Monday, July 01, 2013

On Discipline

If the experiment contradicts the theory, then the theory is wrong.

                                                  —Richard Feynman (paraphrase)  

it can be so hard to accept this rule sometimes, but just keep telling yourself...

Progress comes when the experiment contradicts the theory.


John Cowan said...

Well, not always. Sometimes the experimental method is no good, and then the theory remains intact. It's necessary to scrutinize one's data just as carefully as one's theories.

Michael said...

Fair point. Though in this particular case, we had a very nice, coherent, simplifying theory and a very simple experiment that was supposed to confirm it, and instead we got an unexpected and confusing result. I can't see any way in which the experiment was wrong, so the theory has to be discarded or revised (sigh).