Things that are not as cool as they sound. AND: can this physicist make it any more obvious that he’s trying to cash in?

Reuters headline: “U.S. scientists learn how to levitate tiny objects

What you think: “Finally, we get to tell gravity to suck it!”

Inside of article:

They said they had detected and measured a force that comes into play at the molecular level using certain combinations of molecules that repel one another.

Wait, so this is basically just the quantum-mechanical equivalent of putting the north side of two magnets together? That’s not really spooky levitation in the ordinary sense, now is it? Ok, not cool. But, at least some scientists did something interesting. Let’s read on.

The team, including researchers at the National Institutes of Health, has not yet levitated an object, but Capasso said he now knows how to do it. “This is an experiment we are sure will work,” he said. His team has already filed for patents.

Quite.

“I started to think how can I use these exotic quantum mechanical forces for technology,” he said in a telephone interview.

When the scientist actually has to describe his own work to the journalist as “exotic,” I become profoundly underwhelmed. PR tip: you’re supposed to get other people to think your work is exotic. You’re not supposed to just tell them it is. Actually, you know, doing the experiment before filing for the patent and holding the press conference might help some.

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5 Responses to “Things that are not as cool as they sound. AND: can this physicist make it any more obvious that he’s trying to cash in?”

  1. Jeff Albert Says:

    I haven’t actually made that million selling free jazz CD, but I know how. I’m sure it will work.

  2. Paul Gowder Says:

    Please, Jeff. *Exotic* million selling free jazz CD.

  3. Jeff Albert Says:

    will you be my manager?

  4. Paul Gowder Says:

    Thanks Jeff. My psychiatric bills will be coming in the mail.

  5. Jeff Albert Says:

    I think shrink bills are recoupable, as long as you share the meds with the band.

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