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"How far back would it set us.....?" Topic


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299 hits since 31 May 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2017 7:49 a.m. PST

Another Quora question some may be interested in:

How far back would it set us if it turned out that the Higgs Boson never existed?

"I'll let you in on a secret:

Most physicists were secretly hoping that the LHC either didn't find the Higg's Boson, or found something completely different!

Why?

Because the Higg's being there means we were right all along. Yay. Our models hold up.

Huh. Kinda exciting I guess. Nice to be shown that we were right.

But imagine if it hadn't been found or if something really weird had happened!

We'd need entirely new physics! The world doesn't act like we think it does instead there's something new, something to be explored, to be learned and explained at the razor's edge of knowledge!

Being right is boring being wrong means that the universe is a whole lot weirder than we thought it was.

So it wouldn't "set us back", instead it would catapult us into an entire new paradigm of physics, since we'd need something else to explain why the universe works.

Physicists are never happier than when there's something they don't understand, but really want to. Being right deprived us of that until we find another big problem (dark matter?)"

link

I think this shows an interesting precarious balance between having a firm grasp of what is going on and finding that the Universe is much stranger than we thought. While I agree that being right is duller than being wrong, being right provides some form of foundation on which to build our knowledge base. I don't think we will run out of mysteries and currently inexplicable phenomena any time real soon.

For instance assume we found a fossilized modern rabbit amongst fossils of dinosaurs. That would totally overturn evolution as we know it and would require a total rethink of how biodiversity occurred on Earth. Personally, I would hope a bunny fossil not be found in this case as a LOT of work has to be thrown out and restarted. While the scientists may like that, I'd be less happy.

Waco Joe01 Jun 2017 8:35 a.m. PST

As long as they don't go down the social sciences road and start making stuff up just to get published. grin

Personal logo Great War Ace Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2017 11:57 a.m. PST

Making stuff up would never fly more than a few feet and then crash against the wall of "show me". If you can't show it, it won't fly.

We already have religion enough to "make things up". Science can't ever go there because it is like oil to water. Science can never become religion. As soon as you start asserting and using circular "logic" you've stopped pursuing science.

I do believe that the universe, existence itself, is infinitely vast and contains things that we will never discover, no matter how long we explore. There is no reason to think that being right is boring. It is always only the merest beginning of a thing. If we feel like we've hit a wall and there is nothing left to discover, we are truly failing in the use of our imaginations. We need to think bigger………..

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2017 12:02 p.m. PST

I always thought Higgs Boson was played by Sidney Greenstreet in a noir classic.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2017 1:42 p.m. PST

Incorrect, Winston. That was Bosun Higgs from the
1940 spy thriller, 'Don Winslow and the Japanese
Cabal'. Spoiler alert: the B'osun did it.

On a less playful note, I also believe there are
many things yet to explore/discover/etc. Lots of
??'s in the biosciences to research and gain
insights into.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2017 1:54 p.m. PST

So this isn't about a remake of Boson Buddies? :)

Dan

Ghecko01 Jun 2017 10:01 p.m. PST

For instance assume we found a fossilized modern rabbit amongst fossils of dinosaurs. That would totally overturn evolution as we know it and would require a total rethink of how biodiversity occurred on Earth. Personally, I would hope a bunny fossil not be found in this case as a LOT of work has to be thrown out and restarted.

No it wouldn't… and no it hasn't.

JSchutt02 Jun 2017 1:24 a.m. PST

When I encounter long hypothetical "intellectual" ponderings that apparently serve little purpose I can't help but think it is equivalent to the song my 3 year old sings at Library Toddler Time…. "Shake Your Sillies Out." A similar cathartic moment in every sense of the word.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP02 Jun 2017 2:00 a.m. PST

No it wouldn't… and no it hasn't.

Care to expand on this?

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