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Teenager Makes Discovery About Galaxy Distribution

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the all-lined-up dept.

Space 247

Janek Kozicki writes "It has been long thought that dwarf galaxies orbiting Andromeda galaxy (M31), or any other galaxy for that matter, are distributed more or less randomly around the host galaxy. It seemed so obvious in fact that nobody took time to check this assumption. Until a 15-year-old student, Neil Ibata, working with his father at the astronomic observatory, wanted to check it out. It turned out that dwarf galaxies tend to be placed on a plane around M31. The finding has been published in Nature. Local press (especially in France) is ecstatic that a finding by a 15-year-old got published in Nature. However, there's another more important point: what other obvious things didn't we really bother to check?"

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247 comments

Working with his father... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499301)

Raises curiosity: how much work is done by this 15-old boy and how much is actually done by his father?

Re:Working with his father... (5, Insightful)

slew (2918) | about a year ago | (#42499347)

Raises curiosity: how much work is done by this 15-old boy and how much is actually done by his father?

I imagine about the same ratio as famous professors and the grad-students working under them... Don't underestimate the ideas and work that can be done by underlings. Only in this case, the underling gets the credit, in the other case, usually not so much...

Re:Working with his father... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499391)

I imagine about the same ratio as famous professors and the grad-students working under them... Don't underestimate the ideas and work that can be done by underlings. Only in this case, the underling gets the credit, in the other case, usually not so much...

Grad students who do the work are usually lead authors on their papers.

Re:Working with his father... (1)

kye4u (2686257) | about a year ago | (#42500463)

Grad students who do the work are usually lead authors on their papers.

But everyone knows that the last author is the one who funded the research and will credit for the idea....the research adviser

Re:Working with his father... (3, Insightful)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about a year ago | (#42499579)

Raises curiosity: how much work is done by this 15-old boy and how much is actually done by his father?

I imagine about the same ratio as famous professors and the grad-students working under them... Don't underestimate the ideas and work that can be done by underlings. Only in this case, the underling gets the credit, in the other case, usually not so much...

Grad students and professors? That's a bit of a stretch. Maybe parents + science fairs would be a better comparison.

Re:Working with his father... (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | about a year ago | (#42500081)

It's a continuum and it depends on the parties involved. I've collaborated on undergraduate research with my father (paper ended up being accepted to ISVD a couple years ago), and the work I did with him at 18/19 was definitely not beyond my abilities at 15, and was probably more creative and challenging than the work I did this summer on a DOE fellowship.

Re:Working with his father... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#42500465)

That seems a bit silly to me. There are so many discoveries and inventions that sat around for generations, waiting to be discovered. All that was required was that someone without preconceived ideas looked at it with a fresh mind.

Apparently, that is just what happened here. Some kid says, "But, Dad, how can you be sure they are just random? Has no one ever looked for a pattern?" Dad says, "Well Son, if you think you're so smart, then YOU find the pattern! Some of the world's best minds have tried and failed!" Or, maybe I have it wrong, maybe Dad said, "Son, as far as I know we just ASSumed they were random. Maybe we should take another look. What kind of a pattern do you think we should look for?"

Whatever - it was a fresh mind that hadn't been indoctrinated with the idea that these galaxies were just randomly distributed. That fresh mind may have only been the stimulus, in some cases. In other cases, the fresh mind actually made the real discovery. Old, stale minds that are incapable of thinking outside the box don't make a lot of discoveries.

Re:Working with his father... (5, Insightful)

drdread66 (1063396) | about a year ago | (#42499355)

The kid probably did most of the coding, but used data gathered by other observations at the observatory (or even other observatories). The idea probably came from his father. This is exactly the sort of straightforward project you would assign a bright undergrad (or high school student) to do. It's relevant, mostly easy, and might possibly generate a new result. You can't ask for much more.

Re:Working with his father... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499415)

This is exactly the sort of straightforward project you would assign a bright undergrad (or high school student) to do.

It's just a shame that bright people are scarce.

Re:Working with his father... (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | about a year ago | (#42500399)

It's just a shame that bright people are scarce.

There's more bright people now than in any point in history. Population is way up. Education is way up. Opportunity is way up. There are bright people everywhere.

Re:Working with his father... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499367)

Raises curiosity: how much work is done by this 15-old boy and how much is actually done by his father?

One of 16 authors. His dad is the lead author. Not a solo effort.

Re:Working with his father... (2)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#42500471)

He learned teamwork and science, more then quibbling about crediting. And who knows he might have been sitting at the dinner table and said... well u know that galaxy we looked at through our shiny telescope, are they aranged in a special way. Dad: I dunno son, maybe, people say their random. Kid: I got some assignment wanna help me.

Fuck yeah I wish I had a family like that growing up. Fuck yeah we need more kids in america to have opportunities like this rather then be mindfucked by HBO.

Re:Working with his father... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499375)

my thoughts exactly... it's not the first time we hear about some wiz-kid who's done something special.
than we read that his father was already a known figure in the trade...
*sigh*

Re:Working with his father... (1)

russotto (537200) | about a year ago | (#42500133)

my thoughts exactly... it's not the first time we hear about some wiz-kid who's done something special.
than we read that his father was already a known figure in the trade...

Damn that Robert Morris Jr.

Re:Working with his father... (0)

Kergan (780543) | about a year ago | (#42499439)

He merely wrote code under the supervision of his daddy.

Re:Working with his father... (1, Troll)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | about a year ago | (#42499493)

STFU what have you done of note lately?

Re:Working with his father... (3, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#42499689)

I made pizza completely from scratch in my kitchen. Something that 70% of the population cant do. That makes me a genius on this planet.

Re:Working with his father... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499829)

are we that retarded?

Re:Working with his father... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42500101)

So tell me, where did you grow the tomatoes and keep the cow, cheese store, wheat, etc etc.

Not Uncommon, actually... (2)

Bananatree3 (872975) | about a year ago | (#42499487)

David Stuart [wikipedia.org], a gifted Mayan scholar studied under his parents who were both Mayan scholars. By age 18 he had won the MacCarthur Fellowship... it's youngest recipient. "Like Father Like Son" is sometimes an accurate description...While it may be published under his father's name, he might have actually provided something of value. "He's only 15" can hide genius....

Re:Not Uncommon, actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499799)

The use of a double negatives makes me feel quite less uncomfortable about your statement.

Re:Working with his father... (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499559)

Who cares? Most 15 year olds struggle to do anything more than fall out of bed and masturbate. Jealous much?

Re:Working with his father... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499695)

I've never thought to use the fear of smashing my penis into the floor while falling as a masturbation enhancement. Thanks for the tip!

Re:Working with his father... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499575)

What I want to know is whenever we can quit this archaic age discrimination that says only people between the ages of 25-35 can make important discoveries.

Re:Working with his father... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#42499677)

Most underlings do all the real work. Look at the early work in radio astronomy. Most of the discoveries were actually by the underlings. The "professor" got credit because the corrupt scum that run the "system" say that only a published professor can publish any new discoveries.

Re:Working with his father... (1)

jaapkroe (1001913) | about a year ago | (#42500029)

From TFA... (NGI is the kid) You must it is a great publicity move by his father. Also nice for the boy and a great way to get him involved/interested in Science. Contributions All authors assisted in the development and writing of the paper. In addition, the structural and kinematic properties of the dwarf population, and the significance of the Andromeda plane were determined by R.A.I., G.F.L. and A.R.C., based on distances determined by the same group (as part of the PhD research of A.R.C.). In addition, A.W.M. is the Principal Investigator of PAndAS; M.J.I. and R.A.I. led the data processing effort; R.A.I. was the Principal Investigator of an earlier CFHT MegaPrime/MegaCam survey, which PAndAS builds on (which included S.C.C., A.M.N.F., M.J.I., G.F.L., N.F.M. and A.W.M.). R.M.R. is Principal Investigator of the spectroscopic follow-up with the Keck Telescope. M.L.C. and S.C.C. led the analysis of the kinematic determination of the dwarf population, and N.F.M. led the detection of the dwarf population from PAndAS data. N.G.I. performed the initial analysis of the satellite kinematics.

Re:Working with his father... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42500353)

How much work of any kind is done in a vacuum? Everyone builds off of the knowledge of others.

Re:Working with his father... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42500429)

When you've been published in Nature we can explore that curiosity.

Not *that* ecstatic (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499319)

Actually, since the boy has stated in interviews that he wants to leave France and go to college abroad, the press is not that ecstatic. And at least some papers have pointed out that the boy was somehow lucky (even though he most probably is a bright kid).

Re:Not *that* ecstatic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499385)

Ohhh, jelous that you in your 30s have accomplished less than a kid of 15? Well, maybe if you stop eating so much, and move out of your parents' garage, you too might accomplish an infinitesmal fraction of what this kid accomplished, by the time you're 60.

Re:Not *that* ecstatic (0)

Kergan (780543) | about a year ago | (#42499435)

Sunds like you've no idea what he actually did. He got his name in an article for having written a couple of lines of code under the supervision of his daddy.

Re:Not *that* ecstatic (0)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#42499791)

Actually, since the boy has stated in interviews that he wants to leave France and go to college abroad, the press is not that ecstatic.

He just wants to leave France to avoid high income taxes, like the rest: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-07/depardieu-checks-out-new-russian-homeland/4454706 [abc.net.au]

France, top rate: 75%. Russia, flat rate: 13%.

It seems that Russia has the last laugh on all of our "In Soviet Russia . . ." jokes.

Re:Not *that* ecstatic (1, Troll)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about a year ago | (#42499937)

Indeed. It is amazing the amount of prosperity that a 13% flat tax has generated for Russia. If you're already an oligarch.

what other obvious things we didn't really ... (5, Funny)

Nutria (679911) | about a year ago | (#42499325)

bother to check?

Stuff that scientists don't want to be mocked by their peers for checking.

Re:what other obvious things we didn't really ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499441)

This. There was a recent case where someone raised the same question about a "well known" result in Quantum Computing and initially there was a lot of push back from the community of the form "pshaw! everybody knows that".

To their credit within a few days the community came around and did agree that said "well known fact" (TM) did need checking. As is usually the case once checked everything turned out to be Ok, but still one should check because every so rarely things do not check out and you have a scientific breakthrough. The value of science to society is not in confirming what we know, but in surprising us when we least expect it: all bodies fall at the same speed regardless of weight, time is relative, mass equals energy, and so on.

Re:what other obvious things we didn't really ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42500111)

Like increase in co2 causes global warming vs global warming causing co2 increases?

Re:what other obvious things we didn't really ... (1)

DoctorStarks (736111) | about a year ago | (#42500241)

An incredibly large number of things. People who don't do research for a living would be shocked to discover how many "facts" are taken on faith and never really subjected to any scrutiny. Then, one day, somebody does and it's a big discovery. The amazing part is how common it is.

Poor kid (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499331)

Blew his load early. He's peaked too soon. Looking forward to the VH1 Where are they now that shows his descent into madness...winning...Tiger Blood!

link or it didn't happen (3, Insightful)

coma_bug (830669) | about a year ago | (#42499343)

It has been long thought that dwarf galaxies orbiting Andromeda galaxy (M31), or any other galaxy for that matter, are distributed more or less randomly around the host galaxy.

[citation needed]

The planets orbit the sun near the ecliptic plane, so if you were to make an assumption about the distribution of galaxies why would you assume galaxies are distributed randomly?

Re:link or it didn't happen (5, Insightful)

Genda (560240) | about a year ago | (#42499603)

Because the dwarf galaxies shouldn't be constrained to the galactic plane any more than globular clusters which are randomly disbursed. This suggests that there my be an unknown process that brings dwarf galaxies to the galaxy's equator... perhaps inflow of intragalactic gas or dark matter.. Makes for a interesting study.

Re:link or it didn't happen (5, Informative)

Mandrel (765308) | about a year ago | (#42500141)

Because the dwarf galaxies shouldn't be constrained to the galactic plane any more than globular clusters which are randomly disbursed. This suggests that there my be an unknown process that brings dwarf galaxies to the galaxy's equator... perhaps inflow of intragalactic gas or dark matter.. Makes for a interesting study.

The paper found that the plane of dwarf galaxies around Andromeda wasn't aligned to Andromeda's equator, but (intriguingly) was approximately the plane formed by the line between Andromeda and the Milky Way and the axis of rotation of the Milky Way.

Re:link or it didn't happen (2)

drdread66 (1063396) | about a year ago | (#42500255)

This sounds like a tidal effect from the Milky Way. I will be interested to hear how the analysis & modeling progresses in the future.

Re:link or it didn't happen (1)

Mandrel (765308) | about a year ago | (#42500323)

This sounds like a tidal effect from the Milky Way. I will be interested to hear how the analysis & modeling progresses in the future.

Yeah, could be. I wonder if people are now doing simulations to see if they reproduce the creation of an aligned plane from a uniform halo. It's possible simulations of the Milky Way's interaction with Andromeda hasn't before included orbiting dwarf galaxies.

Re:link or it didn't happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42500147)

Or that dwarf galaxies do not form independently of the larger galaxy they orbit, but are formed from the same Kantian nebula gas (solar system formation model) as the larger galaxy.

Re:link or it didn't happen (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#42500461)

The gravitational forces of objects orbitting a central object will pull those objects into a plane. Imagine two satellites orbiting a planet. One is in an orbit tilted to, say, 2 and 8 on a clock face(/), and the other at 4 and 10 (\). When both satellites are on the same side of the planet, say at 2 and 4, they will pull each other towards 3. Over time they will become coplanar.

Physics.. (1, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | about a year ago | (#42499359)

    Who woulda thunk, matter in and around a galaxy tends to end up in the accretion disk. Mindblowing.

Re:Physics.. (4, Interesting)

Genda (560240) | about a year ago | (#42499631)

This actually still up in the air, we still don't understand the galactic halo, distribution of dark matter and why the rotational velocity of the outer galaxy is so fast. So Where the visible matter in a galaxy is, is far less important that where all that other matter is, and what's causing the dwarf galaxies to do what they do has virtually nothing to do with the galactic disk.

Re:Physics.. (4, Interesting)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about a year ago | (#42499783)

Yes, a truly dizzying fact that in space ithings have this uncanny tendency to spin. So you might have a satellite spining around its axis, then the satellite spinning around host planet, the planet spinning around a star, the star around the galactic core or a local cluster of stars, and the galaxy itelf spinning around a bigger galaxy or local cluster of galaxies, and so forth. I remember one "scientist" postulate that the only thing that doesn't spin is the universe itself because nobody has found any evidence to indicate a "universal" spin.

Re:Physics.. (1)

mister2au (1707664) | about a year ago | (#42500053)

Yikes - you got modded insightful for that ?!?! Funny perhaps but not insightful

The term is accretion disc and galaxies do not have them - an accretion disc forms around stellar and quasi-stellar objects ie stars, black holes, quasers, etc .. by their very nature these dwarf galaxies appear to orbit M31 but are not accreted

Assuming you meant galactic halo, the dwarf galaxies do not form part of the M31 galactic halo either - they are there own entities so that logic does have to hold.

Mindblowing - no ... interesting - yes

Re:Physics.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42500253)

Well, considering that globular clusters don't seem to do that, yeah.

I discovered your mom (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499379)

Talk about a super massive black hole!!

Re:I discovered your mom (1)

Genda (560240) | about a year ago | (#42499663)

Hey spaceboy, try going where no man has gone before... unless spelunking is your thing?

Let's not get over ourselves, shall we? (5, Informative)

Kergan (780543) | about a year ago | (#42499395)

According to the French press (who actually interviewed the kid, rather than reported second hand information), he worked as an interm in his father's lab. His father assigned him stuff so as to give him the opportunity to learn how to code.

By the kid's own admittance in those interviews, his primary interest was to learn to code; and he actually puts forward that he did. It's only later that his father and the latter's colleagues highlighted the importance of his program's findings, and they put his name forward in their article (rightly so) for having programmed the tool needed to show their hunch.

Anyway, not discounting how bright the kid might be (because he seems to be, even though he admittedly found it necessary to ask his math teacher for information on vectors), but can we please keep a cool head with respect to what actually happened? As in, a kiddo got an internship through his father and coded stuff requested by his father, and landed his name in a scientific article courtesy of his father for having written said article?

Re:Let's not get over ourselves, shall we? (1)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about a year ago | (#42499479)

because he seems to be, even though he admittedly found it necessary to ask his math teacher for information on vectors

"even though"? Are you somehow under the impression most smart people personally rederive the entire field of mathematics from scratch without any outside instruction?

Re:Let's not get over ourselves, shall we? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499539)

I think GP was chastising those who thought exactly that.

Re:Let's not get over ourselves, shall we? (1)

Kergan (780543) | about a year ago | (#42499655)

because he seems to be, even though he admittedly found it necessary to ask his math teacher for information on vectors

"even though"? Are you somehow under the impression most smart people personally rederive the entire field of mathematics from scratch without any outside instruction?

Not. But fwiw, at his age, the brightest kids in a the class are frequently looking into what's coming next, as in what's taught a year or two later. On a more personal note, I never felt like an exception in doing so -- the brighter kids in some other classes did as much, and we had the nerdiest of conversations when we shared and discussed our findings. At any rate, at his age, many kids have a rather precise idea of what a vector is, or a matrix for matter. Some actually know enough of the latter to never need to ask about the former.

Also fwiw, and fyi, there actually are people out there who rederive a heck of a lot more than their teachers or peers wish they did. In particular in social sciences. But don't get me started.

Re:Let's not get over ourselves, shall we? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42500289)

At any rate, at his age, many kids have a rather precise idea of what a vector is, or a matrix for matter.

Don't kid yourself. Most kids his age simply recite definitions and follow instructions. They might be able to do both, but they do not understand what they're doing or why it works. This is all thanks to the current state of the public education system.

Then again, it depends on what "many" means to you.

Re:Let's not get over ourselves, shall we? (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year ago | (#42500439)

"even though"? Are you somehow under the impression most smart people personally rederive the entire field of mathematics from scratch without any outside instruction?

Well, yes. Smart people peruse books and other sources, and find out without instructions. Average people need instructions.
A smart person will treat knowledgeable people as information sources, or someone to provide feedback and ideas, but won't need instructions. That's why we consider them smart.

Re:Let's not get over ourselves, shall we? (1)

tommeke100 (755660) | about a year ago | (#42499635)

exactly. he was co-author together with 15 other people He hardly "made" the discovery but still props up to the kid.
Having authored and co-authored a couple of papers, who gets his name on the publication is often function of their networking skills rather than their input in the research, except for those actively doing said research.
I usually had 3 extra people on my papers, that had no real input.

Re:Let's not get over ourselves, shall we? (1)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#42500103)

found it necessary to ask his math teacher for information on vectors

That obviously impressed me more than it did you. Instead of being like most 15yo's (me included) in maths classes muttering "year right... when are we ever going to use this stuff", this kids is thinking "hmmm... I don't know enough stuff to solve this problem yet".

Re:Let's not get over ourselves, shall we? (1)

qwak23 (1862090) | about a year ago | (#42500285)

Related anecdote:

I spent a bit of last year working in my organizations training department, this included updating many of our internal training materials and occasionally giving said training. The use of Mathematics is fairly commonplace where I work, even if it generally does not go beyond a high school level (most positions do not require a college degree). Seeing that many of my coworkers Math skills were fairly weak and being a Math major, I decided to put some together a brief refresher on High School level Mathematics.

When I got to the section on Trigonometry (each section included practical examples of where and how we would apply each type of math), one of my coworkers blurted out: "Crap, my teacher in high school told us we would never EVER use this stuff!"

Re:Let's not get over ourselves, shall we? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year ago | (#42500301)

"Crap, my teacher in high school told us we would never EVER use this stuff!"

And for most people, he was probably right. Of course, to tell everyone that they were never going to use it is another matter.

Re:Let's not get over ourselves, shall we? (1)

qwak23 (1862090) | about a year ago | (#42500335)

"Crap, my teacher in high school told us we would never EVER use this stuff!"

And for most people, he was probably right. Of course, to tell everyone that they were never going to use it is another matter.

Which to me is apalling. For a teacher to state something like that just reinforces any disinterest students may already have for the topic, especially considering at that age most people have no idea what field(s) they will end up working in.

Re:Let's not get over ourselves, shall we? (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#42500369)

they put his name forward in their article (rightly so) for having programmed the tool needed to show their hunch.

Another way to tell the story is that labs have a huge lack of engineers capable to writing code

For crying out loud (4, Insightful)

xigxag (167441) | about a year ago | (#42499417)

However, there's another more important point: what other obvious things we didn't really bother to check?

Oh how I hate those pointless debate-starter questions. They come off as so amateur.

The story stands on its own. There's no real possibility that on a Slashdot thread someone's going to come up with an obvious unchecked thing that in any way compares with this discovery. It's not a "point" anyway, it's a query.

Not to mention the summary being incorrect anyway. It states in the article abstract that "t has previously been suspected that dwarf galaxies may not be isotropically distributed around our Galaxy, because several are correlated with streams of Hi emission, and may form coplanar groups. These suspicions are supported by recent analyses." So it's already been known about the Milky Way, this is just further analysis regarding M31, not some kind of revolutionary insight. And it only involves about half of the dwarf satellites, not all of them. Whatever. Carry on.

Re:For crying out loud (1)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about a year ago | (#42499589)

However, there's another more important point: what other obvious things we didn't really bother to check?

Oh how I hate those pointless debate-starter questions. They come off as so amateur.

We should do a study to see if the distribution of snarky comments based on the article are randomly distributed...

Re:For crying out loud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499593)

I call BS. I start my arrays with 7.

Re:For crying out loud (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499879)

Yo figfag,

I hip checked your mom into the boards so hard last night she came. She told me it reminded her of how you were conceived at that truck stop rest room off I-80.

The most you've accomplished was not ending up as a stain on some dudes ballsack. So you probably shouldn't be one to talk fuck-o.

Obvious things to check (4, Informative)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year ago | (#42499535)

...what other obvious things we didn't really bother to check?

Well, let's see here:

Economics:

1) Sovereign debt is not like ordinary debt, so it's OK for the US to have a large deficit
2) A little inflation is good (but we can't tell you what the best value actually is)

Medicine:

1) Depression is a disease, and not a consequence of another disorder (as "fever" is)
2) Depression meds actually work
3) Obesity can be fixed by a) diet, b) exercise, or c) eating less
4) Every medical study that hasn't been replicated at least once [slashdot.org]

Psychology:

1) Seeing a psychiatrist has more benefit than not seeing one
2) Every study which hasn't been replicated at least once [nature.com] (More info [nature.com])

Social sciences:

1) Every study which hasn't been replicated at least once

Physics, Chemistry, other "hard" sciences:

Nothing, really. Most everything of note has been replicated and confirmed by independent experimenters.

Re:Obvious things to check (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#42500041)

Sovereign debt is not like ordinary debt, so it's OK for the US to have a large deficit

It's good not to get into a position to have to choose by saving up during the good times, but if you do, then most historical evidence is that austerity does NOT work, or at least is no better than do-nothing or a Keynesian stimulus.

If we had parallel Earth's to experiment on, then we could do deeper tests. But, we only got one.

Re:Obvious things to check (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42500275)

Physics, Chemistry, other "hard" sciences

Really? Do you consider Astronomy a "hard" science? We're constantly discovering unexpected things in that field that require changes to theory.

Chemistry? We "discover" new materials all the time. And we still don't really know how it works all the way down to first principles such that we can derive all properties mathematically just by looking at the list of sub-atomic particles. We have more of a somewhat sparse mapping of things that happen when substances collide. With a few theoretical pillars to help point in new directions. (No, I am not a Chemist. So feel free to rake that statement over the coals. But given what I do know, I'd be very surprised if the statement was completely off base).

Even in Physics I'd say we have a thing or three to learn yet. Heck, we're still pushing out the limits of our MATHEMATICS, for that matter (complexity and chaos theory aren't that old, although I haven't kept up with the most recent areas of investigation).

Re:Obvious things to check (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42500319)

Economics:

1) Sovereign debt is not like ordinary debt, so it's OK for the US to have a large deficit

You may want to actually study economics before saying something this ignorant.

This is actually a very well studied area, and there are good reasons why it's not like ordinary debt.

Children are smarter than you think (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499609)

In fact they are smarter than most of the teachers, examiners and professors. The "scam" is perpetuated by the pyramid scheme of employers that "require" a degree costing millions of currency units controlled by banks (who also hack bitcoin clients and gold merchants) and Wikipedia deletionist thugs that are paid to delete the "good stuff" as "not notable". I'm a Wikipedia ex-admin so I know the scam. In fact may smart children are libeled as "autistic" , weirdos or "nerds" and the teachers pay stupid kids and their parents to bully them back into stupidness.

Anonymous Cowards are the bravest cowards. Check your privilege, are you being held down by "the man" (actually the "woman" due to feminist supremacists)

Re:Children are smarter than you think (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499751)

You forgot to mention the sheeple. Don't forget the sheeple.

Re:Children are smarter than you think (0)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#42499809)

Un-referenced un-provable paranoid accusations; excellent troll.

An anonymous cowards are still less brave than than someone with a minuscule amount of bravery

Why not check? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499637)

Even Aristotle was found to be wrong, so why not check things? It's even possible some new insight can be gained.

Who Cares.. they are French! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499659)

FTF.. move on.

Why did no one notice before ? (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | about a year ago | (#42499685)

However, there's another more important point: what other obvious things didn't we really bother to check?

It occurs to me that we have a similar meme: Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow, however it can be surprising how long a nasty bugs can survive in code that many people look at [lwn.net] (unfortunately). Checking is not as exciting as looking for (or writing) something new.

Re:Why did no one notice before ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499933)

They noticed, they just didn't want to fix it due to a low benefit to energy expenditure ratio, however they did document it in bugzilla and they do regularly complain about the lack of it being fixed.

The most remarkable thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42499755)

Is that this kid isn't Asian, Indian or some other gifted race. Instead, he is just white, sadly white.

Summary (1)

Swampash (1131503) | about a year ago | (#42499771)

Slashdot hypes article as "bright teenage coder does something TEH AWESOMEZ!!1", coders who like to think they were bright teenagers lap it up, ad impressions ensue.

Galaxy distribution (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#42499943)

I guess sales are down where Apple has managed to get a ban on Samsung devices.with its patent lawsuits

Why is isotropic obvious? (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year ago | (#42499969)

Who made the assumption that isotropic is obvious? Gravitation in rotation has always tended toward a common plane. So this would have been my assumption.

Not just scientific assumptions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42500055)

According to this paper

      http://pps.sagepub.com/content/7/6/645.full.pdf

the results of most scientific experiments are not reproduced. So much for science being self correcting.

Why the emphasis on the kid? (1)

darkfeline (1890882) | about a year ago | (#42500191)

"Until a 15 year old student, Neil Ibata, working with his father at the astronomic observatory wanted to check it out."

From TFA, "Neil Ibata said he completed work experience with his father’s team to learn about the computer programming language Python.

He told the newspaper Le Monde his father asked him to help out with the coding, and they completed the remarkable modelling within the space of a weekend in September."

My guess is "Boy, aren't you learning Python? C'mere and help me write this for loop" I'm sure half the people here could've wrote a program according to an already-written design when they were 15.

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