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Jamahl Peavey

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The Science Reporter: Who is ultimately responsible for reporting significant findings to the public?

Are science reporters like other reporters? Reporters are suppose to be objective and independently investigate stories that are of public interest. They are generally proactive and go after the story rather than having the story come to them. They are also knowledgable enough to present the dynamics and content of a story to the public. Who is ultimately responsible for reporting significant scientific findings to the public when science reporters are unable to act as other reporters?

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  • Feb 5 2013: The question is very clear. The large scale scientific frauds were committed by individuals, research teams and institutions that had gone though the peer review process. You are under the assumption that everyone is peer-reviewed who is published in a peer reviewed journal. A professor at MIT, Harvard, Princeton and the other elite universities are not evaluated the same way as other individuals, research teams and institutions. The brand name is enough to clear the peer review hurdle. The hurdle is actually for everyone else. Repeating an experiment is not practical if the experiments are expensive. Who is going to check the LHC by repeating an experiment independently?

    I am not asking who is responsible for explaining science to the public! That is a very general question that usually leads to insulting the public's intelligence. The public knows how to define significant.

    Maybe science reporters don't act like reporters because they are not treated like reporters. When media cuts budgets the science reporters are the first to go.

    If science reporters are not trained scientist, maybe they should be and employed to investigate research where public funds are being used. Make you think twice about taking public money in the form of grants.
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      Feb 5 2013: Do you have evidence for your claim that submissions by scientists from elite institutions are not subjected to serious peer review?

      Are there not several thousand people from hundreds of institutions checking the LHC data?

      It sounds like there is some serious scientific result you think is being suppressed. If so, what is it?

      Or is your issue that too many scientists are still willing to consider the possibility that string theory might be correct or might become testable?
      • Feb 6 2013: Read this article Fritzie:

        http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/12/25/u-s-scientists-top-research-fraud-list-how-concerned-should/

        This is just research where data is involved imagine where there is not real data to be manipulated. This does take place if there is real peer-review process. In the article, the Chief Editor cited trust in how papers are peer reviewed. It is easy to trust someone from an elite university.

        The LHC data is no different. It really comes down to trust. It is not the number of institutions but do these institutions work independently. Fermi Lab and the LHC use the same scientist.

        Suppression and research fraud occurs when there is a financial incentive to do so. There is enough financial incentive in big science to commit fraud and manipulate data so it is done. It all comes down to grants or public money.

        What is valid in science is not determined by the hopes and dreams of one or one million scientist. It is validated by experiment. We don't have to wait for String Theory to be tested. Once the correct, answer is presented to the public String Theory is finished. They were finished when they failed to describe the strong force 40 years ago. They'll just move on to a strong theory of medicine. They're survivors, that's what they do. It's a form of intellectual fraud.
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      Feb 6 2013: I have read the study from which that was reported and did some follow up research into the numbers. That revealed that the amount of fraud was actually miniscule and consisted largely of multiple papers from a single lab. This is precisely where popular writing related to science goes wrong. If you don't dig more deeply you get entirely the wrong impression.

      Many real scientists doubt for a variety of reasons that string theory is correct and many think too many resources are used for those theorists. This is quite distinct from the LHC, which is not established to test string theory but to go beyond the standard model.

      You wrote that Fermilab and the LHC use the same scientist, which I know is a typo. There are thousands of scientists involved from hundreds of institutions. The schools work separately on the data and then post results for common review to the other schools in the experiment to which they are assigned.

      There are two separate experiments and no communication of results between the two until a couple of days before status reports go public.

      These processes are all about a giant amount of cross checking of results generated independently.

      This information about their process is surely available on the website for the LHC. I do not know about Fermilab.
      In terms of how peer review works for journals, papers are reviewed by multiple people in the field, who remain anonymous to the person who wrote the article. Integrity is a big deal in science.
      Do you have recent training in physics or work in physics? You refered to a theory that has been suppressed. What might that be.
      • Feb 6 2013: The biggest frauds have little to do with what this study is addressing.
        When a researcher puts his/her name on an article that he/she had little or no participation in then that's fraud. How can a person have partial authorship on 25 papers in one year?

        When a science journal's advisory board is stacked with individuals who are associated with one or two institutions. What is the chances they will reject research from their institution for publication or individuals who share a common research goal. Once published they simply cite each others work. Increased citations inflate the impact factor. That increases readership and revenue. The public is paying to read work they funded. Come on.

        CERN was developed mainly to bring researchers back to Europe after WWII. The brain drain of WWII made the USA the center for learning. The LHC is mainly a research jobs program because it's part of CERN.

        Fermilab has a more practical history and was not going to be given the freedom to just employ if there was no real success related to what they talked about. That is why the USA wanted no part of building the LHC in the USA.

        String Theory is not worth a real discussion that is why their funding got eliminated in Europe.
      • Feb 6 2013: Peer reviews are not always blind. Astronomy journals have a lot of transparent peer review. I am a mathematics and physics teacher. I am a trained mechanical engineer. My work is not suppressed, It was published in a peer reviewed journal, conferenced and it was published on an astronomy news website. This all occurred outside the USA, but now it is in the USA. " What might that be?" Well posting my work is called spamming.

        Mathematicians call it the "Three Body Problem". I proved solvability is not based on the number of bodies in the system but the state and representation of space. I proved under real conditions Two Body systems are also unsolvable. Two papers, one in mathematics and the other in Astronomy confirms my conclusions. I will post those if you are interested because that is not considered spamming. I don't expect string theorist to highlight my work no more than Godel expected Hilbert to highlight his work. Godel's work destroyed Hibert's program and I'll do the same for String Theory.
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          Feb 6 2013: Congratulations on your publication overseas. In terms of spamming, I suppose what matters is where you post it. There are places where one can post papers and places that have other purposes and might consider it spamming.

          The astronomy news website clearly welcomed it. A site that posts economics articles, spiritual articles, or no articles at all wouldn't welcome it.

          I think people do post links sometimes to their work if that work connects to a thread under discussion. In your case, I don't often see people in TED Conversations who would likely understand the work you describe. Most people here, I think, have some science background or perhaps the Deepak Chopra sort of thing. This doesn't sound right for your work.

          Have you tried places with a large concentration of people with serious training in/understanding of mathematics and physics?

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