Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Scientists: What A Bunch of Weirdos

Yesterday was a big day in the world of Science, and by big, I mean huge. It was the day for the Higgs Boson announcement.
So, okay, um, pretend my finger is gravity, and, um, my other finger is, er, a battleship... wait

If you’re not sure why that might be a big deal then let me explain. Some scientists in the physics community have hated Einstein for years, decades even. They have worked as hard as possible to help disprove his theories of special and general relativity and in the past few months, have taken it to a new level.

Yes, those feeble minds have been taking it on faith that he is wrong, and have been thinking that way since the thirties. Why? Well for the obvious reason is that if his theories are correct, then quantum theory has to be wrong… of course the great paradox of modern physics is that both theories have been shown to be correct to the extent of our abilities to test them. However, they contradict one another.

First, the anti-Einsteinians fabricated that giant hubbub about FTL neutrinos. Now a race is underway to duplicate the results of the experiments that turned out those bizarre results. All I have to say about that is, if correct, that would also invalidate quantum theory as well. So don’t expect those new results to confirm the old

So, what did those bastards do next? They had to have this big press conference yesterday where they went on and on about finding the Higgs boson. What is that? Well, it’s quantum theory’s lame attempt to explain the existence of gravity. It isn’t a curvature of spacetime like what Einstein described, oh no, it’s these little force carriers (hence the term, boson) that gives all matter in the universe its mass.
Einstein also debated physics with Richard Nixon... and maybe smoked a lot of pot

I know, stupid, right?

Anyway, this big conference is held, most of the world’s scientific media is there for the announcement that they found it. The Higgs is real! The Higgs is real! They start discussing all their results and finally the lower the bombshell… they have found the Higgs Boson.

Maybe. Well, actually, no, they haven’t found a thing, but you know, it might be there.

Because really, they aren’t sure, they need another year to see. So that’s it, that is the big announcement. A big whomping maybe. I think those relativity deniers need to go back to the drawing board and come up with something good and quit trying to make up whatever comes to mind and announcing it as a big fact. I mean, the press conference ended with a standing ovation for crying out loud… They didn’t find out anything new!*

Here is my attempt at reproducing a similarly absurd press conference in another setting.

“Thank you for coming, I’m sure you’re all eagerly awaiting the results of a great discovery in our Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence. As you know, we’ve been looking for signs of radio signals from the stars that show signs of non-human intelligence in the wider universe. Today, I’m pleased to announce that we’ve had a surprising and thrilling result in our search.”

<insert 40 minutes of history of SETI, lots of charts, graphs and technical data>

“Today, we stand before you, my team and I, and proudly announce that we can finally say with a high degree of certainty, that if there are intelligent beings living on plant Gliese 22b, then we can’t find them. Thank you, have a nice day.”

Big whoop.

Sigh. I hope everyone understands that the above is all tongue in cheek. Finding the Higgs boson would actually be a pretty big deal. It isn’t called the ‘God particle’ for nothing**. If there is ever a hope for artificial gravity, real artificial gravity, not the kind that is contingent on centripetal force, then it would come from manipulating the Higgs field, er, that’s the magical theoretical field that allows the bosons to work.

So, I love my science, but I’ve never been a huge fan of quantum theory where it overlaps with relativity, it’s very inelegant and doesn’t offer a lot of insight. So I’m honestly not sure what to make of this should it turn out to be true.

Sorry Einstein, the world is against you.

Yes they did
**Yes it is.


Tonja said...

NO!!! My science nerd husband is going to be fixated on this for a week - he's going to have my three year old talking about it.

Grumpy Bulldog, Secret Agent said...

I have they found metachlorines yet? Because I want to be able to lift rocks with my mind. Get on it, science!

Nancy said...

Yeah, I was always taught that until you proved it, everything was just a hypothosis and those usually aren't ground breaking.

Gail said...

I, the ostrich, try to keep my head in the sand and not view the breaking news.

It leaks in anyway and I am always disappointed.

Jay Noel said...

I just want a working hoverboard. Like the one in Back to the Future II.

That's all I ask.

Michael Offutt, Supra-Genius said...

On a quantum level, the universe and reality itself becomes so weird that I cannot fathom what's going on.

Briane P said...

I don't know how tongue-in-cheek your dislike of the Higgs Boson is; my own dislike of it is legend. Or at least blogging:

I'm with you on the spirit of this. When I read that this morning, my first thought was what I tweeted:

"Scientists try to avoid real work by announcing they have nothing, really, to announce, 'but maybe, someday, we will!'"

I hate to always be so skeptical of science, but so much of it sounds like "We don't know, so we're going to make something up."

My post that I provided the link to shows the absurdity of what scientists say about these things.

Slate had a good article about science journalism and how it needs some rules to actually make sense. A nice beginning would be "call us when you've found something."

Laila Knight said...

LOL. I find most scientist entertaining because it's all a guessing game. Anyone willing to try to disprove the excellence of Einstein is an idiot. The man not only had knowledge, he had depth and love for the world around him. :)

Oh, I almost forgot why I stopped by.

1. I'm loving your story, very original.

2. Merry Christmas! I'll be gone till next year. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Briane is right - they just like to announce they are close. Or working on it. Or have more theories.
I'll just file the whole quantum theory - Higgs boson thing under "Questions for the Big Guy when I finally meet him." Probably next to the 'Newton's law of butter side up on linoleum and jelly side down on carpet' question.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Briane is right - they just like to announce they are close. Or working on it. Or officially don't have an answer.
I'm filing the whole quantum theory - Higgs bosom thing away under 'Things I'm going to ask the Big Guy when I meet him.' Right next to 'Newton's law of butter side up on linoleum and jelly side down on carpet.'

Andrew said...

The problem with science, at least at this level, is that it takes money. If they want money, they have to make people believe they're doing something. Not that they're not doing anything, but if they're not constantly announcing "we've found it!" people believe they're not doing anything.

Here's my example of science in action:
Back in the 60s, a bunch of paleontologists got together, possibly with some other science people, to discuss why the dinosaurs became extinct. This is, after all, an important question to answer. After hours of debate, they hadn't come to any conclusions. At some point, some guy stood up and said, rather dramatically, I imagine, "Wait! What if a big meteor hit Earth and killed them all?" You have to understand that this was one of those "dumb ideas" that only pops up when people are grasping at straws because they can't come up with any legitimate answers.
At any rate, a reporter that was in attendance thought that sounded cool, and ran it as a story: Scientist Says Dinosaurs Destroyed By Meteor.
People today accept this as fact for the reason that dinosaurs died, and people have been trying to prove it for decades even though it was nothing more than a last ditch idea because everyone was tired.
In fact, most paleontologists today will tell you that there is almost no way that a meteor strike can account for the extinction of the dinosaurs, but people still believe it.

The story above has been altered to my liking although the core of it is true.

Cindy said...

I don't know why science is that way. It's like every little thing that might be a discovery they have to report it.