Saturday, January 09, 2010

Hunting Oscillation of Muon to Electron?

I'm probably nitpicking here, but the title of this report can cause severe confusion especially to those who are not knowledgeable in this field (meaning, almost everyone reading it).

This is a brief report on the NOvA project that is going along at full speed, thanks in large part due to the recent stimulus bill. There's nothing wrong with the article at all. However, I wish they edit the title a bit. It says:

"Hunting Oscillation of Muon to Electron: Neutrino Data to Flow in 2010; NOvA Scientists Tune Design"

Anyone who doesn't know any better would think that a muon can "oscillate" into an electron, and it can change "sex". This is certainly not the case, or at least, not what NOvA is trying to find. It is the oscillation between the muon NEUTRINO and the electron NEUTRINO that they are trying to look for and pin down more accurately (we already have evidence of neutrino oscillations from several previous experiments).

When writing an article for the public, such seemingly minor confusing point can become a major factor.


1 comment:

Michael said...

Yes, I tend to agree with you. Being plain and direct is great, but not if your text is misleading.