Saturday, April 1, 2017

Hubble Trouble (1)

Hubble, from the University of Chicago, observed for the first time in 1929 that galaxies are flying away from us. Many candles later, the constant attributed to his name, is still being refined. Now, it appears that there is a revision to the constant, perhaps as much as 8% downward. This is not the first time physicists realized that they are yet to understand how things work. Complexity typically portends lack of understanding and the current state of affairs in high energy physics, albeit data emanating from big steel in Geneva like water from a faulty fire hydrant, is stagnant. Physicists and engineers are a dangerous combination, the former dreaming up complexity and the latter standing ready to prove anything thrown at them by steel and concrete. But this is unlikely to lead anywhere. It appears that one does have to have 1.5 brains to break out of the stalemate - and we have not had a specimen for 100 years and it is unclear if we will ever do.

Predicting the behavior of complex non-linear systems is dangerous. Making uncertain observations and attempting to prove those by creating dark stuff is even more dangerous, for this will lead the next generation down rabbit holes to the wonderland. Hanging mirrors to measure reverberations to the diameter of a proton, indeed, is a great accomplishment. But one has to note that engineers have always been good at proving hypotheses but replicability could be more challenging. The best way to proceed when one cannot understand over 94% of the observations is to ask if the underlying theories are correct. That's what we do in most fields.

As they revise the Hubble constant, perhaps, it is time to rethink how research is done in high energy Physics.