Curiosity Says "Nearly"

It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong - Richard Feynman

In the video embedded here the famed physicist Richard Feynman talks about how our eyes are optimized to detect the narrow "optical" band of the electromagnetic spectrum, and how the longer and cooler wavelengths carry information in the form of heat. These facts are useful. In the case of the infrared (long wavelength), some space borne observatories, cooled to an operating temperature just a degree or so above absolute zero, can detect objects many billions of years old by registering the faintest of temperature spikes.

We can rely on the physics because, as Feynman says, it's all "really there!" whether we're actively looking or not. That's key. The scientist and the crackpot can both be right. They can both be wrong. The difference, however, is in the quality of the answers. Because she can do more than simply point to gaps in knowledge, the scientist, thanks to characteristics of scientific method like repeatability and falsifiability, can be wrong in productive ways.

Instead of "no," her results may suggest "nearly."

That's a lot like curiosity, wouldn't you say?

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