Pay no attention to the coffee room logo. It really happened, as follows, related in New Statesman:
The story of the search for gravitational waves is ostensibly a grandiose tale, involving billions of light-years of space, decades of preparation, and multimillion-dollar instruments: interferometers that stretch for kilometres but must be sensitive to billionths of a billionth of one metre. In Levin’s hands, however, the story shrinks to a human scale. She has delivered a compelling and haunting account of the flawed and flailing souls who were pulled together by the hope of finding gravitational waves but who, like the black holes they were trying to detect, destroyed each other in the process.
The first casualty is Joseph Weber, the pioneer of gravitational wave detection. He was ousted from the endeavour after becoming so desperate to find the waves that he abandoned scientific caution and restraint. Embarrassed colleagues distanced themselves; Weber became so isolated that when he slipped on ice in front of the gravity research building in Maryland, two days passed before he was found. He never recovered: eight months later, he was dead. More.
Note: The column, by Michael Brooks, is a review of Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space by theoretical physicist Janna Levin, which sounds worth a read.
See also: Big Bang exterminator wanted, will train (The stakes are in theoretical physics are higher than many realize; hence the weirdness.)
Blueprint for science without evidence Dawid: Scientists could support their hypotheses, like the multiverse—without actually finding physical support.
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