Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Why is this scientist tweeting rumors of the discovery of gravitational waves? He certainly knows the protocol that one's work needs to be vetted before it is considered sound. However, even respected physicists can breach the process in an attempt to be first to report a discovery. In this case, the scientist is not the discoverer but the rumor-monger who must be creating tension and anger among the physicists conducting the experiment. If waves have been detected, it will be the physics triumph of the year, if not the decade. Scientists have been trying to detect them since Einstein postulated their existence, but the waves are so weak they have evaded discovery. There is no guarantee that this time physicists were successful in spotting them and the experimenters are not talking. It is poor form and mendacious for an outsider to speculate on another's work, but one must deal with it even in science.