Intriguing

Discussion in 'Science' started by garyd, Jun 20, 2018.

  1. garyd

    garyd Well-Known Member

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    https://aeon.co/essays/has-the-quest-for-top-down-unification-of-physics-stalled The long and short of it is that the discovery of the Higgs Boson does not seem to have taken them where they thought it would. A very interesting read from a guy who not only understands the science but is able to talk about it in terms that don't make one's eyes glaze over and your mind grow numb.What's it all mean at this point your guess is as good as mine. It seems to me however that science at the edges has once again slapped us right square in the hubris.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
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  2. WillReadmore

    WillReadmore Well-Known Member

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    Slapped in the Hubris? No, I don't believe that's even slightly true.

    Physicists know that the current model of physics has serious problems. They state that ALL THE TIME.

    So they keep pushing to find out where the mistakes are. But, the experiments keep confirming the model they know to have problems - which they find highly disappointing.

    You can not call that hubris.
     
  3. tecoyah

    tecoyah Well-Known Member

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    Very few expected the Higgs Boson to remedy the massive complexity revolving around fundamental aspects of particle physics and those few that did are now complaining that they were incorrect.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
  4. garyd

    garyd Well-Known Member

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    The HUbris part sir was when they thought as the article made clear that they could just jump straight there. Now it is clear that it's going to take a lot longer and be a lot slower process.
     
  5. garyd

    garyd Well-Known Member

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    That would be the point. And let's not forget the few got all the publicity. For what ever reason we seem to live in an age where outrageous claims often trump reality in the 24 hour news cycle.
     
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  6. WillReadmore

    WillReadmore Well-Known Member

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    That's just plain silly.

    Obviously they hoped that the CERN facility would yield insights. ALL investigations involve the hope that the investigation will cause advances in knowledge.

    Suggesting that everyone who explores is guilty of "hubris" is just not acceptable.
     
  7. WillReadmore

    WillReadmore Well-Known Member

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    The publicity surrounding Higgs was very well deserved.

    Higgs fields were predicted by those who study physics through math - those who are theoretical physicists who do not follow experimental procedure.

    The result obtained by experimentalists, who follow scientific method, confirmed the the hypotheses created by the pure theorists.

    That's a big deal.

    Yes, there were those who hoped to find more, especially as the power of the collider is massively increased. But, there is nothing untoward about that. The same happens in EVERY field. They find ways to extract ancient air samples from ice cores, visit the bottom of the deepest oceans, build more powerful telescopes, etc., etc. We're constantly improving the power of the tools used by scientists in the hope that more will become known.

    Now, you come along and suggest human investigation of our universe is hubris.

    I see NO justification for that.
     
  8. garyd

    garyd Well-Known Member

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    Not what I am suggesting at all. What I am suggesting is that the Top down approach as the author talks about was an exercise in Hubris. In fact it was little more than an attempt to find a short cut around the usual scientific method, and attempt to prejudge the evidence as it were. And like most such exercises it failed and deservedly so. And no I'm not suggesting that we need to stop doing research on the topic, merely that we do it the old fashioned way collect the evidence first and then formulate the hypothesis and test it.
     
  9. garyd

    garyd Well-Known Member

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    Again that isn't what I'm talking about. My problem is the approach, I have a problem with the method not the search for knowledge in and of itself.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  10. WillReadmore

    WillReadmore Well-Known Member

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    OK, I think I see the problem.

    The largest and most complex machine ever built by humans, the CERN collider, was created BECAUSE of the Higgs hypothesis. Requirements for gathering data that would affirm or disprove that hypothesis were the design criteria for that machine.

    That is exactly how experimental science is intended to work.

    An hypothesis is formed. Data pertaining to that hypothesis is gathered.


    The rest of the story is that particle physicists hoped they would see evidence that would lead to other hypotheses. That's not hubris. Again, that is exactly how experimental science works.
     
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  11. garyd

    garyd Well-Known Member

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    Read the damn article more carefully. Cern would have been built with or without the Higgs hypothesis. And in fact there was more than a year of use and good data out of the thing before the Higgs bosun was found. IN fact we have long suspected that there were more and smaller particles in the atom even before the HIggs hypothesis, on that basis alone Cern was worth building. We now seem to have found some more. We are now trying to figure out their significance as well as rethinking what the Higgs is and what it means. Prior to finding it there were a lot of people telling us what it would be and what it would at least some people got the cart considerably ahead of the horse.
     
  12. WillReadmore

    WillReadmore Well-Known Member

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    The reason for the delay between the first operation and the Higgs discovery had to do with factors such as gradually increasing the power of the new machine, ensuring data capture was working, etc., etc.
    OK, but those were still the source of specification for the machine. Creating this machine was not some random, hubris-inspired accident.

    I agree there were lots of claims, especially by those doing science reporting. And, there certainly were scientists who stated what they thought would be found. Again, that's not hubris, nor is it cart before the horse. It's fully standard practice to form hypotheses where people think they know the answer, but have not verified it through rigorous experimentation, repetition, review, etc.

    I just don't see any rational complaint here.

    Was it hubris for Einstein to postulate that so much of physics was dead wrong before there were experimental results from testing his hypothesis???
     
  13. garyd

    garyd Well-Known Member

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    Dude to guess the result in advance is most certainly putting the cart before the horse. And no better than most of those guesses were they'd go broke if they were gamblers. The smart, not to mention the scientific play, is to wait until you have the data before you start talking about what it means or it's implications, to be sure that won't get you any headlines in the pseudo science periodicals or main stream press but it will prevent you from washing all that egg off your face. By the way and probably for the 3rd time, Cern is a tool there is nothing of hubris about. It is the best tool ever designed for the study of subatomic particles.

    As for Einstein the math backed him up and even he missed the implications of quantum mechanics.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  14. WillReadmore

    WillReadmore Well-Known Member

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    Let's remember that an hypothesis IS a tentative and testable answer to a question of how something works.

    Scientists talk about the implications of various possible results ALL THE TIME. That's a needed activity that helps lead toward identifying the hypotheses that can be tested and will have significance.

    I think the problem at the root here has to do with science reporting. Reporters, even science reporters reporting on science, make large mistakes all the time.
     
  15. garyd

    garyd Well-Known Member

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    You need at least some data to create a working hypothesis. You don'y just get to pull crap out of your ass and call it a hypothesis.
     
  16. WillReadmore

    WillReadmore Well-Known Member

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    I picked Einstein, because the math backed him up.

    Remember that the math backed up Higgs, who was a theoretical physicist - not an experimentalist.
     
  17. WillReadmore

    WillReadmore Well-Known Member

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    You ABSOLUTELY DO get to pull crap out of your ass and call it an hypothesis - as long as it is a statement about how you think something works and is testable.

    Statements about "god did it" are not hypotheses, because there is no possibility of testing them.

    Of course if I pull something out of MY ass, it's not very likely that anyone will treat it so seriously that it will get tested - lol!
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  18. garyd

    garyd Well-Known Member

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    And Higgs had data to back him up. The dudes trying to predict the meaning had nothing but guess work.
     
  19. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Well-Known Member

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    And you are absolutely correct. I have talked with many physicists who thought the standard model was essentially complete. In fact, now that I think about it, they've been saying that for about as long as I can remember!

    Well, they thought they had a model that worked. But that's why they run experiments - science doing what science does.

    If I had to bet, I'd bet there is a lot we don't know yet. There are so many holes and so many that are fundamental. Reading the article made me think of the epicycles of Mars. Something is fundamentally wrong. It seems that they are plugging holes as fast as they can but they keep springing leaks.

    The good news: I'm also betting that it gets a lot more interesting!

    To me, perhaps the most interesting question is whether the universe is elegant, or is it messy and filled with millions of rules? I must admit my bias here - I expect elegance from nature. We see it on so many levels. One would think it would permeate reality to the core. But maybe not. Maybe reality is a nightmarish witches brew of particles that will never make any real sense to us.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  20. garyd

    garyd Well-Known Member

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    Why are you bringing God into this? I certainly didn't. And those dudes did pull crap out of their ass and the media did take it seriously.
     

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