Where passions run deep
A quote from this article: the scientific battle over what causes sand dunes to sing has become so intense that the two physicists at the heart of the dispute can no longer bear to work in the same laboratory. To find out more about this intense battle, be sure to read the very long -- and very interesting -- story that I have linked to below, and from which I have extracted this quote: Sand-dune science may not dominate the research-funding agenda, but unravelling the mystery of the singing dunes offers a valuable insight into how science is done. With motivations for tackling particular problems varying between individuals, and personal relationships lying at the core of any scientific research, only the most hardened positivist can claim that science proceeds by some idealistic hypothetico-deductive process devoid of all human influence.
Here is a website I found where you can actually hear the sound of the singing dunes. Be sure to click on it -- it's a low rumble that is both eerie and ominous.
Where passions run deep (November 2006) - Physics World - PhysicsWeb
The puzzle of “singing sand dunes” shows how conflict is central to scientific progress.
The media coverage of this year’s Nobel prize underlined the excitement that cosmology generates, but passions can run just as deep in more down-to-earth subjects too. This is perfectly illustrated by our cover story this month about the strange sounds created by “singing sand dunes”, a phenomenon that was first reported by Marco Polo and other travellers some 700 years ago. Several groups of physicists are now vying to explain how these strange, low-frequency drones are produced by nothing more than piles of sand.
It sounds like a fun question to tackle, but the scientific battle over what causes sand dunes to sing has become so intense that the two physicists at the heart of the dispute can no longer bear to work in the same laboratory. The full story (see "The troubled song of the sand dunes") dramatically illustrates how emotion and tension are central to science. And while it is absurd to argue that the laws of physics are only human inventions that do no reflect an underlying truth, as some sociologists of science like to argue, the sand-dune story shows that scientific progress has a very human side.