Forbidden Science
© Wkipedia
What still belongs to Science and what does not? Who is to decide what is science and what is para-science or pseudo-science? Some kinds of research are welcomed at one university, but not at another. There are respected scientists, some of whom are Nobel Prize winners, who are ostracized, most of the time by gossip, by various covert activities of their colleagues, simply because they dare to ask questions and research phenomena that others consider as "unworthy". I have already mentioned several such cases, one example being the treatment of the "strange interests" of Alfred Wallace by Encyclopedia Universalis.

Someone - we do not know who it was - decided that a major part of the research of a distinguished scientist should be suppressed - the public should not be told about it, that it is better to tell a lie than to tell an inconvenient truth.

Science in Secret?

A friend of mine, a distinguished French scientist, who is interested in many "esoteric" areas, tells me that one should keep these interests to oneself, otherwise one will be punished; covert actions of others will destroy your scientific career; and that is what he does - he will discuss certain things in private, but will never dare to say them in public. What kind of science forces scientists to work in secret, from fear? What kind of society gives birth to that kind of science?

William Crookes

While reading the remarkable autobiography of Alfred Wallace, Darwin's colleague, the co-discoverer - if not the original discoverer of the mechanisms of evolution, I found the following interesting paragraph:
During the years 1870-80 I had many opportunities of witnessing interesting phenomena in the houses of various friends, some of which I have not made public. Early in 1874 I was invited by John Morley, then editor of the Fortnightly Review, to write an article on "Spiritualism" for that periodical. Much public interest had been excited by the publication of the Report of the Committee of the Dialectical Society, and especially by Mr. Crookes's experiments with Mr. Home, and the refusal of the Royal Society to see these experiments repeated. (Italics, mine.)
Who is Mr. Crookes? And what were these experiments that the Royal Society did not even want to witness? Remember: curiosity is a condition "sine qua non" of a true scientist! The Royal Society was not curious? Why? Perhaps the experiments of Mr. Crookes were not worthy of the attention of the learned society, because they did not suggest anything new?

Crookes tube
© Arkadiusz Jadczyk - Open systemCrookes tube.
From Encyclopedia Britannica we learn, additionally, that William Crookes was knighted in 1897. Searching the net we can find, in particular, an impressive list of awards:
Past President, Chemical Society, Brit. Assoc., Inst. Elect. Eng., Soc. Chem. Industry; Hon. Member, Roy. Phil. Soc. Glasgow, Roy. Soc. NSW, Pharm. Soc., Chem. Metall. and Mining Soc. of South Africa, Amer. Chem. Soc., Amer. Philos. Soc., Roy. Soc. Sci. Upsala, Deutsch. Chem. Gesell. Berlin, Psychol. Soc. Paris, Antonio Alzate Sci. Soc. Mexico, Sci. Soc. Bucharest, Reg. Accad. Zelanti; Foreign Mem. Accad. Lincei, Rome; Corresp. Inst. de France (Acad. Sci.), Corresp. Mem. Bataafsch Genoots., Rotterdam, Soc. Encouragement pour l'Indust. Paris; For. Assoc. National Acad. Sciences, Washington; Foreign Mem., Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. International Exhibition, 1862, medal; Acadèmie des Sciences, 1880, gold medal and prize of 3000 frs; Electrical Exhibitions, Paris, 1881, medal; Society of Arts, 1885, Fergusson Gold Medal; Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1889, medal; Society of Arts, 1899, Albert Gold Medal; Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, 1912, Elliott Cresson Gold Medal; Soc. Chem. Industry, 1912, gold medal. Royal medallist, Davy medallist, Copley medallist, and three times Bakerian Lecturer of the Royal Society.
I feel that I need to explain my reasons for including this long list of Crookes' awards here. Do awards count? Do titles count? Facts are the only things that count - one may argue. Well, awards are also facts, and, most of the time, awards are given in recognition of someone's skills and achievements.

Coming next: You Shall Know Them by Their Fruits

P.S.1. 01-04-23 A friend, physicist, sent me this morning a link to this video by Rupert Sheldrake:

And there, in particular:

But I want to spend a few moments on the constants of nature too. Because these are, again, assumed to be constant. Things like the gravitational constant of the speed of light are called the fundamental constants. Are they really constant? Well, when I got interested in this question, I tried to find out. They're given in physics handbooks. Handbooks of physics list the existing fundamental constants, tell you their value. But I wanted to see if they'd changed, so I got the old volumes of physical handbooks. I went to the patent office library here in London - they're the only place I could find that kept the old volumes. Normally people throw them away when the new values (volumes) come out, they throw away the old ones.

When I did this I found that the speed of light dropped between nineteen twenty-eight and nineteen fourty-five by about twenty kilometers per second. It's a huge drop because they're given with errors of any fractions of a second/decimal points of error. And yet, all over the world, it dropped, and they were all getting very similar values to each other with tiny errors. Then in nineteen fourty-eight, it went up again. And then people started getting very similar values again. I was very intrigued by this and I couldn't make sense of it, so I went to see the head of metrology at the National Physical Laboratory in Eddington.

Metrology is the science in which people measure constants. And I asked him about this, I said "what do you make of this drop in the speed of light between nineteen twenty-eight and nineteen fourty-five?" And he said "oh dear", he said "you've uncovered the most embarrassing episode in the history of our science."

So I said "well, could the speed of light have actually dropped? And that would have amazing implications if so." He said "no, no, of course it couldn't have actually dropped. It's a constant!" "Oh, well then how do you explain the fact that everyone was finding it going much slower during that period? Is it because they were fudging their results to get what they thought other people should be getting and the whole thing was just produced in the minds of physicists?" "We don't like to use the word 'fudge'."I said "Well, so what do you prefer?" He said "well, we prefer to call it 'intellectual phase-locking'." So I said "well if it was going on then, how can you be so sure it's not going on today? And the present values produced are by intellectual phase-locking?" And he said "oh we know that's not the case."And I said "how do we know?" He said "well", he said "we've solved the problem." And I said "well how?"

And he said "well we fixed the speed of light by definition in nineteen seventy-two." So I said "but it might still change." He said "yes, but we'd never know it, because we've defined the metre in terms of the speed of light, so the units would change with it!" So he looked very pleased about that, they'd fixed that problem. But I said "well, then what about big G?" The gravitational constant, known in the trade as "big G", it was written with a capital G. Newton's universal gravitational constant. "That's varied by more than 1.3% in recent years. And it seems to vary from place to place and from time to time. "And he said "oh well, those are just errors. And unfortunately there are quite big errors with big G." So I said "well, what if it's really changing? I mean, perhaps it is really changing." And then I looked at how they do it, what happens is they measure it in different labs, they get different values on different days, and then they average them.

And then other labs around the world do the same, they come out usually with a rather different average. And then the international committee of metrology meets every ten years or so and average the ones from labs all around the world to come up with the value of big G. But what if G were actually fluctuating? What if it changed? There's already evidence actually that it changes throughout the day and throughout the year. What if the earth, as it moves through the galactic environment went through patches of dark matter or other environmental factors that could alter it? Maybe they all change together. What if these errors are going up together and down together? For more than ten years I've been trying to persuade metrologists to look at the raw data. In fact I'm now trying to persuade them to put it up online, on the internet. With the dates, and the actual measurements, and see if they're correlated. To see if they're all up at one time, all down at another. If so, they might be fluctuating together. And what would tell us something very, very interesting. But no-one has done this, they haven't done it because G is a constant. There's no point looking for changes.
P.S.2. April 1, 2023 17:22 Quantum Future is getting closer:
New Journal of Physics
© Arkadiusz Jadczyk - Open system