I wish I had a T-shirt like the one at right below that I made up.
I already hate the Higgs Boson and I’m not even sure it exists. Neither are the scientists who today reported they might have discovered it to much fanfare.
Oh my god that is so exciting, right?
I’m a biologist through and through so it is with some head shaking that I see two recent events in the field of Physics that reveal how that field has reached a low point.
It is very ironic.
You see Biology and Physics are supposed to be very different types of science in the sense that Physics is way better. Physics is alleged to be somehow a more real type of science. A harder, more quantitative science.
Biology is often characterized by Physicists and Chemists as squishy, prone to irregularities, but it is Physics of late that is giving itself the image of having quite a number of headline-chasing pseudo-scientists.
First, there was the debacle over the supposed evidence of faster-than-light particles refuting Dr. Einstein….except that was all an embarrassing mistake due to a loose power cord. How humiliating, yet before the mistake was discovered this dubious discovery made international headlines.
A black eye for physics.
Now, there is Higgs Hysteria.
Physicists report that they might have found the elusive Higgs Boson.
Except maybe they didn’t. Or maybe they discovered it last year. Or maybe they’ll never discover it because it doesn’t exist. Even if it does exist, it may not be so exciting after all.
Nonetheless we see international headlines about it talking about “The God Particle” and “changing our fundamental understanding of the universe”.
Big words based on unclear data.
Perhaps Physics now has two black eyes.
The Higgs article in the NY Times quotes CERN Director Rolf-Dieter Heuer “I think we have it” (meaning the Higgs Boson).
Sounds definitive, huh?
Reportedly Heuer was hyping up a crowd of cheering folks during the announcement. Sounds more like a political event or a movie premier than something related to science, right?
The NY Times article goes on to make this astonishingly unscientific statement: “If scientists are lucky, the discovery could lead to a new understanding of how the universe began.”
The NY Times article only later quotes Heuer that actually despite all this hyperventilating it is actually “too soon to know for sure whether the new particle….is an impostor”.
Sure sounds like hard science to me. Uh, no. Yikes.
Many of today’s physicists seem intent upon making headlines in contrast to the older generations that were focused on….well….the science.
Meanwhile Biology as a field strives to become ever more quantitative and rigorous. Of course Biology has its share of hype, but lately Physics takes the cake.