Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Science is About Figuring Out Your Mistakes

[The Guardian] Nobel prize-winning astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter never thought “Eureka!” when, in 1997, his observations of exploding stars called supernovae suggested that the expansion of the universe, begun by the big bang, was accelerating. In fact, explains Perlmutter, he thought he and his team must have made a mistake. For a start, they had embarked on the project a decade earlier, expecting to measure the rate at which the universe’s expansion was slowing. To find the opposite seemed crazy. The discovery has led him to think deeply about the nature of science. “Science isn’t a matter of trying to prove something – it is a matter of trying to figure out how you are wrong and trying to find your mistakes,” he says. 

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