A Case Study of a Scientific Blunder. History and Philosophical Teachings
In 1988, in cooperation with a team of experimental physicists, a Condensed
Matter theorist, X, published in Physical Review Letters a crucial experimental
result dealing with a revolutionary new theory. The conclusions of the paper
were proved incorrect a few months later. I discuss the various factors --
scientific, instrumental, but also psychological, sociological ones -- which
led to this blunder. I believe this story sheds some light on the process of
scientific discovery, explanation, falsification, confirmation, and errors.