A nice amateur video of the sun and the planet orbiting the galaxy angers astronomers…

An amateur seems to be challenging scientists with a little bit of visual imagination.  He produced a computer animation showing the motion of the planets around the Sun as the Sun orbits around the Milky Way Galaxy. It’s beautiful and it renders the travel of the Sun and its planets as if they were some sort of vortex through the galaxy.

Many astronomers have step up to debunk his claims, as seems to be based on of the claim is that the planets aren’t orbiting the Sun heliocentrically, but are instead a vortex going around the galaxy.

One of them even explains that « Normally I wouldn’t bother debunking stuff like this; wacky claims are made all the time and usually disappear on their own. But in this case I’m getting a lot of people telling me about it, so clearly it’s popular—probably because it seems superficially right, and it has very nice graphics.  »

I was first impressed by the videos, convinced by the explanations of its critics, but this kind of arrogant reaction made me feel that something else was at stake. All these brilliant scientists contradicted by some wacky with nice graphics… by an amateur?

The scientific base of the video is wrong, but how come nobody else cared about trying to show something like that in such a clear way – or how about nobody succeeded?

The comparison might be unfair, but there are some arrogants scientists who should remember that Watson and Crick beat their colleagues who were trying to discover the structure of the DNA through X-Ray diffraction mainly because they were using very simple wooden balls and metal sticks to try to recreate the model by hand.

Is the Solar System Really a Vortex?

I wouldn’t call them amateurs – even if…, but what’s wrong with being able to do nice graphics and to think in terms of design?

via Is the Solar System Really a Vortex?

In the New Yorker: The Power of the Amateur – how a truck driver became the best historian on the first atomic bombs

Atomic John - The New Yorker

It’s fascinating to witness the power of amateurs. They bloom where the scientists and experts let them live – outside of their bureaucratic and costly framework. In the field of archeology, it probably needed to be within some kind of techno post-modern archeology. The study of the roman empire is too crowded by distinguished researchers. But the study of the atomic bombs that exploded 70 years ago is a fresh field for anyone to enter. Especially for truck drivers. What a breeze.

Via: Atomic John – The New Yorker.