Tuesday, August 16, 2016 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Cold summer, mushrooms, Czech wine, \(17\MeV\) boson

Central Europe is experiencing one of the coldest Augusts in recent memory. (For example, Czechia's top and oldest weather station in Prague-Klementinum broke the record cold high for August 11th, previously from 1869.) But it's been great for mushroom pickers.

When you spend just an hour in the forest, you may find dozens of mushrooms similar to this one-foot-in-diameter bay bolete (Czech: hřib hnědý [brown], Pilsner Czech: podubák). I don't claim that we broke the Czech record today.

Also, the New York Times ran a story on the Moravian (Southeastern Czechia's) wine featuring an entrepreneur who came from Australia to improve the business. He reminds me of Josef Groll, the cheeky Bavarian brewmaster who was hired by the dissatisfied dignified citizens of Pilsen in 1842 and improved the beer in the city by 4 categories. Well, the difference is that the Moravian wine has never really sucked, unlike Pilsen's beer, except for the Moravian beer served to the tourists from Prague, as NYT also explains.

Hat tip: the U.S. ambassador.

More seriously, the April 2016 UC Irvine paper that showed much more confidence in the bold 6.8-sigma claims about the evidence for a new \(17\MeV\) gauge boson was published in PRL, probably the most prestigious place where such papers may be published. UC Irvine released a press release to celebrate this publication.

Again, it would be wonderful if this new boson existed. But people around the Hungarian team have the record of having made many similar claims in the past – I don't want to go into details which people, how they overlapped, and how many claims here (see e.g. this discussion) – and \(17\MeV\) is a typical energy from the regime of nuclear physics which is a very messy emergent discipline of science. So there's a big risk that numerous observable effects in this regime may be misattributed and misinterpreted.

The right "X boson" to explain the observation has to be "protophobic" – its interactions with electrons and neutrons must be nonzero but its interactions with protons have to vanish. This may look extremely unnatural but maybe it's not so bad.

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