It is most unfortunate that both scientists themselves and the popular press discuss black holes (bh) as if they are (a) a scientifically defined object; and, (b) an experimentally observed one.
Rob Sheldon: Hawking did not get the Nobel, however, because he hung his hopes on the radiation emitted by BH–the so-called “Hawking radiation”. And it was never observed. Sabine tries to explain why. But one argument that Sabine doesn’t make, is that Hawking radiation may never have been observed because BH are themselves never observed.
If the two competing ideas are “equally wild,” couldn’t they be equally wrong?
Recently, our physics color commentator Rob Sheldon took issue with the use of the term “half-life” to describe the survival of DNA in fossils. He says the term has a specific meaning with respect to radioactive decay that just does not apply to other events in nature. In the biology paper at issue, with “half-life” Read More…
Sheldon: “As a physicist, I would like to point out that biologists are misusing the word “half-life”. DNA does NOT have a half-life of 521 years. Radioisotopes have a half-life, because the nucleus is unstable to natural decay through the weak force (for isotopes of interest).” He goes on to say that the weak force of the universe “is unaffected by temperature, pressure, time, or chemicals.” Not so for DNA.
Hossenfelder: It’s no secret that I myself am signed up to superdeterminism, which means that the measurement outcome is partly determined by the measurement settings. In this case, the cat may start out in a superposition, but by the time you measure it, it has reached the state which you actually observe. So, there is no sudden collapse in superdeterminism, it’s a smooth, deterministic, and local process.
One suspects that disliking Newton wouldn’t mean embracing widespread innumeracy. But the trend to deplatforming major math and science figures will likely end no other way. Why study what one is taught to despise?
Finding a single particle of dark matter would be a way better explain than any of the theories we’ve heard so far.
This seems to be a rather light piece intellectually but it gives some sense of what the wine bar would be saying about God and science if COVID-19 crazy hadn’t put it out of business: “But God isn’t a valid scientific explanation. The theory of the multiverse, instead, solves the mystery because it allows different universes to have different physical laws. So it’s not surprising that we should happen to see ourselves in one of the few universes that could support life. Of course, you can’t disprove the idea that a God may have created the multiverse.”
Siegel offers an inside look at the details. While the finding is doubtless a success for the scientific method, it must be frustrating for those physicists who need dark matter to exist in order to make cosmology understandable — but can’t find any.
It’s interesting that a science writer sees through the most fundamental materialist rot. Unfortunately, it sounds as though he hopes to replace it with a different one.
Hossenfelder: You can approximate the laws that we know with a computer simulation – we do this all the time – but if that was how nature actually worked, we could see the difference. Indeed, physicists have looked for signs that natural laws really proceed step by step, like in a computer code, but their search has come up empty handed.
At SciAm: Different micro environments in the air dictate the final shape in a way physicists are still trying to understand.
Sheldon: It is curious that the author of this Aeon article has frozen Wheeler at his second stage, neglecting to mention his final conclusion.
A friend now writes to remind us that physics great Max Planck had quite immaterial views on the nature of the universe.