Regular readers will know this is what we predicted back in December of 2020. Not all, but many, and in some fields nearly all, spectacular findings go this similar route. A sensational splash, assurances of a gleaming future, and the sad, slow, usually undocumented-in-the-media decline.
At the beginning, the enthusiastic progenitors of the New Idea have control of their data and models—and recall all models only say what they are told to say, both good and bad alike. Models therefore look spectacular at first. People think that even if things calm a bit, this New Idea will be still be terrific.
The first small wave of outsiders becomes involved. The progenitors no longer have the same degree of control over the process, but they still have most. The newer results, as all expected, are not as wonderful as at the beginning, but they’re still grand and broadcastable.
Then the second wave of outsiders hits, much larger than the first; then the third, fourth, and so on. The control of the progenitors has diminished to something small, maybe even zero.
The results are now lackluster, or have vanished. What was at first so promising has revealed itself to just yet another ho-hum thing. Nobody can understand how. Complete mystification among Experts—many of whom, flummoxed by the rapid changes, revert to quoting only the results of the beginning.
This is the most common story in science.