Ep. 87 Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder Discusses the Pros and Cons of “Dark Matter” in Physics, and the Limitations of Existing Computer Models of the Climate System
Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder is a Research Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, where she heads the “Analog Systems for Gravity Duals” group. Bob first asks her to explain why physicists began using the concepts of “dark matter” and “dark energy” to explain their observations of galaxies. Then they discuss her June New York Times column in which she explained that existing computer models can’t tell us if climate change poses an existential threat or is merely an inconvenience.
Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest:
- The YouTube video of this interview.
- Sabine Hossenfelder’s Twitter account and blog.
- Dr. Hossenfelder’s (co-authored) article on dark matter and her NYT article on limitations of current climate models.
- Hossenfelder’s book Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray. #CommissionsEarned (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)
- Help support the Bob Murphy Show.
The audio production for this episode was provided by Podsworth Media.
If you hate science so much, why do you keep bringing physicists and scientists onto your show?!
In all seriousness, I really enjoyed the discussion. I had never realized that “dark” matter or energy are just a “guess there must be something we don’t understand yet for this to make sense” placeholder.
I thought the guest handled it very well in the 2nd part of the interview when she realized you’re a denier xD
Even Neil deGrasse Tyson openly calls them just 2 placeholders that could be called Fred and Wilma
“…NDT: We don’t know what it is, but it’s there and we’ve measured it in multiple ways. But a problem arises—someone called it “dark matter.” It should really be called “dark gravity.” There’s this thing that accounts for 85 percent of the measured gravity of the universe—a verified measurement. Its manifestations aren’t going to go away. The same goes with dark energy. It shouldn’t even be called dark energy. I can call it Fred and Wilma. The names should not bias you…”
The problem with coverage of scientific discoveries and theories is that they often do not acknowledge the things that are not yet understood. I understand you want to discuss your findings and put those forward, but crowding out the unknown factors from the mainstream discourse makes them more vulnerable in the long run for the skeptics.
Why does one have to learn about the contested factors so often from outside sources? It’s throwing off people with a cursory interest in the topics when they get those critical points from the opposing side of a theory.
Ernst Peter Fischer believes science has not dispelled the mysteries of the world, but broadened it and he sees the debate about dark matter and energy as evidence of this.