Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Rewarded for Rocking the Boat

As you may have heard, two scientists received the Nobel Prize in Physics for showing that a widely accepted theory had some flaws.

I bring this up because some climate change deniers or evolution deniers say scientists are just following the party line on things like climate and biology. You don't get a Nobel Prize for following the party line: you get a Nobel Prize for making an important discovery.

According to the widely accepted Standard Model of particle physics, neutrinos are mass-less particles, like photons. Despite the predictions of this well-established model, Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald -- working independently -- were able to show that neutrinos behaved in ways that were only possible if they did have mass. They showed that the Standard Model was not entirely correct (although it certainly still does work in most cases).

So the idea that scientists can't get funded or published if their claims contradict the establishment is absurd. Contradicting the establishment is exactly what gets a scientist recognition. The thing is, they have to produce the evidence to show that their contradictory claim is correct.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Halloween videos.

No comments: