News & AnalysisPhysics

Gravity-Wave Observatory Debates Fake-Data Tests

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Science  15 Mar 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6125, pp. 1260
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6125.1260

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After researchers had spent months checking and rechecking their analysis of a signal seen by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory and spent hundreds of hours writing a discovery paper, it was revealed that the data was a well-intentioned hoax—a blind injection. While the bogus signal had left them better prepared to make a real detection in the future, did it go too far? That question—and how future blind injections should be conducted—will be discussed next week when researchers from the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and their counterparts at the Virgo gravitational wave detector in Italy meet to prepare for the next phase of the search for gravitational waves.