Enough with counter-intuitive cryptic physics theories

Science progresses through discussions and debates. Sometimes accepted notions are too well-established to be open to questioning. In this personal view, Helmut Tributsch, emeritus professor of physical chemistry, formerly at the Freie Universitat Berlin, Germany, challenges the notion that physics theories, such as quantum scale phenomena, obey counter-intuitive laws. Instead, he claims that introducing a definite and irreversible direction for the passing of time, would make our theoretical interpretation of physical phenomena more logical and resolve many unsolved questions pertaining to our understanding of the world surround us and the universe.

Is astrophysics ready to draw a lesson from Thomas Kuhn?

Strong debates arise as scientific certainty is being questioned. Is the theory on the standard solar system undergoing changes as convergent possibilities are being questioned. Now, Pierre-Marie Robitaille, a chemist and professor of radiology from the University of Ohio, claims that the sun is not gaseous but may consist of liquid metallic hydrogen – a paradigm-shattering attack on the standard solar model that has been established for almost a century now. The problem is that evaluating Robitaille’s arguments requires expertise in very different fields – thermodynamics, astrophysics, for the sun, and condensed matter physics, for the liquid metallic hydrogen. Who has such expertise?

How particle physics is eroding the scientific method

Last years’s results of the CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) brought the director general of the European Particle Physics Laboratory, Rolf-Dieter Heuer, to comment that “a Higgs boson” had been discovered. He nuanced his statement by saying it was “not necessarily the standard model Higgs boson”. One might wonder whether such a “non-standard Higgs” is a true triumph of the so-called standard model, or has a “non-standard” standard model still to be developed to make use of such a triumph?

Utrecht staff and students say no to physics cuts

Bright and early on 3 January 2011, 140 physics lecturers, students and other staff at Utrecht University in the Netherlands made their way from the physics department to the offices of the university administration. The purpose of the demonstration was to submit a petition objecting to proposed cutbacks, and to the removal of department head Casper Erkelens after he refused to sign a document agreeing to the reforms.

Married in lock-down: how being forced together has taken our research further

During the global shutdown, many scientists had to face working in confinement – not only away from the lab and its facilities, but also away from their research teams and colleagues. But what if you were married to your partner? Scientists Viviana and Luigi found themselves flourishing in this new type of scientific environment – combining their expertise from different fields to devise a new methodology that has spurred into an international partnership.