Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

An Astoundingly BAD Physics News Report

  1. Jun 9, 2012 #1


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    CNN has dropped to a new low in terms of very bad science news reporting. This news report is so bad, and has so many factual errors in it, one simply should not pay any attention to it completely.


    Note that even the topic is glaringly wrong. Saying that x-ray might replace a laser implies that these are two different things. A "laser" is simply a coherent beam of EM radiation. X-ray is an EM radiation. This means that X-ray isn't excluded from becoming a laser. And that is what has been accomplished at SLAC's LCLS - an x-ray laser!

    If you want to read a better coverage of this work, read this:


    Moral of the story: never pay any attention to science reports out of CNN from now on.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 9, 2012 #2
  4. Jun 9, 2012 #3
    Well, historically "light" has referred to the visible portion of the EM spectrum, radio waves, x-rays etc... historically weren't referred to as light. I personally use the word "light" to be synonymous with "electromagnetic radiation" but even today I see some people (including physicists, typically not in America though) make that distinction.

    That article however, is appalling. Even ignoring the terrible physics, the grammar and structure reads what a 6th grader might right for a class report.
  5. Jun 9, 2012 #4
    Didn't CNN actually fire their dedicated science correspondents a few years back?

    Ah yes, here we go: http://www.ajc.com/services/content/business/stories/2008/12/04/cnn.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  6. Jun 9, 2012 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Yup, they did. One of the comments posted also mentioned this.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. Jun 9, 2012 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I thought the little insect that represented either an atom or a photon (it wasn't clear which) was hilarious. My gosh it is shameful that this kind of awful article is (1) written and (2) allowed into print on a so-called reputable news source.
  8. Jun 9, 2012 #7
    I don't really see a problem with this. It says "Laser beam may one day replace X-rays." They're referring to the traditional x-ray process of having your bones photographed. Technically, you're still getting x-rayed, but with a laser instead of the traditional way.
  9. Jun 9, 2012 #8
    If they added something like "for medical imaging of bones" after the title I think would be more correct or at least less wrong.
  10. Jun 9, 2012 #9


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

  11. Jun 9, 2012 #10


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    But "x-ray" doesn't just refer to medical procedure, i.e. it is not a verb.

    This is still a report on a science result. It should be accurate.

  12. Jun 9, 2012 #11
    oh dear :3
  13. Jun 12, 2012 #12
    I think you guys are being too kind with all of the other billion errors like the following paragraph

    "Based on the hypothosesis of Dr. Tenio Popmintchev, researchers have created a laser beam by adding 5,000 photons together. Previously, two photons were typically used to create laser beams. This is the first time so many photons have been successfully added together."

    Who-ever wrote this clearly doesn't know how a LASER works. Can anybody name a LASER, a real LASER, that only uses 2 photons, i can't think of one.

    Laser Physicist
  14. Jun 12, 2012 #13
    According to the National Science Foundation one in five Americans still believes the sun revolves around the earth. That's not something caused by bad mass media coverage, but it does give some idea of what qualifies these days as a "reputable" news source.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Threads for Astoundingly Physics News Date
I "met" a physics Nobel Prize winner yesterday Apr 9, 2018
Holiday trip for physics student Mar 17, 2018
Astounding: 1+2+3+4+5+ = [not infinity] Jan 13, 2014
Any Analog(Formerly Astounding) Readers? Nov 30, 2010
Astounding Moon Footage Sep 4, 2003