Posts Tagged ‘the Onion

13
Aug
10

LHC Update

From the physics blags, here’s a great post from John at Cosmic Variance, bringing you up to speed. Things get a little difficult at points, but I think it would still be a fun post to read, if you’re interested.

This past weekend the LHC crossed a major threshold: 1 inverse picobarn delivered to the experiments – a factor of a thousand more collisions. By late next year we are all hoping to have recorded another factor of a thousand, for a total of 1 inverse femtobarn.

In an earlier post I explained these funny units, inverse whatever-barns. The point here, though, is that as we record exponentially greater numbers of collision events, with the proton beam energy 3.5 times greater than that at the Tevatron at Fermilab we will begin to really probe an unexplored mass scale in the search for new particles. What lies there is completely unknown.

Also. I love the Onion, as you should too. Here’s an awesome article — “Scientists Ask Congress to Fund $50 Billion Science Thing” — from 2007 that I thiiiink is referring to the Superconducting Super Collider (sadest story every told).

12
Apr
10

Intelligent Falling: “The man’s a genius; he could disprove gravity.”

And thank you for smoking.

Now check out this Onion article:

Scientists from the Evangelical Center For Faith-Based Reasoning are now asserting that the long-held “theory of gravity” is flawed, and they have responded to it with a new theory of Intelligent Falling.

Belief is a tricky thing, especially when it comes to science.

Journalists will often write about a physicist’s pet model by starting with “Professor So-and-So believes that…,” as if Professor So-and-So goes to bed at night thinking of ways to explain to the world why his/her model is right and everyone else is wrong.

That’s not how science is done, not even speculative science.

That’s from an excellent blog post from US/LHC about scientific theories, beliefs, and the value of a good idea. Indeed, one of the many things I love about science is the constant prevalence of doubt. A true scientist won’t really believe anything to be irrefutably true because… well… every good theory is possibly refutable — it could be proven wrong one day. In fact, even the great General Relativity is still being tested again and again in every circumstance one can think of, just to see if we can catch it with its pants down. And if we do…? Well, that would be flippin’ fantastic! It would mean that there’s more science to be done! More to learn, think about, and discover. And we like that.




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