mercredi 24 août 2016

The seven pillars of (heuristical) wisdom

... it helps to recall the definition of an expert as a man who knows all the mistakes possible in his field*. Our whole problem is to make the mistakes as fast as possible- my part- and recognize them** -your part! Can a unifying concept in one field be applied in another? Let me call on a septet of sibyls to say yes if they will.
Sayings of the seven sibyls
(1) The Unknown is Knowable
(2) Advance by Trial and Error 
(3) Measurement and Theory are Inseparable
(4) Analogy Gives Insight
(5) New Truth Connects with Old Truth
(6) Complementarity Guards against Contradiction
(7) Great Consequences Spring from Lowly Sources
 John Archibald Wheeler

* Approximate quote possibly attributable to Niels Bohr, the real one being "An expert is a person who has found out by his own painful experience all the mistakes that one can make in a very narrow field" according to Edward Teller.

Addendum on August 25, 2016:
Fluctuat [et,nec] mergitur
This post is dedicated to the whole community of physicists at LHC and is also a continuation of my comment on the blog Resonaance about the huge amount of research articles devoted to the now notorious excess of events at invariant mass around 750 GeV in pp → γγ collisions, first reported [1a, 1b] in the preliminary 2015 LHC data collected at 13 TeV and later fading away in the new 2016 LHC data [2a, 2b].

**For why it can be difficult to admit mistakes some psychologists have explained with the theory of cognitive dissonance.  

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