A GRAPHICS REPRISE: A beautiful question

Frank Wilczek, David Politzer and David Gross were awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize for physics following the experimental verification of their theory regarding asymptotic freedom – the last step in installing the Standard Theory of elementary particle physics. I have stated that this verification is a sham.

Am I an expert in Quantum Theory? No. In accelerator measurements? No. So how I can I make that statement in the face of overwhelming endorsements? Because the sham lies at the basic level of theory-experiment comparison in science. It has nothing to do with all the highfalutin talk about quantum theory math and accelerator technology attending this discovery – which talk has kept the sham at the core obscured from the public eye.

First, let me make a few ad hoc statements which you should find self-evident to the point of truism.

THEOREM: A two-dimensional [y = f(x)] agreement between a monotone ascending/descending theory curve and relevant experimental data is not necessarily a guarantee that this theory is exclusively correct.

Corollary: When there exists only one theory and when it matches experimental data, it cannot be said to be the correct theory without independent scientific grounds why no other theories are possible.

Corollary: When multiple theories fit the same experimental data set with comparable statistical significance, then additional studies are needed to determine which theory is correct.

THEOREM: If an otherwise smooth experimental data trend contains discontinuities or other sharp features, these may be real or artifactual. If real, then a theory that does not predict these features cannot be taken to be the correct theory. If artifactual, then substantial portions of the data set near those features are suspect, and there can be no conclusive experimental verification.

Corollary: These problematic portions of the theory-experiment agreement must be explained (not explained away) before the overall agreement can be accepted.

Now reconsider the following graphic. Note in particular that I am not raising any issues with the Standard Theory nor am I questioning the accelerator data. I am simply asking whether there is actually an experimental verification in this impressive diagram. This question is within the purview of any scientist in any field. This is the “beautiful question.” Do not be distracted from it. And do not be intimidated by the “You do not understand” routine.


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