• Chap. 4 cont., The mother of all LIGOs, Washington State and Relativity

    From patdolan@21:1/5 to All on Tue Aug 22 13:54:25 2023
    Attentive readers will recall when we left off last time I and a couple of my chums were headed down the abandon High Cascade Tunnel for a 2.7 mile trek deep into the bowels of the North Cascade Range. The first thing we noticed was the stillness of the
    air in the tunnel. Most abandon railway tunnels in the mountains roar with wind due to the air pressure differences at each portal. But not this one. We gaped at 3 ft stalactites precariously hanging above our heads, formed from calcium calcium
    carbonate leached from the concreted ceiling by 90 years of ground water. Micro droplets of ground water hung in the air of the tunnel and danced hypnotically before our faces in beams of our headlamps. Someone asked if the droplets might contain
    deadly mold spores...we pressed on determine to reach the shores of the underground lake formed by a cave-in at the other end of the tunnel. Our headlamps could only illuminate a few yards in front of us. Even the powerful beam of the Cyclops
    construction spotlight that we brought with us, was swallowed up with in the first quarter mile of the darkness.

    But out of the blackness, the Cyclops began to illuminate something. The closer we approached, the more and more it looked to be a wall blocking our path. Closer still, and a small office door appeared at the extreme right, dwarfed by the height of a
    cider block wall constructed to block off the tunnel. This wall (and a matching wall another mile down the tunnel) was the reason for no tunnel wind and the resulting stalactites.

    Beyond the wall had been build a three foot high, three foot wide shelf into the side of the tunnel with a narrow gauge rail running for a mile to the other wall.

    Turns out that the damed physicists from Washington State University had built a pre-LIGO gravity wave detector (or possibly a latrino detector) back in the 1980s!

    My friend fired a couple of large calibre pistol rounds into the cinderblocks of the far wall, the reverberating echo of which we thought would collapse the tunnel on us, then we went home.

    Now it is on to our final stop and final chapter: The Nobel winning LIGO on the Hanford Nukular reservation....

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