Friday, June 8, 2012

From redefining the nature of physics to a janky watch: The disappointment inherent in resolving anomolous data.

So, finally, according to this article from Scientific American, the explanation for the potentially world shaking apparent observation of neutrinos traveling through space faster than light, is of the mundane variety which we all felt was certainly most  probable. Namely, a faulty element in the experiment's fiber-optic timing system.
However, even though the data turned out to be a dud, good can come out of this and situations like this. Between the period that the anomaly was reported and the explanation confirmed all of us who are fascinated by the possibilities began to think "What if?" And that simple question, that basic thought experiment is a potential motivator of advancement and innovation with more potential energy than any single super collision might utilize.
It is the core of science to see something that intrigues you and try to explain it asking yourself what if this? what if that? and through empirical research we gather data to help us to determine which what if is. Even in its failures science succeeds, even in its disappointments science inspires.