LIGO Project coming to India, Prime Minister signs MoU with US

LIGO Project coming to India, Prime Minister signs MoU with US

On Thursday, India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States which confirms that the South Asian nation will be a part of the terrestrial Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) project. It means India is going to join the hunt for Albert Einstein's gravitational waves.

In February, LIGO researchers announced that they have detected gravitational waves for the first time since their discovery about a century ago. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time. In a website release, the LIGO stated that Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity in 1915 was true.

The new agreement between India and the US has been signed Thursday, during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US. Mr. Modi is in the country for the Nuclear Security Summit. He announced that India will soon have a LIGO observatory.

Indian Prime Minister is excited about Indian researchers’ contribution in gravitational wave hunt. On February 11, after the detection of gravitational waves was announced, Mr. Modi said, “Historic detection of gravitational waves opens up new frontier for understanding of universe. Hope to move forward to make even bigger contribution with an advanced gravitational wave detector in the country”.

India’s External Ministry Spokesman Vikas Swarup confirmed the new agreement and said that the country will be part of the LIGO project. He also said that India will be central part of it due to geography.

There are reports that the Indian cabinet has even approved Rs. 12,000 crore for the new project.

It’s a project that has the potential to generate curiosity among many young people and may lead to a generation of young scientists who want to invent new things, said Swarup in a press release on Thursday.

In a report published by the India, "In February this year, scientists observed ripples in the fabric of space-time called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe."

"This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein`s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos," the LIGO website states.

According to a report in Discovery by Irene Klotz, "The United States signed a new partner to expand the search for gravitational waves, ripples in the interwoven fabric of space and time set off by the motions of massive objects, like merging black holes."

A century after gravitational waves were proposed by Albert Einstein, confirmation of their existence came in February from the National Science Foundation's Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).

"Prime Minister described the LIGO project as a great example of India-US scientific collaboration and said the success of this project could well inspire an entire young generation of Indian scientists. He urged the Indian scientists who are part of the LIGO project to interact with Indian students and visit Indian universities, as much as possible. The Cabinet, he said, has already approved USD1200 crores for the project," according to a news report published by DNA India.

"Now that India has decided to be part of the project, the possibility is that India would be central to the LIGO project, partly on account of the fact that geography favors us," External Ministry Spokesman Vikas Swarup told reporters. "It would come up hopefully in the next five to seven years," Swarup said.

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