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CERN Lectures on Cosmology and Particle Physics - Comments

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 1 by Cook@Tahiti

At the rate (or lack of) that science is advancing lately, these lectures could remain current for decades.

Wed, 12 Oct 2011 23:23:20 UTC | #880321

Stevezar's Avatar Comment 2 by Stevezar

Comment 1 by Rtambree :

At the rate (or lack of) that science is advancing lately, these lectures could remain current for decades.

I am just 15 minutes in and it is already outdated. The estimate of # of stars he puts up as 100 billion and we now know it is closer to twice that number.

I am not sure why you seem to imply science is advancing slowly now. If you are reading stuff more than a couple of years old, you are reading science history. Science is progressing faster and faster.

Wed, 12 Oct 2011 23:44:44 UTC | #880323

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 3 by Cook@Tahiti

Science is progressing faster and faster.

How many revolutions of understanding have occurred this century? More planets & stars aren't revolutions - that's just "botany".

Where's the relativity & quantum revolutions that we had a century ago? e.g. the age of horse superseded by the age of the car and then the plane and then the jet and then the supersonic jet, and... In the 1960s, the USA started putting people in space. Now it can't. It just shut down it's biggest particle accelerator. What's happening with the Higgs Boson or genomic medicine or artificial Intelligence or understanding of consciousness? We still don't know what 96% of the universe is made of.

All this, despite more R&D dollars and more science PhDs than ever before.

I think it was about the 1970s that the intervals between MAJOR revolutions in science & technological started to become less frequent. The discovery of Dark Energy and the Internet have been the big ones in last 40 years, but compared to the first 40 years of the 20th century, it's not that much.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 00:14:50 UTC | #880325

I Deny's Avatar Comment 4 by I Deny

Comment 1 by Rtambree :

At the rate (or lack of) that science is advancing lately, these lectures could remain current for decades.

Quite to the contrary. The next decade will be comparable to the past century in our gains in knowledge.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 00:15:29 UTC | #880326

I Deny's Avatar Comment 5 by I Deny

Comment 3 by Rtambree :

All this, despite more R&D dollars and more science PhDs than ever before.

Actually science funding is down considerably in the past few decades.

If you don't see the progress of science as sufficient, then maybe you ought to do something about it.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 00:17:05 UTC | #880327

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 6 by Cook@Tahiti

Actually science funding is down considerably in the past few decades.

Not globally. It was preserved at pre-GFC levels, even in the UK.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 00:32:12 UTC | #880329

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 7 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 4 by I Deny :

Quite to the contrary. The next decade will be comparable to the past century in our gains in knowledge.

I hope you're right. But the last 10 years in particular have been disappointing. Nothing much has happened. No new diseases cured. CPUs stuck at about 3GHz for ages. Shuttle retired. Mars missions delayed. Battery life flatlining. Moore's law slowing down. Camera CCD and smartphone update intervals getting longer. Dark matter still dark, like it was 50 years ago. String theory untestable. A to B transit speeds stagnant or slowing. And so on.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 00:38:42 UTC | #880330

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 8 by Atheist Mike

Western economies are going to hell and there's no major conflicts to force us into spending more into futuristic innovations (unlike in the 20th century where there was WW2 and the cold war). I'm sure corporations will continue making minor innovations throughout this century but I don't expect much from government-funded researches.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 00:50:40 UTC | #880332

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 9 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 7 by Rtambree

I hope you're right. But the last 10 years in particular have been disappointing. Nothing much has happened. No new diseases cured. CPUs stuck at about 3GHz for ages. Shuttle retired. Mars missions delayed. Battery life flatlining. Moore's law slowing down. Camera CCD and smartphone update intervals getting longer. Dark matter still dark, like it was 50 years ago. String theory untestable. A to B transit speeds stagnant or slowing. And so on.

What's with all the negative wave Moriarity? What about this stuff for example?.........

Graphene

UK invests in graphene technology

Now that's the sort of thing that sends me into orbit after a session of mind altering...LEGAL....drugs...there is SO much to look forward too....thank you science......and you too CAMRA.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 00:57:08 UTC | #880333

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 10 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 8 by Atheist Mike :

Western economies are going to hell and there's no major conflicts to force us into spending more into futuristic innovations (unlike in the 20th century where there was WW2 and the cold war). I'm sure corporations will continue making minor innovations throughout this century but I don't expect much from government-funded researches.

That may have something to do with it, but Einstein's relativity & the Quantum Revolution were not war-motivated or the result of major government projects. My argument is that we've picked all the low-hanging fruit and that what remains to be discovered it not linear but exponentially more difficult/complex/costly.

Think of travel to the nearest village, town, city, country and the Moon. Suddenly the next step (planets, stars) are orders of magnitude more difficult than going from horse to sail to steam to internal combustion engine. It may be like that for many areas of science.

I don't believe we've come to the end of science. But what remains is far too difficult for us, and that's why the intervals between revolutionary discoveries are getting longer, even if there was a war to aid funding.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:01:58 UTC | #880334

I Deny's Avatar Comment 11 by I Deny

Comment 7 by Rtambree :

Comment 4 by I Deny :

Quite to the contrary. The next decade will be comparable to the past century in our gains in knowledge.

I hope you're right. But the last 10 years in particular have been disappointing. Nothing much has happened. No new diseases cured. CPUs stuck at about 3GHz for ages. Shuttle retired. Mars missions delayed. Battery life flatlining. Moore's law slowing down. Camera CCD and smartphone update intervals getting longer. Dark matter still dark, like it was 50 years ago. String theory untestable. A to B transit speeds stagnant or slowing. And so on.

What about Stem Cells and FMRI?

Your analysis of dark matter research is astoundingly reductionist.

You've been very choosy as to what constitutes acceptable levels of scientific gain.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:03:25 UTC | #880335

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 12 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 9 by Ignorant Amos :

What's with all the negative wave Moriarity? What about this stuff for example?.........

Graphene

So how has graphene changed our lives after >60 years of research? It's taken a decade to get to the stage of making a sliver of fullerene big enough to see with the naked eye. Don't hold your breath.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:06:44 UTC | #880337

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 13 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 8 by Atheist Mike

Western economies are going to hell and there's no major conflicts to force us into spending more into futuristic innovations (unlike in the 20th century where there was WW2 and the cold war). I'm sure corporations will continue making minor innovations throughout this century but I don't expect much from government-funded researches.

You can't be serious Mike......think Kondratiev wave, but I reckon modern conflict has pitched up all sorts of technological pruck and I'm guessing it is a lot of top secret stuff, as was the case with previous conflicts, that only became common knowledge when prudence allowed, in other words, well after the fact, i.e. who knew about the Manhattan Project at the time?

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:11:01 UTC | #880338

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 14 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 11 by I Deny :

What about Stem Cells and FMRI?

Still waiting on Stem Cells research for a major therapeutic breakthrough available to all. A couple of trials are running now for macular degeneration, but could still be years. It's pretty crude - just inject some cells in the part of the body that's lacking and see what happens. Maybe they'll grow the missing part back or maybe they won't. We'll see. I hope we do get a breakthough there.

Yep, fMRI is a great diagnostic tool. We can see what part of the brain lights up when we think about stuff, but has it led us any closer to cracking the 'hard problem' of consciousness?

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:11:52 UTC | #880339

I Deny's Avatar Comment 15 by I Deny

See, once again you've cleverly changed your expectations of science to be, again, reductionist.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:13:23 UTC | #880340

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 16 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 15 by I Deny :

See, once again you've changed your expectations of science to be, again, reductionist.

Dark matter remains dark. What's so controversial about that? Do you know what it is? If so, publish, and a Nobel Prize is yours. No one else knows what it is. Ditto with Dark Energy.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:18:27 UTC | #880341

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 17 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 12 by Rtambree

So how has graphene changed our lives after >60 years of research? It's taken a decade to get to the stage of making a sliver of fullerene big enough to see with the naked eye. Don't hold your breath.

Nothing yet, but hey, why be defeatist. I remember being one of the first with a mobile phone, one that could fit in yer pocket that is, the Sony CH333 "Mars Bar" and it cost £365 with a tariff that was so extortionate that ya didn't dare call anyone.....now everyone has a mobile phone, rich or poor.

I'm not holding my breath on anything, but personal comms when I was a boy was the stuff of Star Trek, now reality leaves the personal comms of Star Trek for dead....am only saying.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:20:21 UTC | #880342

I Deny's Avatar Comment 18 by I Deny

So it's just unacceptable that we don't understand it[Dark Matter]? I don't quite follow your position anymore.

When I coax it into interacting with light, I'll be sure to call you first.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:21:09 UTC | #880343

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 19 by Cook@Tahiti

I'm not holding my breath on anything, but personal comms when I was a boy was the stuff of Star Trek, now reality leaves the personal comms of Star Trek for dead....am only saying.

I wouldn't go that far. In Star Trek you could hail an orbiting spaceship with your communicator. They never seemed to run out of power (today's smartphones barely last an afternoon).

Yeah, mobiles are great, no argument. Bell Labs in the 1960s did a lot of the heavy lifting for the fundamental research. I'm not sure that much was done this century. We can call each other on the go instead of going to a phone booth - whether that's REVOLUTIONARY or not...

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:25:35 UTC | #880344

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 20 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 18 by I Deny :

So it's just unacceptable that we don't understand it[Dark Matter]? I don't quite follow your position anymore.

We've known about the problem of Dark Matter for many decades and despite the millions (billions?) in research dollars over those decades, we still don't know. It's not a question of acceptable or unacceptable - I'm merely suggesting that the pace of scientific discovery has slowed from what it was a century ago.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:28:59 UTC | #880345

I Deny's Avatar Comment 21 by I Deny

Comment 20 by Rtambree :

Comment 18 by I Deny :

So it's just unacceptable that we don't understand it[Dark Matter]? I don't quite follow your position anymore.

We've known about the problem of Dark Matter for many decades and despite the millions (billions?) in research dollars over those decades, we still don't know. It's not a question of acceptable or unacceptable - I'm merely suggesting that the pace of scientific discovery has slowed from what it was a century ago.

What is "the problem of dark matter" specifically?

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:30:17 UTC | #880346

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 22 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 21 by I Deny :

What is "the problem of dark matter" specifically?

Quite simply what it is? If it's some type of subatomic particle, then what are the various properties (mass, spin, etc) of that particle and where does it fit into the standard model? Perhaps it's not a particle? We don't know. If not, what's causing the anomaly in galactic rotation and what accounts for all that lensing?

As Feynman said, simply calling it a name (i.e. Dark Matter) doesn't answer anything. The name 'Dark Matter' is just a placeholder what something we don't know. Same as Dark Energy.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:34:57 UTC | #880347

I Deny's Avatar Comment 23 by I Deny

Comment 22 by Rtambree :

Comment 21 by I Deny :

What is "the problem of dark matter" specifically?

Quite simply what it is? If it's some type of subatomic particle, then what are the various properties (mass, spin, etc) of that particle and where does it fit into the standard model? Perhaps it's not a particle? We don't know. If not, what's causing the anomaly in galactic rotation and what accounts for all that lensing?

Now there is a reasonable question.

Do you deem the question unanswerable, or are you simply dying to know just like all of us? ;)

Your assertion that scientific progress is slowing, or plateauing, is based on specific questions rather than looking at the progress as a whole. If we somehow managed to clearly observe dark matter before next year, would your position as a whole change?

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:37:48 UTC | #880348

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 24 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 23 by I Deny :

Do you deem the question unanswerable, or are you simply dying to know just like all of us? ;)

I'd like very much to know. As I've said in the above posts, I'd like there to be breakthroughs in stem cell research and a million other POTENTIAL areas of research, but liking something is very different to thinking we'll have it shortly.

In some areas we've actually regressed e.g. manned space travel and supersonic passenger transport. Then there's standard of living: working hours are higher, commute times longer, can one average income-earner pay for a house like he could 50 years ago?

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:44:23 UTC | #880351

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 25 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 23 by I Deny :

Your assertion that scientific progress is slowing, or plateauing, is based on specific questions rather than looking at the progress as a whole. If we somehow managed to clearly observe dark matter before next year, would your position as a whole change?

Well I gave at least a dozen examples to support my argument that the pace of scientific discovery is slowing down, while you didn't give any to support your argument, that science was speeding up. If we cracked the mystery of dark matter tomorrow, that would be great and one of the first (if not THE first) major discovery this century.

How many years of stagnation would have to pass before you would change your mind?

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:48:25 UTC | #880352

I Deny's Avatar Comment 26 by I Deny

Comment 24 by Rtambree :

Comment 23 by I Deny :

Do you deem the question unanswerable, or are you simply dying to know just like all of us? ;)

I'd like very much to know. As I've said in the above posts, I'd like there to be breakthroughs in stem cell research and a million other POTENTIAL areas of research, but liking something is very different to thinking we'll have it shortly.

In some areas we've actually regressed e.g. manned space travel and supersonic passenger transport. Then there's standard of living: working hours are higher, commute times longer, can one average income-earner pay for a house like he could 50 years ago?

You have again put personal expectations of scientists and political issues in the same basket. Regress in space flight and transportation has to do with political and economic issues more than anything else. It's hard to argue that it's the science that's holding us back from further space exploration.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:49:47 UTC | #880353

I Deny's Avatar Comment 27 by I Deny

Comment 25 by Rtambree :

Comment 23 by I Deny :

Your assertion that scientific progress is slowing, or plateauing, is based on specific questions rather than looking at the progress as a whole. If we somehow managed to clearly observe dark matter before next year, would your position as a whole change?

Well I gave at least a dozen examples to support my argument that the pace of scientific discovery is slowing down, while you didn't give any to support your argument, that science was speeding up. If we cracked the mystery of dark matter tomorrow, that would be great and one of the first (if not THE first) major discovery this century.

How many years of stagnation would have to pass before you would change your mind?

I have not asserted that scientific progress is speeding up, you have asserted the contrary. You haven't showed "slows" in science, you've simply chosen issues of great interest and attested to your displeasure. You've chosen words like "stagnation" to describe the work of scientists in the past century. That's an extraordinary claim.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:54:13 UTC | #880355

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 28 by Cook@Tahiti

Comment 26 by I Deny :

You have again put personal expectations of scientists and political issues in the same basket. Regress in space flight and transportation has to do with political and economic issues more than anything else. It's hard to argue that it's the science that's holding us back from further space exploration.

Yes, to an extent, I agree it's political i.e. to do with cost. Bush did want to return to the Moon, but didn't want to spend any extra money on it. But it's also to do with science: if there were breakthroughs with fusion or solar or scramjets or engineering lightweight metallurgy or some other exotic fuel or energy source and the cost of travel would come down, then the political decisions would be easier.

I'm not saying it's scientists' fault. I'm saying all the low-hanging fruit has been picked and the science that remains is getting exponentially harder.

Einstein was able to solve several fundamental problems alone in his spare time while holding down a full time office job. Now you need industrial scale facilities like CERN and that take 20 years to build and thousands of scientists/engineers and billions of dollars, and they still can't find anything. The problems are just so much harder, therefore the pace of discovery is slowing, not accelerating.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:56:32 UTC | #880356

Stevezar's Avatar Comment 29 by Stevezar

Well to bring some quantitative results into the discussion, check out the graph in the article:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7ef3097e-09da-11df-8b23-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1acePbD9K

Note the upward spike in publications. This is matched elsewhere by an upward spike in patent grants.

The world is just getting smarter, faster. This should not come as a huge, heart-attack inducing shock to anyone, what with the arrival of a global marketplace of ideas and communication (internet), faster and faster computers, etc.

Rtambree, I think you are just getting emotional because you said the lectures could remain current for decades, and I found a 100% error inside of 15 minutes. Science is evolving faster, learn from it and move on.

Watched Cosmos recently? Hardly an episode goes by without possibility of revisions, and even Sagan's update could use a revision here and there. And this was general science for lay people!

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:57:41 UTC | #880357

I Deny's Avatar Comment 30 by I Deny

Comment 28 by Rtambree :

Comment 26 by I Deny :

You have again put personal expectations of scientists and political issues in the same basket. Regress in space flight and transportation has to do with political and economic issues more than anything else. It's hard to argue that it's the science that's holding us back from further space exploration.

Yes, to an extent, I agree it's political i.e. to do with cost. Bush did want to return to the Moon, but didn't want to spend any extra money on it. But it's also to do with science: if there were breakthroughs with fusion or solar or scramjets or engineering lightweight metallurgy or some other exotic fuel or energy source and the cost of travel would come down, then the political decisions would be easier.

I'm not saying it's scientists' fault. I'm saying all the low-hanging fruit has been picked and the science that remains is getting exponentially harder.

Einstein was able to solve several fundamental problems alone in his spare time while holding down a full time office job. Now you need industrial scale facilities like CERN and that take 20 years to build and thousands of scientists/engineers and billions of dollars, and they still can't find anything. The problems are just so much harder, therefore the pace of discovery is slowing, not accelerating.

Assume that's the case, more difficult experiments do not necessarily equate to less progress.

Thu, 13 Oct 2011 01:58:58 UTC | #880358