On Two Outcomes


“There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you’ve made a discovery. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you’ve made a discovery.”

– Enrico Fermi

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19 thoughts on “On Two Outcomes

  1. In Nuclear Principles in Engineering (2005) by Tatjana Jevremovic, p. 397, Fermi is quoted as saying “There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you’ve made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you’ve made a discovery.” The version that has been published above however, is wittier and sharper in its delivery.

  2. “There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you’ve made a discovery. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you’ve made a discovery.” Enrico Fermi.
    “If the result is a matter of faith, you’ve invented religion” Sha’Tara

  3. I’ve done a lot of religion, never done drugs. In retrospect religion was a good substitute. Fortunately, I’m now recovered (yes, just like a car seat!). I got shaken up when I saw that the side effects of religiosity were actually much worse than those from drug use. By the way, where have YOU been? You leave us for weeks, and not a word? I ask you, is that fair when we’ve become dependent on your charm and wit to get through just one week? Or did I forget to check the magic square that says, Notify me of new comments via email?

  4. Actually, I couldn’t – my laptop died over New Year’s and I couldn’t notify anyone. I waited for a repair disk, and when that wouldn’t resurrect it, had to wait for a replacement computer, which came with its own issues, which are now finally resolved, and TA-DAA!!

  5. Well, thank GOD you’re back! Now try not to wreck that new computer! Behave, eh?
    Sorry, that’s my dyslexia, I meant thank DOG!

  6. You may find this passing strange but my knowledge of wines is abysmal, even though I was actually born in France… and I speak the language… and I have that citizenship also (but I’ve never tried sailing it: I heard what Nelson did to the French navy. :-) Of course I could have impressed everybody by Googling Merlot, but I don’t even know if it’s a red or a white, sweet or dry. Yup, this “girl” is kinda from the sticks of the Canadian north countree where we drank swamp water (the real thing, from dug-outs in the gumbo, Orange Crush, Kik cola and Nabob coffee. But it sure sounds like a great idea. Let’s make it a threesome: Kuba, yourself and I. We can laugh at the insanity of earth and drown our sorrows in a (assuming here) great little wine. Got a new computer today – a netbook for portability – and I’m taking it for a test drive tomorrow, after I pick it up. Do wish me luck with that, hey?

  7. A Merlot is a rather woodsy red.

    Good luck with the tablet – I have a lot of friends who love them. A couple, however have complained about the auto-correct finishing sentences for them, oft times saying something the user had never intended, but I suppose you can turn that feature off in the book’s Preferences.

    The threesome sounds good, but I sense we’re going to need really long straws.

  8. Nope, not a tablet, a netbook: a smaller laptop version with all the regular features of a normal computer, Windows environment, speed, half terabyte hard drive and option to replace standard hard drive with solid state if I choose, down the road. Straws, yes, something a little longer than the standard old-fashion red-striped “Sweetheart” straws.

  9. Sounds like a cool machine. My first computer had a 250 Meg hard drive, if you can believe that. I was an early computer user. 250 Megs to half a terabyte in less than twenty years – amazing!

  10. Wandering down memory lane… my first XT – 1987 – was also a 256 with a dual 3-1/2 and 5 inch floppies system. Monitor was a monochrome. My first portable, couple of years later, was 3 inches thick, and it’s operating DOS system, and any program (I used Word Perfect for writing) were booted from one 3-1/2 floppy, the other floppy was for data storage. No hard drive. It was a Sanyo, I think, maybe Sony. Did you read about Stephen Hawkins’ warnings about technology getting out of control, and what it is doing to the planet? I also read the comment recently that man’s technology has outstripped his ability to understand and control it. Does technology proceed on the assumption that there are reasons and needs for “things” or simply that scientists and innovators proceed on the assumption that they will be well-remunerated for their inventions and concoctions? While I’m on a roll, what does it say of our world when the US Department of Defense is the largest energy user in the world? I heard it on a video last night but had heard that many times before. How big a jump from my netbook to the next weapon of mass destruction? I suppose one could go on and on with the rhetorical questions. Point is, no one can say, I’m not part of it.

  11. Well, as you should know by now, I would never stop you in mid-rant. Why subject you to the frustration of rantus interrruptus –?

    Want to see a puzzled look? Show this to a kid today —

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