“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.” -Boris Pasternak
When it comes to theoretical physics, you might realize the entire point is to set up a framework to predict what phenomena are going to occur in the Universe. So if you rewind the clock back to very early times, set up the initial conditions and apply those laws, you would expect to get our Universe out, if we've gotten things correct.
And if we don't have things figured out properly? We'll start observing objects that we didn't correctly predict. But does that mean that the laws of nature, the fundamental particles therein or even our overarching theories are wrong? Perhaps, but that isn't the most likely explanation.
"The dusty galaxy is just one of the recent surprises astronomers have found. "Last week," says Marrone, "we learned of an incredibly massive black hole in the early universe. Now we have this average galaxy with significant amounts of dust. We've had this cartoon picture of the early universe, but it's clear that we really don't know what's going on.""
Very nice apologetic (in the technical sense!) for scientific conservatism! Also known as Ockham's Razor, of course -- don't go multiplying hypotheses unless you really need to.
We have something roughly similar going on in particle physics, right now. Instead of successfully observing tetraquarks, pentaquarks, or glueballs, as predicted by the standard quark model, we've got a whole family of "X, Y, Z" particles, all sitting around the charm-anticharm resonances, but with weird and unexpected quantum numbers.
New physics? Well, a few theorists and experimentalists say so, but I rather doubt it. I strongly suspect (as do most of the participants) that these particles are going to turn out to be either "pseudoparticles" -- interference effects among the several particle channels which turn on near 4 GeV -- or subtle, but perfectly standard consequences of heavy quark interactions.
Science progresses by explaining new anomalies.
@ Michael Kelsey
The first two lines:
Very nice apologetic (in the technical sense!) for scientific conservatism! Also known as Ockham’s Razor, of course — don’t go multiplying hypotheses unless you really need to.
Are quite fine.
But then you continue (and this is where you lost me):
New physics? Well, a few theorists and experimentalists say so, but I rather doubt it. I strongly suspect (as do most of the participants) that these particles are going to turn out to be either “pseudoparticles”
What are they?
— interference effects among the several particle channels which turn on near 4 GeV — or subtle, but perfectly standard consequences of heavy quark interactions.
Where did this 4 GeV value come from?
What are they?
Well, he DID give a few examples of what pseudoparticles and resonances are.
And there's google/bing/whatever if you wanted a fuller answer.
What if new observed realities can't be explained by the existing model/theory?
Would real scientists still hold to the obviously inadequate model/theory, simply because they don't yet have something better to replace it?
@Alan L #4: Sorry :-) The technical term you want to look up is "coupled channel model." The particular particle-physics situation we're dealing with is, for example, e+/e- collisions near the energy needed to produce a particular quark-antiquark pair, in this case charm-anticharm, which happens at 3.097 GeV (the J/psi resonance).
At higher energy, around 3.8 GeV and up, you can produce pairs of D-antiD mesons in the collisions. But there are several excited states of D mesons, D*, D_1, D**, and more.
The different possible states which you can produce in these collisions overlap in mass, and that overlap leads to quantum interference effects. If you plot the rate of collision events vs. energy, those interference effects can look quite similar to the resonance shapes of new particles. It can be very tricky to disentangle such effects, if you're not careful.
"What if new observed realities can’t be explained by the existing model/theory?"
They'd look to change the theory.
They wouldn't throw up their metaphorical hands and go "Damn it! Maybe God exists!".
Aether, elemental theory, biblical creation, all theories dropped because they could not support the evidence.
Why do you ask the question when the answer has been known for centuries and should have been taught to you in school?
"Why do you ask the question when the answer has been known for centuries and should have been taught to you in school?"
SN failed the educational system and became a creationist.
Don't be too hard on see nowt, the parents failed, because they insisted that their faith was more important than the education of their child. And the school system failed to break the indoctrination of see nowt as a child.
And the result is posting with no point or understanding on a science blog because they fear knowledge now.
To Wow #8:
Me: “What if new observed realities can’t be explained by the existing model/theory?”
You: “They’d look to change the theory… Aether, elemental theory, biblical creation, all theories DROPPED because they could not support the evidence.”
Perhaps I’m not up-to-date. Has the scientific community DROPPED the Big Bang Theory? If not, why not?
To dean #9:
“SN [See Noevo] failed the educational system and became a creationist.”
Everyone can make mistakes. Even Villanova undergrad and Cornell grad.
"Has the scientific community DROPPED the Big Bang Theory?"
No, it's still there.
"If not, why not?"
Because the Big Bang theory now is not the same big bang theory it was before.
Here's something a creationist nut like yourself doesn't understand: science changes its mind, but doesn't stop being science.
Whereas your faith if it changes its mind becomes apostasy or heresy, and therefore no longer a genuine faith, but the mythology of hell-bound sinners.
A HUGE difference.
To Wow #10:
"Don’t be too hard on [See Noevo], the parents failed, because they insisted that their faith was more important than the education of their child. And the school system failed to break the indoctrination of ]See Noevo] as a child.”
Actually, I don’t recall my parents telling me anything about science vis-à-vis religion, and the school system may have been quite successful in breaking whatever indoctrination I had as a child.
You see, I was born and raised Catholic (and I suppose creationist), but came to accept evolution in my teens, left Catholicism and became agnostic/atheistic by my late teens/early twenties, came back to Christianity in my mid-thirties, came back to Catholicism my late thirties, rejected evolution in my mid-to-late forties.
Now I’m in my late fifties. And more than ever, I think that one day evolution will be revealed to all to be perhaps the greatest embarrassment and shame in the histories of science and of rational thought.
And another piece of fiction.
Anyone care to trawl around for see nowt's first dozen posts to indicate that they're NOT an honest broker here.
Mind you, see nowt indicates the same errant zeal that ex-smokers have when berating people about how bad it is to smoke.
Religion had ALWAYS seemed no more or less than the stories in the ladybird books about Cinderella or Puss-in-Boots. Of course, the childs bible I had available evicted most of the Adult (Mature Audiences, frequent and graphic violence and sexual references) bible contained.
But someone who believes that there is a princess who was made to stay at home while her sisters went to a ball is fine. No problem with that, believe it really happened all you like.
When you insist that this means anything that shows it to be a fairytale is wrong and that it shouldn't be taught or talked about, then we have problems.
When you use it to kill people, we're well past problems.
If you have faith that evolution will be shown to be wrong, then feel free.
Stop pissing on a science blog. You won't be making your dream come true doing this. Wait for the vindication.
"Even Villanova undergrad and Cornell grad."
As has been pointed out, the administrators of those institutions cringe every time you mention it. They'd take your degrees back if they could. How much did you cheat to get them (unless they are in religion - they give those away as long as the check clears.)
I doubt they had anyone called "See Noevo" on their roll.
We only have see nowt's word they were ever there other than in a hygienic maintenance capacity.
Stumbled on your blog that was cited at RealClearScience. Saw the Ask Ethan site and I will be submitting a question I’ve been banging away all over the internet trying to get answered. I’m a non-scientist who follows science like non-athletes follow sports.
I like that science tells me what we don’t know as well as what we do know. To me, dark matter and energy and the expanding universe are theories not facts. What we observe that makes us concoct these theories are facts, but we could be totally or mostly wrong or they are good theories that need a little tweaking.
A 1,000 years or so ago, earth centric universe was the accepted theory for existence. And while their theory of the universe was way wrong, their calculations of the position of objects in the observable sky were fairly accurate in several civilizations all over the world. Even the five stars that seemed to wonder the sky nonetheless had a pattern that could be calculated and predicted over time.
However, as wrong as the earth centric theorist were, they got the moon right. It does indeed orbit the earth. Let us hope our current theories on dark matter and energy, the big bang, the standard model and that nagging gravity problem between particle and relativistic physics proves to have a higher success percentage than just getting the moon right.
To me, dark matter and energy and the expanding universe are theories not facts. What we observe that makes us concoct these theories are facts...
Correct, that's what they are.
However, as wrong as the earth centric theorist were, they got the moon right. It does indeed orbit the earth.
And they probably agreed that water was wet too.
Do we credit them for that? Really. It doesn't make any sense.
Tell me, when we changed from a force-led perspective of gravitation to a spacetimecurvature perspective, did that make the Newtonian system "as wrong as a flat Earth" wrong, or not?
There's wrong and there's "Not even wrong". Trying to equate the two merely belittles those who are trying to learn, or striving to find out.