Despite this science blogger’s protestations that he’s had a bad day at the office this is a brilliant example of how science should be done.
This is worth a read as you don’t really need to understand any physics to understand the process of what happened here
He did an experiment; was clear about his method and possible errors; published his work; and when he became aware of errors in his work he corrected them and republished his results.
The world of politics could learn a lot from this approach!
An expert is a someone who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.
Some time ago – together with colleagues at NPL and SUERC – I made a very accurate estimate of the Boltzmann constant.
The Boltzmann constant is the number that specifies how much energy particles have at a particular temperature. It provides a numerical link between thermal and mechanical energy.
The work took 6 years of my life, and possibly took six years offmy life!
But at the start of February, at an international conference in Germany on the value of Fundamental Constants I had to admit that our estimate was wrong. And wrong by more than the margin of error that we had anticipated.
I have been feeling terrible about this all month.
I am aware that there are lots of reasons
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