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[–] SixBarns 0 points 8 points (+8|-0) ago  (edited ago)

This isn't my field, so I'm not going to comment on the science here, but I am a scientist, so I can at least offer my perspective about what's probably going on in other scientists' minds. If this thing works, I don't think many people would be embarrassed. Actually, I think scientists in general would be pretty excited about something as groundbreaking as this, especially if they had the chance to work with it before anyone else did or were able to contribute to it in some way. Scientists are human, so we do have egos, but in the end, we just want progress. The response from scientists seems more like optimistic skepticism than embarrassment - i.e., they would love for this to work, because of the possibilities that it would open up, but at the same time, they want to rule out other explanations for the observed effect. This might be frustrating to an outside observer, but, if the EmDrive works, the technology can only benefit from people rigorously testing it. And if it doesn't work, hopefully we'll learn something along the way.

I won't go into too many specifics about my own research here, but a few years ago, someone made some pretty big claims about a very simple way to diagnose and treat a certain disease (that my work is sort of related to). This caused a lot of people in the US to go to foreign countries to undergo a potentially dangerous treatment because the treatment wasn't approved here. Because of public outcry, some private funding agencies spent a ton of money investigating these claims. Yet to this day, no one has been able to demonstrate that these claims were true. From talking to people in my field about it, the general consensus was "we would love for this to be true, but the evidence just isn't there." I felt the same way. Stories like this happen way too often - someone makes promises that turn out to be untrue. I'm not saying the same thing will happen to the EmDrive, but scientists generally have good reason to be skeptical.

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[–] Reow 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

I think the difference between the two examples is that (presumably) nobody's been able to replicate the disease diagnosis/treatment claims, whereas the Em Drive has been repeatedly demonstrated. The concern with the Em Drive isn't that the results are faked, it is that we don't know what is going on and we're not sure if the results are just due to instrumental error / a confounder / whatever.

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[–] SixBarns 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago  (edited ago)

I don't think this guy has been formally accused of fraud - I didn't mean to give the impression that that was the case. It could just be a huge experimental error on his part. It sounds like the people working on the EmDrive are pretty reasonable people though, so I agree with your take on it. My point was mostly that whenever something comes along that sounds too good to be true, the public tends to have unreasonable expectations. Blame poor science education and sensationalist science journalism if you want.

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[–] k_digi [S] 2 points 1 points (+3|-2) ago 

Let the company making the claims release a white paper and conduct a double blind test, make the system open to review and conduct it by an independent 3rd party.

Does that sound difficult?

If you really are in science you know that isn't going to happen because 'money'

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[–] SixBarns 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Let the company making the claims release a white paper and conduct a double blind test, make the system open to review and conduct it by an independent 3rd party.

Does that sound difficult?

A group from China has published several papers about it, and several other groups across the world are actively researching this thing. And as far as I know, the plans are public. This doesn't sound too far off from what you're asking for.

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[–] apodo 0 points 5 points (+5|-0) ago 

Embarrassment is the wrong word. I think disbelief covers it better. After all, if the EM and cannae drives really do work, then there is a fundamental problem with some part of standard physics. Naturally there is a need for further certainty before progressing further.

Consider Steven Jay Gould's definition of scientific fact:

In science, 'fact' can only mean 'confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.

To confirm something revolutionary is not a routine matter.

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[–] ChadPUA 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

If it works, it is not an embarrassment to anyone. The skeptics have every reason to be skeptical of this, as 1) the mechanisms for how it works are not really fully understood by anyone yet (else people who understood how this works would have published a theory papers proving it), and consequently 2) because no one yet understands fully how it works, it appears to violate our current understanding of physics. So there is no embarrassment in not-believing it works, and then being shown it works.

If it doesn't work, it's an embarrassment to the creators and the people who claimed it works.

The designers can't get a "white paper" (I'm assuming you mean a peer-reviewed paper) published yet for 2 (reasonable) reasons: 1) no one really understands how it works. So until the mechanisms are proven on paper, no one is going to believe it yet. 2) because of that, it appears that the device violates current physics understanding (because we don't understand how/why it is possible). No academic is going to endorse an article that appears to violate basic physics; it's career suicide. You'd lose almost all credibility making such a claim. However, enough people replicate the device and find that it works, it will definitely get peer-reviewed and published.

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[–] Reow 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

The thing to appreciate is, the more revolutionary some science is, the more evidence we require of it. The Em Drive violates the existing understanding of a very long held and robustly tested law (conservation of momentum). If it turns out that this law isn't as we have experienced it, the impact on science could be immense. As such, people are going to demand undeniable evidence (and even then a lot of people will doubt it until there is an engineering application of it).

That said, there is a problem with publishing in science whereby it is very difficult to get ideas that disagree with the scientific consensus published in reputable journals. I don't know if this is 'embarrassing' so much as dangerous and detrimental to progress. It unfortunately leads to something akin to a confirmation bias in certain fields.

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[–] The_Cat 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Still, the EM drive cannot violate conservation of momentum. It's impossible. Noether's theorem explicitly proves the consetvation. If it didn't hold, we'd be seeing a -lot- of momentum violations around.

Besides, I refuse to believe that the laws of physics would work differently at the two ends of this microwave oven.

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[–] Reow 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

I tend to agree, which is why I said "existing understanding". We still may have a conservation of momentum, but there may be factors involved that we don't currently incorporate into the various formulae (I don't feel qualified to speculate what). Relativistic observations would have seemed like a violation of classical mechanics ~100 years ago, but we understand that classical mechanics is a good approximation under certain conditions. I wonder if this isn't something similar.

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[–] k_digi [S] 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

That's a pretty good measure of where we are at I think, of course I like to write these titles to measure response.

Humans have done remarkably well considering the other forces pushing and pulling, we may be the 'galactic fuckups' but everyone knows why, (except for us)

So just a few 100 years is no problem to worry about, and the times before that were essentially out of the direct control of the current configuration system, so all things being said, humans are very useful and we can be great.

I hope to help make this a reality, some humans have damaged themselves but most of it is not beyond repair and the damage will recover quickly.

Our DNA is quite resilient.