• Bitter Crank
    11.2k
    OH GREAT! Another sex scandal, this time in outer space! According to the New York Times, the science writer Dennis Overbye mentioned that James Webb was thought to have either participated in, or done nothing when higher-ups purged gays from the State Department. Didn't hear about that? Not surprising, it happened during the Truman Administration, 1945-1952.

    Now some torqued out astronomers (and others) want James Webb's name taken off the telescope.

    I have no idea what James Webb did at the post WWII State Department. Yes, I am aware that gay people were rousted out of many government and military jobs. The outrage depends entirely on retroactively applying contemporary standards to a past which no longer exists.

    Of course [as a gay man] I reject the hatred, loathing, medicalized diagnoses, criminal status, and so on that added up to gay people's pariah status in the post-WWII period. Being outed by the FBI in 1947 wasn't merely inconvenient, it could be life-wrecking. [As a gay man] I can also accept that this was where society was at in the post-war period. Even a modest organized resistance by gay people didn't emerge until 1950, and didn't achieve noticeable results for at least 20 more years.

    Whether James Webb led the charge in ridding the State Department of gay employees, or looked the other way, he was acting in light of mainstream values of the time, and during a time that did not significantly change for several more decades.

    James Webb's significant achievement was in the very demanding and difficult administration of the APOLLO program. The success of APOLLO was a very big deal. Sure, they could have named this telescope after Pythagoras, Ptolemy, or Pryzblinski, but they didn't. And they should keep the name, especially in the face of people who make it a practice to fly into rages because the past doesn't live up to their expectations.
  • magritte
    495


    It was a weird choice of name to begin with, like renaming a scenic bridge after a local politician's father including the first and last name. Cyclops would have been more appropriate imho.
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    OH GREAT! Another sex scandal, this time in outer space!Bitter Crank

    :rofl: Holy mother of God! What will aliens think of us? We've managed to sully the heavens with our shit!

    The past is so full of mistakes/gaffes/goof ups!
  • magritte
    495
    Webb telescope reveals unpredicted bounty of bright galaxies in early universe
    "if the profusion of early galaxies is real, astronomers may have to fundamentally rethink galaxy formation or the reigning cosmology."

    JWST might be able to detect galaxies less than 200 million years after the Big Bang at redshifts greater than 20, but these galaxies will likely be faint and hard to find. Super bright early galaxies are not predicted by the theory of galaxy formation or by any cosmological theories. Either the observations will prove to be mirages by later followups or one or both major theories will have to be modified to accommodate the new finds.
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    I hope Wayfarer (the OP who some say left TPF for good) is watching this thread. Bon voyage mon ami wherever you are and wherever you're headed!
  • magritte
    495
    Astronomers are cosmic historians. — Agent Smith
    actually this question and tim woods response makes me question whether the study of the evolution of the universe is actually 'history'. The web definition of history is 'the study of past events, particularly in human affairs e.g. "medieval European history".
    Wayfarer
    I think the word "history" is used to create the illusion of science, by the authors. By calling it "history", the metaphysics which consists of speculations about the early universe. is presented as if it might be science.Metaphysician Undercover

    Narratives are spawned from current culture, that of the many, for simple widely acceptable public Wittgensteinian consumption, else from private reflection and imagination based on what each of us finds useful to make some sense of our cultural and experiential immersion in the universe. What generally goes can not be expected to make much sense to any of us in particular, because no one corresponds to us or "our place in the universe". Otherwise math and science that surprise and shock us with discoveries of eddies of the unknown would have no place in our world.
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    Roma uno die non est condita. Too bad, looks lime some of us won't live long enough to see the JWST data analyzed. How long will it take to get to the really juicy stuff, you know paradigm-shifting findings? 5, 10, 15 years? :sad:
  • ssu
    6.5k
    Wow.

    And I can remember the time, not so long ago, that other planets outside our solar system were a theory, even if quite realistic one which the majority believed in.
  • magritte
    495
    Hubble and Webb will work together to showcase the universe across multiple wavelengths of light.
    https://twitter.com/i/status/1567204230464684033
  • Banno
    19.2k
    30Dor-STScI-01GA76RM0C11W977JRHGJ5J26X-2kpx.jpg
    This nebula shines visibly just over from the dark emu in the Australian sky. This view is somewhat more detailed than my small telescope shows.
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    I'm more interested in what they are not showing us! Does anyone have any expertise in infrared technology? If yes, could you please, please, clue us in.
  • magritte
    495
    May not be as hot as airport infrared body images :gasp: but this link gets into how they might be spotting the earliest high-redshift galaxies with near-infrared observations of originally ultraviolet light.
  • 180 Proof
    10.2k
    Frank Drake 1930-2022
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    A walk down memory lane, Galileo's telescope.

  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    The JWST hasn't made any startling new discoveries. :groan: I expected a paradigm shift event to occur. Looks like the JWST is nothing more than an upgraded HST. All that Sturm und Drang, for nothing! Maybe it's too early to comment ... astronomical data take time & money to process. Gotta be optimistic! Oui mes amies?
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    To locate the JWST at a Lagrange point was probably a bad idea. They're gravitational dead zones, the gravitational pulls of different celestial bodies cancelling each other out; perfect spots for (micro)meteors to settle down, call home and cause irreparable damage to supersensitive gold mirrors.
  • Changeling
    1.3k
    Mars.javi2541997

    Your new home.
  • javi2541997
    2.4k
    Your new home.Changeling

    I wish...
  • magritte
    495
    The JWST hasn't made any startling new discoveries. :groan: I expected a paradigm shift event to occur. Looks like the JWST is nothing more than an upgraded HST. All that Sturm und Drang, for nothing! Maybe it's too early to comment ... astronomical data take time & money to process. Gotta be optimistic! Oui mes amies?Agent Smith

    theory ... is just a set of rules and equations ... [however] a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. ― Stephen HawkingnoAxioms

    Scientists are sometimes quick to leap to hyperbole when singing the praises of their megabucks projects even if results can only be seen in comparative charts or new equations. But the JWST goes far to appease the astronomical amateur community by taking telescope time to give enthusiasts just what they've aimed to see in decades of stargazing on cold silent dark moonless mountain tops.

    The universe was here first. We're just visiting for a short while seeing what we can see. Science is a tour guide pointing here and there. Most people are too busy with just staying alive or seeking daily comforts to notice. But then what's life for?
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k


    That's an interesting perspective you have there. It's just a ride, enjoy it, if you can!
  • magritte
    495
    That's an interesting perspective you have there.Agent Smith

    It's the perspective of most scientists, if you ask them.
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    It's the perspective of most scientists, if you ask them.magritte

    I see! :up:
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