## Biggest recent mistakes in physics or any science.

Another great blunder in 2010 was committed by Walter Wagner.
He filed a lawsuit against CERN to stop the LHC from starting up.
He claimed the particle accelerator constituted a "credible threat of harm".
This is a joke to anyone who has ever seen cosmic rays in a bubble chamber.
http://www.physorg.com/news203573289.html
 Mentor Gokul, if you read the Wu article in PRL, you will discover that immediately after that paper there is a paper by Garwin, Lederman and someone I am blanking on that also discovered parity violation. So while I can't tell for sure if this was a hot topic in 1957, the fact that two groups published simultaneously using very different techniques suggests that it was maybe not so simple as "nobody wanted to do the experiment".
 Not a mistake but I have heard there were errors in Feynman's Lectures or at least I heard the latest edition either updated or corrected some content. This isn'tr science per se and but writing and of course that would open the flood gates for inaccuracies just based on typoes etc.. which is not what I'm referring to in this thread. Would the Lectures still have solid valuable information for a physics student or are they considered archaic? Thanks, W
 Blog Entries: 9 Recognitions: Gold Member The Lectures are classic IMO; I have the New Millennium Edition. (My physics professor also recommended it when I asked her.)
 Mentor I don't know if falling for fraud would count as the kind of mistake the OP is thinking of, but that autism-vaccine hoax was a terrible black eye for the medical research community, IMO.
 Blog Entries: 3 the idea that we were going to cure obesity and heart disease by making everything "lo-fat"
 The failure of our science educational system. The attitude of the Scopes monkey trial, for instance, continues with the chosen ignorance of over half of our country. It isn't belief in an alternative to science that is the problem, it is intolerance to objectivity from fear. Over half of all college students in the U.S. fail to graduate.

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 Quote by Loren Booda Over half of all college students in the U.S. fail to graduate.
Is it really that bad? (I'm assuming the statistic is for all majors, and not just STEM...)

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 Quote by Vanadium 50 Gokul, if you read the Wu article in PRL, you will discover that immediately after that paper there is a paper by Garwin, Lederman and someone I am blanking on that also discovered parity violation. So while I can't tell for sure if this was a hot topic in 1957, the fact that two groups published simultaneously using very different techniques suggests that it was maybe not so simple as "nobody wanted to do the experiment".
Yup, it's the very next article.

(some of this may be a little bit off, but the general order of events, I think, is correct) Lederman et al, were Wu's colleagues at Columbia (though she performed her experiment at NIST). She told them of her preliminary results as soon as they came out, and Lederman et al immediately performed an independent verification. While they were doing that, Wu was repeating\testing to make sure she hadn't been looking at instrumental artifacts. I think Lederman et al even had a paper ready before Wu, but waited for her to submit first. This is purely a guess, but I'm not sure they'd have been as easily convinced to give it a shot if someone else hadn't tried it first.

Edit: Here's a more accurate recounting - http://ccreweb.org/documents/parity/...ml#Madame%20Wu

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 Quote by Whalstib Not a mistake but I have heard there were errors in Feynman's Lectures or at least I heard the latest edition either updated or corrected some content. This isn'tr science per se and but writing and of course that would open the flood gates for inaccuracies just based on typoes etc.. which is not what I'm referring to in this thread. Would the Lectures still have solid valuable information for a physics student or are they considered archaic? Thanks, W
I've used them almost as a textbook. Do you have more details on what errors were corrected?

Edit: Nevermind. I think I just found them. Will take a look. http://www.feynmanlectures.info/flp_errata.html

 Quote by Whalstib Any ideas? I was prompted as I found a very nice 1970 50th Ed. of the CRC Chemistry and Physics Handbook for \$1 today!
I have a 1934 edition. What to compare figures?

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 Quote by Cleonis As ryan_m_b mentions, molecular genetics has been particularly rich in surprises. Before the human genome project estimates of the number of genes in the human genome ranged from 50,000 to 100,000 genes. Findings from the human genome project indicate there are somewhere in between 20, 000 and 25,000 genes. A very large percentage of human DNA (and DNA of related creatures) consists of long repetitive sequences, that have long been regarded as superfluous DNA. It was thought of as a result of overdiligent copying of DNA,or whatever. It was often referred to as 'junk DNA'. However, the genome projects show that many parts of this DNA material are highly conserved over the course of evolution. Similar stretches of DNA are found in the mouse genome. And as far as we know: structures that are highly conserved over the course of evolution are very important structures. So while the function of the long repetitive sequences is still unknown, the evidence suggest it shouldn't be viewed as 'junk DNA'.
Yet another surprise was that there are three times as many proteins as there are genes! Thanks to post transcriptional and post translational modification.
One small correction though 'Junk DNA' isnt a proper term in genetics, it might sometimes be used colloquially but it's not a proper term. Even long stretches of conserved DNA don't necessarily point to function, as far as we know the large majority of the genome serves 'no' function.

NB: by no function i mean no function of contributing to gene expression, it may still have important structural functions etc

 Quote by ryan_m_b Yet another surprise was that there are three times as many proteins as there are genes! Thanks to post transcriptional and post translational modification. One small correction though 'Junk DNA' isnt a proper term in genetics, it might sometimes be used colloquially but it's not a proper term. Even long stretches of conserved DNA don't necessarily point to function, as far as we know the large majority of the genome serves 'no' function. NB: by no function i mean no function of contributing to gene expression, it may still have important structural functions etc
Well, while you're correcting the fellow/lass, maybe mention "intron" and "exon"?

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 Quote by nismaratwork Well, while you're correcting the fellow/lass, maybe mention "intron" and "exon"?
Certainly.

The genome is divided into "Introns" and "Exons". Exons are the part of DNA that actually codes for genes, introns sit in the middle not coding. When a gene is expressed the whole sequence is transcribed into RNA. The introns are then 'sliced' from the RNA leaving just the coding section, this RNA (called messenger RNA) binds with other RNA called Ribosomes, these read the mRNA and build proteins.

Example

deaeg3w4yr r3qtibos3t5ome ple32455ase mareht5ke soge46me pr35bot875ein

This is the DNA, it's faithfully transcribed to RNA which then has the introns removed

dea--(eg3w4y)--r r--(3qt)--ibos--(3t5)--ome ple--(32455)--ase ma--(reht5)--ke so--(ge46)--me pr--(35b)--ot--(875)--ein

to become...

dear ribosome please make some protein

 Quote by ryan_m_b Certainly. The genome is divided into "Introns" and "Exons". Exons are the part of DNA that actually codes for genes, introns sit in the middle not coding. When a gene is expressed the whole sequence is transcribed into RNA. The introns are then 'sliced' from the RNA leaving just the coding section, this RNA (called messenger RNA) binds with other RNA called Ribosomes, these read the mRNA and build proteins. Example deaeg3w4yr r3qtibos3t5ome ple32455ase mareht5ke soge46me pr35bot875ein This is the DNA, it's faithfully transcribed to RNA which then has the introns removed dea--(eg3w4y)--r r--(3qt)--ibos--(3t5)--ome ple--(32455)--ase ma--(reht5)--ke so--(ge46)--me pr--(35b)--ot--(875)--ein to become... dear ribosome please make some protein
re: bolding:

Heh... thanks Ryan_m_b, artfully said!

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 Quote by Phrak I have a 1934 edition. What to compare figures?
Yeah, compare the masses of the three pions $\pi^{0}$, $\pi^{+}$, and $\pi^{-}$