News Briefs 20-04-2012

"Science asymptotically approaches reality."

With thanks to RPG, RMG and GT!

Quote of the Day:

“I am using the word theory as a scientist means it: a set of ideas so well established by observations and physical models that it is essentially indistinguishable from fact. That is different from the colloquial use that means "guess." To a scientist, you can bet your life on a theory. Remember, gravity is "just a theory" too.”

Philip C. Plait


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alanborky's picture
Member since:
29 January 2009
Last activity:
3 years 25 weeks

The Phil Plait quote apparently confuses two things: observations and theories.

Gravity as a "set of ideas...well established by observations and physical models" is indeed so well established you could indeed pretty much bet your life on it (though it still has so many anomalous glitches particularly on the cosmic scale of things it requires dark matter and dark energy to explain many of them away).

The current theory of gravity though depends on the graviton and if he'd staked his life on it being found any time during the last several decades he'd've lost it.

It may still be a few decades off before it's worth his while risking staking his life on the graviton - but by then a newer and better theory may've come along to explain why the graviton could never've really existed in the first place (or why its existence or otherwise is actually irrelevent).

Nostradamus's picture
Member since:
1 May 2004
Last activity:
21 hours 7 min

According to this report, Pioneer 10 is accellerating towards the sun... I always thought it was heading out of the Solar System, in other words, away from the sun.

Or have I totally misread or misunderstood the report and mission?