HOW THE PHYSICISTS CHECKED THEIR EXPERIMENT. I posted here on a commencement speech by Richard Feynman, the great physicist, which stressed the importance of of replicating experiments and of eliminating alternative explanations. This article on the Wired site by Adam Mann describes some of the things the physicists working on the BICEP experiment did to check their work, including a three day meeting about a year before the announcement in which the members of the team (about 20) tried “to stump each other with alternate explanations that could account for the signal”. There followed telephone conferences in which they they worked out tests to convince any member of the team who expressed any doubts. This article in Sky and Telescope by Camille Carlisle says that the team ruled out more than a dozen alternate explanations.

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