Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Did Physicists Failed To Explain Clearly To The Public About The LIGO Discovery?

OK, this came out of left-field, because I didn't read the Nature Physics editorial.

This is a Physics Today comment on an editorial that appeared in Nature Physics regarding the recent LIGO discovery of gravitational wave. In it, the Nature Physics editors seem to indicate that physicists have failed to clearly convey to the public what gravitational wave is and how the discovery was made.

In “a triumph of ingenuity and perseverance,” exulted the thumbnail summary atop a 1 March Nature Physics editorial, physicists “have finally detected gravitational waves.” The summary continued: “And now we need to explain them to the general public.” The editors charged that the public’s response was largely summed up in this Daily Mash satire headline: “Scientists completely fail to explain ‘gravitational waves.’” The editorial declared that physicists “should learn to explain the physics of these spectacular events to non-physicists.”

But that is where things get rather interesting and puzzling at the same time. You see, as the Physics Today comment indicated, there has been NO evidence that physicists have failed to clearly convey this discovery to the public. What Nature Physics editors have used as their "evidence", which is from the Daily Mash, is actually a satirical piece, very much like The Onion here in the US. The Physics Today comment brought up its own evidence on how this discovery has been covered and explained many different times and many different ways by a number of prominent physicists appearing in several media forms.

So, not only did Nature Physics editorial not able cite a single, valid evidence to back their claim, but there are clearly evidence to the contrary! For a "science" journal, this is a serious lapse, because the very basic method of having evidence to support one's claim is fundamental to having a valid idea or conclusion.

I'd like to hear Nature Physics response to this charge.


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