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An apology and thoughts on the cost of experimental cosmology

  1. Jan 9, 2008 #1


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    My posts have been rude i am just annoyed that all though i have learnt a lot about cosmology i have learnt nothing that matters, you guys spend years of hard work
    doing things only you can, i wish you had a bigger budget to work with, so that theory
    could be tested, i know you would like more (tests), but i think the non scientific community
    has been let down or are getting bored with thing like ST and all the way out there stuff, may be that has filtered through to the money givers ,can the GP be optimistic about future
    cosmology, i have my doubts in the present political climate.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 9, 2008 #2


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    While the old saying that what we do not know is much greater than what we do is true, I think there is plenty to celebrate in regards to what we have managed to discover in cosmology, particularly in the last few decades (from COBE onwards).

    There are plenty of things we are yet to discover, and much of what we currently think may well be overturned in the future but I think you're being far to pessimistic about the current state and future prospects of cosmology.

    I'd like to think I know a reasonable amount about cosmology, yet there is much more to learn about what we've discovered already, let alone what is yet to be known. I'm sure there are many more things you could learn as well.

    It doesn't have to all be about the most fundamental issues (what is dark energy etc), we know amazing things about the growth and development of galaxies, stars, black holes etc etc all of which are very interesting and beautiful results in there own right. I wouldn't get down about the fact the some of the real fundamental question are proving difficult nuts to crack.
  4. Jan 9, 2008 #3


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    I must have missed some. You are reliably skeptical and often take the trouble to ask really probing questions. And sometimes I get a horselaugh. But I didn't see anything rude.

    You mean the UK budget cuts of physics and astronomy? Is that the political climate you mean?

    Or the rise of fundamentalist Christian/Islamic authoritarianism? what political climate are you talking about? there is a lot of terrible trends in politics. Maybe you mean a slight anti-science drift in politics?

    Anyway Wolram, you are NOT forgiven, there is nothing to forgive. IMHO. Also I sympathize with your impatience---wanting answers from cosmology. It is natural to feel frustrated.

    The more optimism one has, the more impatient one gets, and the more frustrated.

    There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about cosmology. Hence a lot of excitement and impatience.

    Progress in observational astronomy is more rapid than it has ever been in human history by any measure I can think of and it is still accelerating.

    there are more countries that want a piece of the astronomy action (besides just Europe and the US)

    more of the spectrum (from radio to infrared to visible to gammaray) being observed

    more different kinds of information from a wider range of latitudes and with greater sensitivity.

    uncovering huge questions----leading to increasingly bold conjectures----which are then challenged with increasing amounts of data. what other field has this much action or momentum going for it?

    I'm sure you will point out all the things we DON'T know :biggrin:
    but that's the point.
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