May 23, 2022

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Fabiola Gianotti at the CERN laboratory in Geneva

Had a long and informative chat with Fabiola Gianotti. Dr. Gianotti, as you know, is in her second term at the head of CERN in Geneva, the European Center for Nuclear Research. She has a Sicilian maternal root, a humanistic background, graduated in piano, loves the arts and has – in speaking – a perpetual vein of sarcasm. Irony, self-irony, and lightness are always good signs: they are in the second round, on the path to knowledge.

Gianotti is also a particle physicist. There has been talk of how to discover the truth, if the truth exists: if there is a way. I’ve said twice of course: the truth is there, and there is a way. Then he added with a smile: It can be said that science is the antidote to false news and lies. But not the results of science, formulas and discoveries. No, it’s not the end of the journey: the beginning. “The scientific method is a procedure that starts from skepticism and reaches evidence. That is, it will be necessary to know. How to do it, not where to go.”

It seems to me that there is a major misunderstanding in public discourse: comparing opposing positions is suggested as the “honest” and “correct” way forward. Offer everyone a forum. Except that “method” only works this way on the first bars. Along the way, hypotheses contrary to the truth are excluded. For example: If you bomb a house and kill everyone, the first step is to check that the house was bombed and the dead are dead. Having explained this, the “aggression does not exist” hypothesis leaves the field forever. There are those who invade and those who invade. From there we go. Effort, but without excuses and without field interests and without hypocrisy.

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