DailyDirt: Crackpots Versus Real Scientists
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Over a hundred years ago, Albert Einstein published what would become his theory of special relativity, and since then, there have been quite a few experiments that support Einstein's ideas. That's the way science usually works. A
theory hypothesis is proposed, and if it's deemed worthy enough, other people will actually try to test out the theory hypothesis and see if its predictions can be verified (and every worthy theory hypothesis needs to be able to predict something that isn't already known). As non-traditional scientific publishing becomes easier and more popular, though, the signal-to-noise for interesting ideas can get a bit difficult to discern. Luckily, there are still some folks willing to bear the burden of debunking extraordinary claims from an endless stream of nearly-good ideas.
- Vinay Deolalikar posted his "proof" that P!=NP a few years ago, but it didn't quite stand up to the scrutiny of some mathematicians -- and you, too, can dismiss an extraordinary proof by watching out for a few telltale signs. It's hard to refute everyone who claims to have a P!=NP proof, but there's a roadmap for how to avoid wasting other mathematicians' valuable time. [url]
- A. Garrett Lisi has a grand unifying theory of the universe, but maybe he should stick to surfing. Lisi's TEDtalk is amazingly devoid of physics, but the Large Hadron Collider may have the final say about whether "E8" provides any unique insights on the universe. [url]
- In 2012, Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki posted 500+ pages (on the internet!) that "might" prove the ABC Conjecture. Mochizuki refuses to discuss his proof, and so far, no one else has really been able to tell him he's wrong. [url]