As an “intellectual poseur” I couldn’t resist reblogging this piece …

The Dreamheron Chronicles

Just this summer, Professor Amber Miller of Columbia University (appearing at the World Science Festival panel discussion on BICEP2), stated emphatically (and it seems, not required by the context of the discussion) that the cosmic blackbody is intact. Her taxpayer-funded high-tech research in the high frontier is riding on this assumption. (Watch the video from 1:07 to 1:09).

A video released last month by the learned society SPIE and filmed at NASA Goddard pointedly avers that the blackbody is fully intact, with 50 ppm accuracy.

And today this bit of public education from Professor Peter Coles of the University of Sussex (upon holding many consultations with mainstream colleagues at a conference on this very subject in Denmark) states:

The problem – the Achilles Heel of BICEP, so to speak – is that it operates at a single frequency, 150 GHz. That means that it is not possible for this experiment…

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  1. Leo Caddy Says:

    So, for the layman, not knowing whom to believe, are you agreeing with the blogger?

    • telescoper Says:

      The post I’ve reblogged is obviously written by someone who doesn’t understand the slightest thing about the subject of cosmology. I don’t agree with his comments or his offensive attitude to the many scientists who have dedicated their lives to working on the subject.

    • Bryn Jones Says:

      No, Peter (Telescoper) is certainly not agreeing with the blogger.

      Very many independent studies of the cosmic microwave background radiation carried out over a few decades show the observed spectrum is very close indeed to a blackbody spectrum. The more precise studies, such as those from the Planck spacecraft, show the cosmic background radiation is extremely close to a blackbody. (Actually astonishingly so.)

      The issue here concerns the BICEP2 results alone, and whether that study can separate the cosmic background signal from the foreground contamination of Galactic dust, and well enough to search for very subtle polarisation effects. BICEP2 was not built to test the shape of the spectrum, and does not pretend to do so: that has been done by many other instruments, and done excellently. BICEP2 studies other aspects of the microwave background, and for good reasons.

      Peter was pointing out this particular issue with foreground separation in the BICEP2 data.

      I have not read the blog in detail and have not looked at the videos linked to there, so I am not going to try to analyse what the blogger does not understand, or how basic the failure of understanding might be.

  2. At first I thought that this (the post that you link to) is satire. If one isn’t sure at first whether or not it is satire, then if it is indeed satire, it is good satire. However, it is not satire. In this case, that is, if it is not satire, if one isn’t sure at first whether or not it is satire, then it is very, very sad.

    I won’t waste any more time trying to figure out if this is a crackpot with his own theory or if he has just seriously misunderstood something. Maybe it is the latter. Which reminds me of a laugh-out-loud moment I had today when reading an interview with the great Martin Carthy in Mojo. Recalling his time with Steeleye Span, he told how Maddy Prior had informed her mother that she had gone electric. Her mother then asked what would become of the gas cooker she had recently bought for her daughter.

  3. Leo Caddy Says:

    That’s what I felt too; I follow you on Twitter and for a minute I was a little taken aback by the blog, not entirely sure what to make of it. Thanks for clarifying.

  4. […] Very many independent studies of the cosmic microwave background radiation carried out over a few de… […]

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