Still Plenty of Fruit to Pick from the Tree of Science

Some pessimists have argued for imminent economic stagnation on the grounds that technological progress depends on new scientific knowledge and that we already pretty much know all there is to know about science. One way in which they are wrong is that the process of scientific discovery still has a long way to go before we fully understand the world. (If C.S. Peirce was right in saying that truth is the result of infinite inquiry, then we will never fully understand the world.)

(p. A1) Evidence is mounting that a tiny subatomic particle seems to be disobeying the known laws of physics, scientists announced on Wednesday, a finding that would open a vast and tantalizing hole in our understanding of the universe.

The result, physicists say, suggests that there are forms of matter and energy vital to the nature and evolution of the cosmos that are not yet known to science. The new work, they said, could eventually lead to breakthroughs more dramatic than the heralded discovery in 2012 of the Higgs boson, a particle that imbues other particles with mass.

“This is our Mars rover landing moment,” said Chris Polly, a physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, or Fermilab, in Batavia, Ill., who has been working toward this finding for most of his career.

The particle célèbre is the muon, which is akin to an electron but far heavier, and is an integral element of the cosmos. Dr. Polly and his colleagues — an international team of 200 physicists from seven countries — found that muons did not behave as predicted when shot through an intense magnetic field at Fermilab.

The aberrant behavior poses a firm challenge to the Standard Model, the suite of equations that enumerates the fundamental particles in the universe (17, at last count) and how they interact.

“This is strong evidence that the muon is sensitive to something that is not in our best theory,” said Renee Fatemi, a physicist at the University of Kentucky.

. . .

(p. A19) For decades, physicists have relied on and have been bound by the Standard Model, which successfully explains the results of high-energy particle experiments in places like CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. But the model leaves many deep questions about the universe unanswered.

Most physicists believe that a rich trove of new physics waits to be found, if only they could see deeper and further. The additional data from the Fermilab experiment could provide a major boost to scientists eager to build the next generation of expensive particle accelerators.

For the full story, see:

Dennis Overbye. “A Particle’s Tiny Wobble Could Upend the Known Laws of Physics.” The New York Times (Friday, April 16, 2021): A1 & A19.

(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed year, added.)

(Note: the online version of the article was updated April 9, 2021, and has the title “A Tiny Particle’s Wobble Could Upend the Known Laws of Physics.”)

My point at the start of this entry is directly relevant to my argument in the first half of the last chapter of:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

“A Public Choice Analysis of Mandated Randomized Double-Blind Clinical Trials”

My “A Public Choice Analysis of Mandated Randomized Double-Blind Clinical Trials” was presented on April 13, 2021 in the Law & Economics session of the Association of Private Enterprise Education meetings. I am grateful to Ray DeGennaro and Matthew McClanahan for including me in McClanahan’s session and to Lauren Nicole Hughes for recording the session on her smartphone.

To some extent, the presentation was an outgrowth of my book:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Cafe Hayek Quotes from Openness Book on Happiness

Posted by Arthur Diamond on Friday, April 2, 2021

Don Boudreaux quotes from my Openness to Creative Destruction book on Cafe Hayek, the blog he runs with Russ Roberts.

My book is:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Video of Diamond Q&A on Innovation Unbound Posted to YouTube

On 3/17/21 Derek Yonai posted my 3/16/21 live Q&A session related to my “Innovation Unbound” lecture that was recorded on 3/1/21 and posted on 3/9/21. Some of my lecture and some of my answers in the Q&A, were related to my book:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Diamond’s Innovation Unbound Lecture Posted to YouTube

Dr. Derek Yonai of the Koch Center for Leadership and Ethics posted on Tues., March 9, 2021 my half-hour lecture on how regulations bind innovators. The lecture is related to my book:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Wheaton Economist Seth Norton Reviews Openness to Creative Destruction

Seth Norton wrote a thorough, gracious, and enthusiastic review of my book Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining…

Posted by Arthur Diamond on Sunday, February 7, 2021

My book is:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Founder Re-Acquires StubHub

In my book Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism, I praise project entrepreneurs for having as their main goal, not wealth or fame, but making a ding in the universe (to use Steve Jobs’s phrase). I also suggest that they are more likely to succeed, in part because they are more likely to stick with the venture they founded. But there may be exceptions to my narrative. Eric Baker sounds like a project entrepreneur who left his start-up because of conflicts with his co-founder, and who now is back in charge.

(p. B4) Eric Baker long envisioned bringing together the two ticketing companies he started.

This week eBay Inc. agreed to sell its StubHub unit, a business Mr. Baker launched nearly two decades ago, to Geneva-based Viagogo Entertainment Inc., the ticketing firm with a large European presence he has been running since 2006.

The $4.05 billion all-cash deal would create a global ticketing juggernaut in the booming business of live events. It would also put StubHub back in the hands of the person who early on saw the opportunity in the legitimate resale of tickets.

. . .

“You had to pay through the nose or find people on the street corner to purchase from,” says Mr. Baker. He felt there had to be a better, more efficient way to find tickets and imagined that could happen online.

He headed to Stanford Graduate School of Business that fall and, together with classmate Jeff Fluhr, started StubHub—then called Liquid Seats—in 2000.

. . .

Mr. Baker and Mr. Fluhr—who was chief executive and had majority ownership of the company—had their differences, and in 2004 Mr. Baker left at the board’s direction, said people familiar with the decision.

. . .

When eBay bought StubHub in 2007, Mr. Baker says he opposed the deal. “It’s rare you have the opportunity to have a business like that,” he says. “To me, you try to hold on to something that’s working.”

For the full story, see:

Anne Steele. “StubHub Acquisition Puts Co-Founder Back in Charge.” The Wall Street Journal (Monday, December 2, 2019): B4.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date November 29, 2019, and has the title “The Tale Behind StubHub’s Sale: How Eric Baker Bought Back the Ticket Seller.”)

My book, mentioned above, is:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Art Diamond Interviewed on Robustly Redundant Labor Markets

I was interviewed early on Mon., October 26, 2020 on Jim Blasingame’s Small Business Advocate radio program on my concept paper “Ending Persistent Poverty by Enabling Robustly Redundant Labor Markets.” The concept paper earned the second place award in a Charles Koch Institute competition on how to end persistent poverty. The concept of a robustly redundant labor market was briefly discussed in my book Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism.

Diamond’s book, mentioned above, is:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Manship’s Heroic Prometheus Sculpture Celebrates “the Promise of the Future”

I wanted to use a photo of Manship’s Prometheus sculpture on the cover of my book Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. My editor vetoed my choice on the grounds that Prometheus was a male and the cover design needed to be gender-neutral.

(p. C14) Think a minute, then name an outdoor sculpture in Manhattan. Chances are, you chose the gilded image of Prometheus at the heart of Rockefeller Center, . . .

. . .

In conceiving his urban commercial complex, John D. Rockefeller Jr. wanted to celebrate civilization, human achievement and the promise of the future.

. . .

It’s a very serious, and very handsome, Prometheus that Manship fashioned. He chose to depict the moment after the titan has stolen the fire and is descending to Earth, signified in the sculpture by the summit behind him, and by the sea as portrayed by the pool beneath him. Prometheus, eyes wide open, looks down toward his destination. His youthful, strong-featured face betrays not worry exactly, but acknowledgment that he will face consequences from an angry Zeus, who did not want mankind to rival the gods in any way. But Prometheus is determined to give humanity the flame in his right hand, held above his head, almost triumphantly. With his outstretched left arm, he balances himself—and Manship balances his heroic sculpture.

. . .

Manship also added an element to the whole: He suggested the quote from Aeschylus that is carved in bold capital letters on the wall behind his work, strengthening its seamless link to its setting: “Prometheus, teacher in every art, brought the fire that hath proved to mortals a means to mighty ends.”

Manship thus delivered a powerful piece of statement art.

. . .

. . . —Prometheus stands out. He is a marvel within a larger urban marvel.

For the full story, see:

Judith H. Dobrzynski. “MASTERPIECE; A Monument of Titanic Beauty.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, August 22, 2020): C14.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Aug. 21, 2020, and has the same title as the print version.)

Simison Interviews Diamond on Mazzucato

Recently I was interviewed by Bob Simison for his profile of economist Mariana Mazzucato that appeared in the current issue of Finance & Development, an official publication of the International Monetary Fund. Mazzucato believes that innovation should be more centrally funded and directed by governments. Simison mentions my book Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism, and summarizes my claim that for innovation to flourish entrepreneurs need the freedom to pursue serendipity, hunches, and trial-and-error experiments.

(p. 50) To economist Arthur Diamond of the University of Nebraska,Omaha, Mazzucato’s thesis sounds too much like centrally planned industrial policy, which he argues won’t work because government is inherently unable to foster innovation. In his 2019 book, Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism, he argues that what drives innovation is entrepreneurs who are deeply immersed in their subject and able to benefit from serendipity, pursuing hunches, and plain old trial and error.

“Government decision-makers won’t be as immersed in the problems, won’t have the detailed information, and won’t be in a position to follow hunches toward breakthrough solutions,” Diamond says.

For Simison’s full profile of Mazzucato, see:

Simison, Bob. “Economics Agitator.” Finance & Development 57, no. 3 (Sept. 2020): 48-51.

(Note: in the original article, the title of my book was italicized.)

My book mentioned above is:

Diamond, Arthur M., Jr. Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.