Sunday, November 06, 2005

Workin' Hard

Posting's been light lately, because I'm swamped at work.

I'm still working on the never-ending paper, which has its genesis in my now-ancient master's thesis about black hole-galaxy evolution. The reason this has taken years to develop is that my analysis showed something rather peculiar -- a controversial result, and the opposite of what I expected. I can't go into details as of yet, but the graphics below provide clues as to the nature of the paper. The reason this result is controversial is because there is no theoretical explanation for it (yet!) If I publish, I will be the first person to make such a claim on the basis of strong observational evidence. My thesis advisor is worried about the potential for embarrassment, but the only exciting premises are the risky ones.

A central galactic supermassive black hole.

The expected result would have required little justification, but now I have an extraordinary claim, and as Carl Sagan once said, an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence. I have been running simulations (the last of which finished this morning) to check for bias in the data. The sims show my conclusion is likely not the result of some kind of observational bias -- it is probably real.

The galaxy M104 seen edge-on. Deep in the center of the bulge lurks a supermassive black hole.

My group is very excited, but this is nerve-wracking stuff. You don't want to go to press only to find out you made some stupid mistake that obliterates your conclusion. Hence the caution that has strung this project out for years.

Once this paper is accepted for publication, I'll post something about it. In the meantime, posting will likely continue to be light (from my end, anyway) for the next couple of weeks.


Blogger Mr. Completely said...

I've been following your references to your research and I'm looking forward to reading more when your paper is published. It sounds really interesting!

....Mr. Completely

11/10/2005 8:26 AM  
Blogger Stickwick Stapers said...

Thanks, I think so, too!

The review process can take months, so it may be a while before you hear more about this...

11/10/2005 11:35 PM  
Blogger Rusticus said...


11/11/2005 4:03 PM  

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