What can we learn from the detection of Einstein’s gravitational waves

Yesterday, February 11, 2016, a group of scientists named as LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) announced that they had detected gravitational wave that has been predicted by Einstein 100 years ago. I foresee this discovery will lead to a Nobel prize in 2016!

Einstein Gravitational Wave Laboratory at UTM

Coincidentally, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) used to have a Gravitational Wave Laboratory as the backbone of Ibnu Sina Institute for Fundamental Science Studies, UTM. On June 14, 1997, UTM has received detector to detect gravitational waves, that is, a 100-m DL laser interferometer (Tenko-100), which was awarded as a grant by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences (ISAS), Japan.

Below are some explanations of the discovery:

http://news.mit.edu/2016/ligo-first-detection-gravitational-waves-0211

“LIGO research is carried out by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), a group of some 950 scientists at universities around the United States, including MIT, and in 15 other countries. The LIGO Observatories are operated by MIT and Caltech. The instruments were first explored as a means to detect gravitational waves in the 1970s by Weiss, who along with Kip Thorne and Ronald Drever from Caltech proposed LIGO in the 1980s.

This has been 20 years of work, and for some of us, even more,” Evans says. “It’s been a long time working on these detectors, without seeing anything. So it’s a real sea change and an interesting psychological change for the whole collaboration.”

So, what can we learn from this discovery:

  • Good research requires times
  • Impact of research, not impact factor for publication!
  • Appreciate that fundamental research requires critical mass
  • Research teams provide critique exchange of ideas, promote competition, and foster humility
  • Research teams are incubators of “idea-multipliers”
  • Superior researchers are intellectual “masochists”
  • They must accept the most new ideas to dead-ends
  • They must learn to accept failure, yet persevere to keep trying over-and-over
  • They live for the rare thrill of a “breakthrough”
  • Prolonged periods of personal time are required to “think deeply”
  • High-quality research cannot be done in one`s “spare time”
  • Intense concentration and “well-being” are essential

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