Friday, April 26, 2013

CDMS and big science reports

This week's issue of Science contains an article entitled "Dark-Matter Mystery Nears Its Moment of Truth." The article details the latest findings by the CDMS experiment that is searching for weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs). WIMPs are candidates for dark matter because they do not interact strongly with other matter and may fill large areas of "emtpy" space, effectively providing the additional gravitational energy that is missing from observations of the cosmos.

I very much liked the press-release on the CDMS website. It is incredibly clear and honest. Possibilities that would negate their findings are mentioned and the statistics are presented as-is with little attempt to make them sound better than they are.

I wonder if big science is immune to the hubris and bias that is often found in the work of publications numbering less than about ten authors. Is there something that makes science more objective as more people are involved? Of course, there are many difficulties with managing these large scientific endeavors, but I don't think we should discount the fact that involving so many people may make results more objective. This is an argument in favor of big science.