago finally became confirmed. This moment has been likened to the time when Galileo took to the telescope to observe planets. Discovery of these waves formed by violent collisions in the universe opens new ways of observing the cosmos,, specifically its soundtrack. A USD 1.1. billion instrument Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, has been used to detect a gravitational wave from the distant crash of two black holes, one of the ways these ripples are created. This discovery is as big as the finding of the God particle.