The Internet is full of the discovery of gravitational waves. The technology and the phenomenon is fascinating, but I find it’s human side equally interesting.

Measuring gravitational waves needs very presice measurements. A lot of things can give false positives; most of the work was done to set up different sensors to discard these. When the sensors detect a supposed gravitational wave, thousands of people start to analyze it. It takes months to make sure it’s really a discovery and not just an elephant stumped nearby.

These tedious process requires a lot of people. Leading scientist don’t want to give out information early, they want to wait for the indisputable facts. So they introduced a trick.

There are three people who can insert artificial data into the system. Then only after the analyses are done, people check whether they were working on injected or real data. Since people can not be sure whether a discovery is imminent or not, they are less likely to divulge it. Also if they did, no one would take them seriously.

Despite they failed this time, the idea is ingenious. Instead of trusting a lot of people, they make them untrustworthy for the pries.

It often needs just a little trick to make miracles in human collaboration.