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Scientists should not be crucified for making mistakes

Monday, July 2, 2012


"We expected to have the same host as the neutrino [OPERA] computer [if our results were wrong]," said Brian P. Nobel Schmidt, while the interaction with the media on the second day of the meeting of 62 Nobel laureates in Lindau, Germany, July 1 to July 7. He was referring to his team's work on the expansion of the universe that gave him the Nobel Prize last year.

When Dr. Schmidt obtained the results in early 1998, there was much debate within the team about the accuracy of the result. In 1997, another team working on the same problem you did not get the same result. "We're getting a different result. There was much debate [on publication]. But independent of the other team, we made the decision to publish," he told The Hindu, whilerecalling the atmosphere before the publication of results.

"It seemed too crazy to be right. We were a little scared," he was quoted as saying in the summary provided by the committee of Lindau. After all, the team had hoped to draw a slowdown in the expansion.

"We wanted to keep an open mind. Ultimately, it requires an appropriate test to make a claim," he said. Dr. Schmidt's work in expanding universe is based on observational studies and experimental work as opera (Oscillation Project with Emulsion device monitoring) team.

The Opera team published a paper in September 2011 stating that the neutrinos traveled 60 nanoseconds faster than light. Later it became clear that the calculations were wrong, and that the error was due to faulty wiring.

Two members of the Opera team had to resign because of severe criticism. Dr. Schmidt came out strongly against the scientific community's attitude towards the errors arising from the work actually performed. "Scientists are scathingly critical of each other. The [scientific] community has been very hard for them," he said of his fellow researchers. "Scientists should not be crucified for making mistakes."

With good telescopes, scientists are able to see the atmosphere of the outer planets and deduce the existence of life on these planets. "We are able to detect molecules in the atmosphere of these planets ," he said. "The chemical signatures of these outer planets are very different from what can be detected."

Responding to a question about what these forms of life would be, said: "Even simple bacteria are different from what we expect to see." Thus the search is not restricted in terms of life forms as seen in the earth. "Right now, we're not looking at the carbon-based life, but to all forms," ​​he added.

In response to a question about whether your life has changed after winning the Nobel Prize, he said, "the Nobel Prize has not changed what I do."

But of course, enjoys many advantages. "It has opened many bridges, especially with the government," he said. "The ability to get money [funding] has changed. It's a little easier." However, he stressed that did not change the way their work published. In a broader and more positive, which has been able to raise the problems we all agree.

(This correspondent is one of the two journalists from India participating in the 62 th Meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany, at the invitation of the German Research Foundation, Bonn.)

Keywords: Nobel Laureates in Lindau meeting, Nobel laureates, Brian P. Schmidt, expanding universe
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