THE SENTENTIOUS BOUNCERS:


HOW PHYSICS EDITORS KEEP OUT UNDESIRABLE COMERS

Can you see the deception behind cogent-sounding language?

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THE-FOUNDATION-IS-THE-FRONTIER SERIES
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Essays on:
Physics in the Twenty-first Century

Series Introduction
Series Index

by

Bibhas De

Copyright 2001-2006 by Bibhas R. De


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Are you familiar with the comedy of Norm Crosby who likes to drink decapitated coffee and speaks about an artifact who designed a certain building?

This is a Television personality who specializes in speaking in smooth, high-flowing, flowery language with misspoken words, whose sound and gravitas so captivate your attention that you do not at first scrutinize the content. He may be talking absolute nonsense. Or he may be insulting you. If he told you in great oration (and with great admiration for you evident on his smiling face) that “You are such an extinguished and magnified gentleman…”, you would be greatly flattered. You instinctively invoke in your mind the words “distinguished” and “magnificent”, and are pleased as punch. But whaddy really say?

The point: Effective language, combined with its context and circumstances and other trappings, can be used to perpetrate great distortion of truth or reality.

When the linguistically-muscular physics editors bounce undesirable elements, they use an intellectual version of the same trick. And this is no comedy. Most “rejectees” think they have received great attention and great consideration, when in fact they have been forcefully bounced. For example, if an editor rejects your paper with the very polite and kind and constructive suggestion “The author might wish to submit his paper more appropriately to the American Journal of Physics", you would be upset at the rejection but consoled by the fact that the paper was considered worthy of publication. But what did he really say? He said: “You moron, you have the gall to think that you can write a research paper?!”. The American Journal of Physics, you see, is a pedagogic journal of a teachers’ association, concerned with effectiveness of teaching known physics.

Have you ever wondered why scientific journals are started with the noble objective of advancing truth and knowledge, and are very quickly immersed in rules, regulations, bylaws and subclauses and God knows what else – all designed to strangle truth? It is like the strangler fig – after a while the magnificent original tree dies, withers and crumbles away, and only the shell of strangler vines remains – sadly mimicking the original shape and structure and appearance of the late great tree.


[Source: umces.edu]


Julian Schwinger on physics peer review process


Physical Review Letters:
Proudly helping bogusify science

THE VAUNTED PHYSICS PEER REVIEW SYSTEM: WHAT A CROCK OF ....!

Physics peer review hanky panky:

INTRODUCTION

When you set up an organization and wish to do some hanky panky from within it, the first thing you should do is to set yourself up an umbrella of a very noble and expansive cause. You can think of your own examples from current world affairs. With the physics journals, this umbrella is the maintenance of high quality in scientific publication. With that noble objective, they have set up a ‘constitution’, or rulebook, to maintain that objective. In practice, this rulebook is entirely irrelevant when it comes to publishing the entitled folks who know how to play the game. For them, the "peer review system" works smoothly, and in a cooperative and collegial manner. The rulebook needs to be activated only for the unentitled folks; the undesirable submitters; the smelly indigents. The rulebook gets thrown at them. So it works out very well. It is much like the Penal Code – entirely inconsequential for the law-abiding citizens, but the bane of the criminal types.

Within the academic physics establishment, there is the appearance of continuous soul-searching and great angst with regard to the peer review system – its benefits, its drawbacks, its fairness, its possible reforms, etc. I do not wish here to add to that seemingly high-minded, but in truth hackneyed and pointless, discourse. But it has an insidious purpose. I point out some hidden trends of the referee process that are deliberately kept masked by the above noisy discourse. I am not saying that individual physicists are dishonest and dishonorable, but that they knowingly participate in a collective dishonest and dishonorable enterprise.

Let us exemplify: An unentitled person (typically an unknown non-academic writing from a P. O. Box address or a little-known organization; or even a former academic who no longer has a home institution) trying to advance a new idea, a proof, that goes in the face of existing knowledge will have theorems and lemmas and principles and laws thrown at him. The guy would be stoned to death with these, but he will not be told what is actually wrong with his proof. The editor will then cite a number of rules why this paper cannot be published: It is not "current" research; it will not be of interest to our readers; and so on. Now, hold on a moment! A truly new result may well and properly go in the face of theorems etc. And what do these rules just cited have to do with advancing truth and knowledge? This is elite hanky panky - pure and simple. The editors and reviewers are all consciously participating in it. Do not let the academics tell you otherwise with their ever-ready, cogent language. An entitled person (typically a physics professor from a big-time university), however, can break any number of accepted tenets, and proceed with his navel contemplation. He can violate the great conservation principles, he can introduce new dimensions of space, he can set up his own fantasy universe and calculate the stuffings out of it - and yet, publication is assured. If you were somehow able to challenge them on this, they have their cogent language ready: The latter is a case of "advanced physics", allowing for unrestrained imaginative latitude and intellectual horizon, etc et al.

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?!

One might say that the “bouncees” are a small number of people, and therefore this is not a big deal. And most of these people are probably untrained amateurs and indefatigable cranks and hopeful wannabes anyway. There has to be a provision for dealing with them in a summary manner. The system works for the vast majority of people it was designed to work for. So what’s the point of this tirade? Actually, I do not have a good answer to this utilitarian argument. I would actually agree with this position if the editors had the ability, upon an initial glace, to tell what is fool’s gold and what is a nugget. Today, they do not. They are shallow bureaucrats (their physics degrees notwithstanding), who go entirely by appearances. The result may be that you load up on fool’s gold, and leave behind the nuggets. But you will not know this until much later, when you have reached home and the experts have tested your cache. Your entire goldrush expedition has been wasted, and much of your life has been wasted.

Most, if not all, physics journals today follow a tacit policy that any papers trying to reopen “old and closed” chapters of physics will be summarily rejected. If a paper resurrects the ether theory in some form, it will be rejected. If an author questions Maxwell’s Equations, he will be rejected. If an idea concerns questioning a fundamental constant of physics, it will be rejected. Now stop and think: What is the meaning of this policy? It declares that all the physics that has been established to date is without flaw and beyond question. Do you find this widely adopted policy wise or unwise? I find it neither. I find it to be an approach of momentous impact, stemming from great ignorance. Let me leave you with just one of many examples I can cite. A man on the fringes of physics, name of Ilya Prigogine, questioned in modern times long accepted principles of Thermodynamics – a very old and a very closed subject. He faced much persecution. Today it is known that he is essentially correct. A great many workers today are coming to question Electromagnetic Theory – another very old and a very closed subject. The journals are keeping them out.

If Maxwell’s Equations need extension, that would of course be of no interest whatsoever to these editors. But if one of our sister universes needs a nose job, all due haste would be applied. You laugh?! Man you just don’t understand! There are lofty considerations involved here that are far above your head.

Bad doctors and bad actors, bad ballplayers and bad bricklayers – all get found out sooner or later. But there are no mechanisms to bring to light bad editors and bad referees. The journals keep the information under wraps. Occasionally, when the public gets a whiff of things (such as a journal rejecting a paper which later received the Nobel Prize), then and only then, the journal itself puts out some type of mea culpa, but makes it sound like a noble confessional, tinged with a little intellectual humour (Well whaddya know, even us Gods sometimes stumble, he he…). Rather than tarring and feathering these blighters, you praise them for their honesty and forthrightness and self-deprecation. It does not occur to you that they were going to get away with it had it not been for the high profile Prize. It does not occur to you how many other discoveries they must have scuttled in this way. A great many inappropriate and incompetent and dishonest and dishonourable referees are operating today under the invincible shield of anonymity - a shield that was created with all the good intention in mind.

The Age of Internet permits us today to speak of such taboo subjects.

BEEN VACCINATED LATELY?!

Modern hypodermic needles are so fine that you do not even feel the prick. But they have administered a potent vaccine which will act on you. This is what being scammed by the modern physics intellectuals is like. You will not know in a million years that they have vaccinated you. You will find other reasons why the change that is happening to you is happening. You may even start admitting to yourself your own inadequacy in contributing in a highly intellectual field. You may even develop deep depression and paranoia. Your colleagues will reinforce your self-doubt, and hasten your scientific demise. Let me illustrate with only one example from the arsenal of intellectual scamming techniques the physics editors use.

With a physics journal, there are perfectly legitimate, even unavoidable, reasons to split it into various disciplines (e.g., Nuclear Physics, Condensed Matter Physics, Interdisciplinary Physics …). But what the editors do is use this good custom to pervert the system. This is like quoting from the scriptures to justify hanky panky.

So you submit a paper that can be construed as straddling the boundaries of disciplines. This is true with many novel ideas today. You submit it to the journal Happening Physics A, because that is where the main thrust of paper lies, although it has some elements of Happening Physics C. Now, the editor of A politely tells you that this is not appropriate for his journal, and that it is more appropriate for Happening Physics C. OK, so you resubmit the paper to that journal, or it is automatically transferred to that journal. The editor of C says: It is an interdisciplinary subject, so it is more appropriate for Happening Physics E. OK, it goes to Happening Physics E. There the editor says: Although your manuscripts contains some interdisciplinary aspects, it seems more suited to Happening Physics A or Happening Physics C. At this stage, you do not know if to laugh or cry. What do you do now? If you are a stubborn and obstinate little number, you go to the Editor-in-Chief of all these journals. The Chief replies: You case file has been reviewed and found to be complete and in order. The rejection is upheld.

This is a highly sophisticated technique that combines the basic concepts of shell game, ping pong, pass-the-buck and loop-the-loop. Who can you convince that you have been wronged? You have received a lengthy due process! Many editors have spent their valuable time on your paper. Yet, the content of your paper was never once addressed. You have spent one year of your life seeking publication. You have a few more grey hairs, and you are little more cynical and bitter, and people around you are ever more convinced that you are a crackpot. Every time you will submit in the future, you will dread that what you will receive in reply is not a business-size envelope with a single sheet in it, but a large fat Manila envelope. The vaccine has worked. They have vaccinated you against the bug that urges you to submit.

Of course the public will be told that editors have no obligation in the matter of your personal trauma. They have to be objective scientists. Very true! But have they been objective? The hidden truth is that they are most interested in your personal trauma: In giving you trauma. You see, most editors have a mental list of who (among repeat submitters) they consider crackpot submitters. They also have mental criteria (never written down or openly discussed) on what characteristics of a manuscript identify it as a crackpot manuscript. And the above example is just one of many ways they have developed to deal with same.

A PERFECTED DEFENSE MECHANISM

We have so far talked about the hanky panky that editors, referees et al – i.e. people behind a journal – engage in. However, the scientific community also uses their journals to their advantage. Here is how it works.

Suppose you are an outsider with some criticism of some insider's work. You send a message to that insider. Chances are he does not respond; he does not give you the time of day. You try various others things, but no matter what you do, you can not get anyone inside to listen to you. You cannot get a rise out of anyone. Then you find a way to force the issue. May be through your connection with your cousin the rock star you get on Oprah, and use her loudhailer. The establishment is now forced to respond. Yes!! What do they do? Their big stuffed suits get together and hold an urgent meeting – it is after all Oprah we are talking about. They then issue a very cogent, very reasonable, very just position statement: Please (please!) publish your criticism in one of our refereed journals, and we will promptly respond in that forum. Who can find fault with this? Even Oprah says that this is a most honest position.

Ok, you are an outsider, and you may not know how to play the game of writing a professional scientific paper. You may not have access to all the current journal articles that may have some bearing on your criticism. You may not have access to large computers to write and develop huge codes to do some calculations. You may not even know how to write codes. All of these things may be completely unnecessary to make your point, but the editors and referees will cleverly use these as legitimate-sounding grounds to scuttle your paper. And the public will naturally side with such an open-minded community. You have received due process! In the end, you will not have a leg to stand on. You will lick your wounds and curl up and never do physics again.

By the time they are finished with you, they will have performed a lobotomy on you, without anyone realizing this – least of all you yourself. The bogus science that you were criticizing will continue to be enshrined.

By the time they are finished with you, you are a weirdo. They are the voice of wisdom. And your criticism has not even had a single hearing.

But privately, they realize that you are right. After dealing with you, they will, after a decent interval, gradually finesse this thing and make it go away. It is as though they themselves freshly realized what you had tried to tell them in the first place. Man, you got to get up pret'ty early in the morning....

MINDS RIGHT!
THE QUESTION OF AUTHOR'S ENTITLEMENT

Sometimes, if you have got used to a certain system, you subconsciously take that to be how it should be. The deviation becomes the norm. This is why, before we proceed further, I would like to acquaint you with a couple of extreme examples showing how in enlightened and generous science, only the work itself matters totally, and the author’s antecedents matter not at all. The following references represent highly prestigious journals. The enlightenment and the generosity here pertain not only to the editors and the reviewers, but also to the fellow authors.

In the following publication, one of the authors, Emily Rosa, is a fourth-grader (when the work was done). The extreme simplicity, even naiveté, of her experiment not only did not prevent publication, but was seen as a strength.

Rosa L, Rosa E, Sarner L, Barrett S. A Close Look at Therapeutic Touch. JAMA 279:1005-1010, 1998.

In the following publication, one of the authors, Sayan De, is a preteen boy (when the work was done):

A. Weigel , A. Lepland, S. De, K. Marti and G. Arrhenius, 2000, Leonids: Did They Make It to Earth? Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 35, 166-168.

In the following paper on asteroid orbits, one of the authors, Martin Burkenroad, is a retired biologist specializing in crustacean phylogeny:

Alfvén, H., M. Burkenroad and W.-H. Ip, 1974. Cosmogony of the asteroidal belt, Nature 250: 634.

So outside of physics, there are areas of science where the old world values still survive. Curiosity, sense of wonderment, marveling at the unorthodox and the refreshing - such things still triumph over the attitude: "Hmm, let us see now, is this author entitled?". Set your mind right. Give yourself the correct perspective. Make the former your norm. Take anything else as deviation.


[Source:http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Gifs/emily.jpg]

Fourth-grader Emily Rosa is an icon of enlightened thinking in scientific publication

THE TWO UNAVAILABLE TESTS

The very way the peer review system works today also protects it from being discovered when an insidious preference system is in place. You may hear about one dissatisfied author here, another irate author there – and that’s about all the protestation there is. These people are then dismissed as disgruntled individuals who have been justly rejected – and are said to be expected and normal outcome of the referee process. At the same time, there is the grandiose appearance of a very elaborate system of checks and balances (hierarchical appeal process akin to the legal system) that gives an outside observer the solid, reassuring feeling of an honest an honorable enterprise.

If these people had set up an exclusive country club and kept you out through various legit mechanisms, you really may not have a leg to stand on. But can a physics journal be likened to such a country club? No. A physics journal is like a cricket club. You have to know how to play cricket to join. But that's all. You do not have to know how to hold a teacup properly, with your pinky sticking out; and you should not need to show your Birth Certificate.

There are two conceivable ways in which an insidious preference system can come to light: Both involve the emergence of a pattern, as observed through collecting and analyzing multiple instances of such practice. The first is the collective experience of many rejected authors/submitters to a single journal, and the second is the collective experience of a single submitter making multiple submissions to a multiplicity of journals, submissions that are rejected.

THE FIRST UNAVAILABLE TEST:
The Bigoted Developer Test

By the very nature of the referee process, the first of the above events cannot occur, since rejected submitters do not know of one another. Therefore, there is no collective, and no networking, and no analysis. The very way in which abuse could most readily emerge is the very way that is not available.

Suppose that a new township is being planned, and people are applying to take up residence there. Some applications are being accepted, and some are being rejected. However, the “rejectees” do not know about one another. So there is no chance of anyone observing any patterns. But if a watchdog organization waged a public campaign and asked the rejectees to come forward, the result might be quite interesting. It may emerge the rejectees all belong to certain racial, ethnic, religious or age group.

THE SECOND UNAVAILABLE TEST:
Father Guido Sarducci Test

The second of the above events requires an individual with enormous persistence and determination over a long period of time – with attendant risk-taking. But it is not enough that this individual has collected data; he must also have an avenue through which he can broadcast his findings. Until the advent of the Internet, such broadcast was virtually impossible. So, the second way in which abuse could emerge was also a way that was not available – until recently.

If you write a detailed letter to the White House on some momentous issue, you will receive a reply thanking you for your thoughtful comments and concerns etc. You feel good that someone has sat down and read your letter, and composed a response. The same is true of large corporations. It is only if you write many such letters on many issues that you discover what is going on. There are a few form responses, and you receive one of those. The result can be positively hilarious, as shown by the experimentation of Don “Father Guido Sarducci” Novello of Saturday Night Live fame, in his book The Lazlo Letters. He wrote letters to many organizations, and compiled the responses.

The present essay is about this second unavailable test, and my own experimentation with it. I have appended below my documented experiences, with my own observations. I should say that I did not start out with an experimentation in mind, but some way through the effort of trying to publish this paper, the idea of the experimentation occurred to me.

THE SCIENTIFIC ISSUE

The experiment concerns a physics issue that is clear and precise. One of the mainstays of physics is the set of four Maxwell’s Equations. These equations can be solved together in empty space, and in a planar geometry, to give us a solution: The plane electromagnetic wave. This wave consists of time-varying electric and magnetic fields orthogonal to each other. Much of today’s scientific and technological civilization stems from this solution.

I have shown that in a like manner, another solution can be obtained: The source-free, closed magnetic field structure. This consists of static magnetic field that forms a closed structure of finite extent in space.

The issue of correctness aside, this can be recognized as the most important issue raised in Electromagnetic Theory in over a hundred years. Anybody that cannot see this immediately, and handle the submission accordingly, has no business being in physics.

My proof is mathematical, as in the case of the electromagnetic wave. The correctness of the proof hinges on whether or not two precisely defined mathematical expressions are equal.

I claim to have shown that the two expressions are unequal (which corresponds to the correctness of my idea). No one has proved that they are equal. When an expert tried most diligently to do so, he did not succeed. Under these circumstances, an honest scientific community would let the paper be published, and face open debate. The physics establishment did not let this happen.

Following this complete rejection by some 20 establishment journals, the paper was eventually published by a courageous editor, and now stands documented.

It is better to start with a somewhat more detailed (but not too technical) introduction to the general topic, which may be found here.

The precise mathematical issue at the core has been highlighted here.

THE HIGH-WIRE ACROBAT FEIGNS ACUTE VERTIGO

Here is the irony of ironies. In the present time, the aspect of physics that is in most evidence is mathematics. They are calculating the stuffings out of the universe, and a few other universes to boot. Then they are calling this great physics. Then they are extolling the virtue of mathematical beauty in physics. OK, fine. So what do they do when a new idea is presented to them in clear mathematical terms – in a such a way that mathematics has been made the entire crux of a proposed discovery of the highest possible significance? They do and say all kinds of things except address the central mathematics! They say, it looks wrong. But no one can prove that it is wrong. When, much later, someone actually tried mathematically to prove that it is wrong, he failed.

What about beauty? Well, this particular mathematics seems to be as ugly as a warthog to them. What about the challenge? This challenge, it seems, is comparable to daring a child to eat brussels sprouts. What about the significance of the proposed discovery to the very foundation of physics? Well, it is nothing compared to the significance of studying the coded transmission being sent from within the black holes.

But the mere impression that it looks wrong, and the fact that there are certain theorems that forbid my result, were the basis of rejection of my paper. That impression is clearly not an informed impression, and new ideas do often supplant old theorems.

What we have here is that our valiant mathematical heroes are reluctant to apply their own professed and beloved expertise where it is critically called for in the cause of basic physics, while grand equations and grander matrices are flying off their midriff in a torrent and flowing into the hidden dimensions of space.

I mean, really! There ought to be a limit even to hypocrisy of the noble.

THE RULEBOOK

Before we proceed to my experiment, let us discuss the issue of the rulebook. Every physics journal sets up for itself a set of rules. On the face, these are designed to give great objectivity and honesty to the publication process. They are usually set up like the legal system, with a very elaborate appeal procedure that a dissatisfied author can seek recourse to. Really, who can argue with motherhood? But, again, look beyond the language.

The interesting thing about the rulebook is that, having set this up, everybody becomes subservient to it. They forget why they are in this business in the first place, which is to advance scientific exploration. Instead, they are hog-tied by these petty bureaucratic system they themselves have set up. The first casualty of this is the scientific exploration itself.

The rulebook is set up largely with the “problem” authors in mind: the cranks and the crackpots; the subborn and the obstinate; the unentitled and the disaffected; the jobless and the institutionless. If a big-time academic, Professor Everard Vitton from Principessa University, sends an account of his omphaloskepsis, it will be published almost automatically. There’s no issue of the rulebook. Vitton can also open an "old and closed" subject at will - and it will be seen as a sign of great genius. If Jim Consigliore the engineer submits a neat theorem about the conservation principles, giving a P. O. Box address, then is when the rulebook is activated in its full glory. You see, Jim must first prove that the existing ideas are wrong, before he can seek to replace them with his new idea – no matter how sound and how irrefutable. Basically, they have put up the "No Vacancy" sign.

The appeal procedure itself is a very clever sham. If a dissatisfied author activates it, the rules will be followed to a tee. But each successive level of appeal will uphold the rejection, with its own cogent-sounding reasoning. If the author persists up until the court of last resort, hoping that something might happen here, he is in for a b-i-g surprise. He will receive a letter saying that this court exists merely to ensure that the case file is complete and in proper order (and it is!). I kid you not!

If you are not hip to what is really going on, by the time they are through with you, you will get so turned around that you will forget your ATM password. Or you can learn to go past language, and be one step ahead of the sham. Try and defeat them in their own game.

The bottom line, dear reader: Learn to look past language if you want to understand the intellectual scam artists that I call the sententious bouncers. They are today’s physics editors and the editorial board members. They are the ones who are helping to systematically bastardize physics: Support certain chosen story lines as legitimate physics and chosen individuals as legitimate physicists, and suppress everything and everyone else. They are the palace guards and the legbreakers. They are helping divert the scientific civilization - slowly slowly.

THE “EXPERIMENT”

1. Applied Physics Letters

Manuscript title: Magnetic structures in empty space (Ms. No.: None assigned)
Editors/Contacts : Dr. Nghi Q. Lam
Excerpt from decision:

“Our journal publishes exclusively papers on the application of physics, while yours deals with fundamental theory.”

(Author’s note: The paper discussed a conceptual experiment, from which flowed the fundamental ideas. Most people, including this editor, take the knee-jerk view that Applied Physics means gadgets and machines and simulations and devices. Applied Physics is seen here as something that flows from fundamental physics, and there is no pathway backward. To me, Applied Physics means the detailed practice of physics, and fundamental consideration can flow from this as from any other type of physics.)

2. Astrophysical Journal

Steven Shore

Manuscript title: A magnetoform universe (Manuscript No. 36832) Editors/Contacts: Professor Steven S. Shore, Indiana U. South Bend

Excerpt from decision:

“As you say in the body of the manuscript, the results are not new, the connection to astrophysics is too peripheral, and the presentation does not warrant publication in this journal.”

(Author’s note: I did not say the results are not new. Obviously, they cannot be. Here is the relevant introductory paragraph:

"Recent studies in electromagnetic (EM) phenomena (De 1994) suggest that a static magnetic field in empty space is a gravitational mass (De 1996). Since a mass has an isolated existence, the above result predicts heretofore unknown sourceless magnetic structures in empty space, or "magnetoforms". Such structures are sought here within classical EM Theory. Precursors to magnetoforms might be isolated, magnetized plasma rings in the intergalactic medium, produced as ejecta from quasars, active galactic nuclei etc (Cf. Lerner 1992), and perhaps even the sun. Isolated plasma rings have also been theorized, and then observed in the laboratory (Alfven & Falthammar 1963).")

3. Astrophysics and Space Science

Eugene de Geus

Manuscript title: A magnetoform universe (Manuscript No. ASTR314)
Editors/Contacts: Prof. John Dyson, Leeds University, UK; Dr. Eugene deGeus, Kluwer Academic Publishers
Excerpt from Dyson’s decision:
“We have had great difficulty getting referee’s reports on your paper and the only referee who did respond expressed great scepticism and he felt the paper contained unsufficient science to be published.”

Appeal to Dyson: No response
Appeal to deGeus: Excerpt from his decision:

“I appreciate your taking the time to inform me of the situation concerning the reviewing problems of your manuscripts.

I apologize for the delay in my answer to you, which is due to my recent absence from the office.

I appreciate your feeling of disappointment regarding the fact that, after waiting a long period for the review of your paper, you received only a short notice back rejecting your paper.

While going through the files on your papers, I noticed that first of all the editor had great difficulty getting referee's reports. I believe several scientists we requested to referee the paper turned that request down. Subsequently the editor, in order to get the paper refereed, called in a favor and asked a close colleague for comments, and also looked at the papers himself. After some consideration and discussion they concluded that the papers could not be considered for publication in our journal. I believe you were informed that one referee expressed great scepticism, and that the papers were considered to have "insufficient science".

The personal nature that the reviewing process had to take in this case is the cause for the absence of a detailed referee's report.

I believe that, considering the efforts that our editor and referees have made to get your article refereed, your paper has not received unfair or unprofessional treatment. Your are correct in stating that you should have received a speedier response to your appeal. I apologize for that oversight.

Nevertheless, in my opinion the editors have done everything possible to give your papers a fair review, and we therefore stand by the editor's decision.”

(Author’s note: The above letter is informative to me in a number of respects.

First, it confirmed (and was meant to confirm) what I had suspected for sometime, that there is a pervasive view in certain quarters that I am a complete cuckoo. Hence the revulsion about reviewing any manuscripts from me. I imagine they had a good laugh over me when they sat down for a lunch of herring, fried new potatoes, lingonberry sauce and lättöl in the cafeteria.

Second, the avoidance of generating a written scientific review, even a summary one – this is most significant. This is what is known among the cognoscenti as a CYA move. (For those unfamiliar with this terminology, C = Cover, Y = Your, A = Donkey.)

Third, the editor had to call in a favor to get someone to look at my manuscript. So, the editor exercised great diligence, and that is indeed commendable. This shows that, for whatever reason, he felt the submission merited this extra effort. Tak simiket!

But then, following the closed door session, it was decided to reject the manuscript. However, no solid position was taken. Nowhere did it ever say in any way that the results were incorrect. Beautiful, isn’t it – being able to take an evasive action without assuming any responsibility. Even the name of the editor who handled the matter is kept hidden - taking the concept of reviewer's anonymity to a new height. This is the general direction the physics journals are heading today - you correspond with paid staffers, and not scientific people.

Lastly, the reader may note that this astrophysics journal did not find that the subject was inappropriate for their journal, as did the Astrophysical Journal (see above). )

4. Europhysics Letters

Wojtek Zakrzewski

Manuscript title: Prediction of a new particle (Manuscript No. G11113)
Editors/Contact: Professor W. Zakrzewski, Univ. of Durham, UK

Excerpt from referee report:

“This paper sounds like science-fiction to me, and I don’t see any way in which it could possibly be accepted for publication in Europhysics Letters.

It is true that Maxwell’s equations possess many counterintuitive solutions, and I am willing to admit that a solution, like that of the author, is possible, namely a pure static magnetic field confined in a small (pointlike) region. However:

- What happens in a different Lorentz frame? An electric field will appear and the magnetic field will no longer be static. So what?

- It is true that the quantity given in eq. (22) represents the total energy of that peculiar field configuration, possibly identified with mass, by Einstein’s equivalence. But is that a particle? What is its spin? In other words, how is it described in terms of irreducible representations of the Poincare group (this is equally valid for classical and a quantumrelativistic particle)?

- The author tries to answer all the anticipated objections. That sounds strange, as if he had already been rebuked a number of times! Anyway, such a section does not belong to a sound scientific paper.

In conclusion, the results presented in this paper are provocative (so was Wheeler’s old dream of geons), but non convincing, to me at least. Thus I see only one logical conclusion: outright rejection.”

Some further information from Zakrzewski on the review:

“The comments of the second referee were also similar in tone to the first referee except that he did not "feel like writing a longer report". The first referee discussed your paper with several of his colleagues and his report is a joint report of his group.”

(Author’s note: This is what a call a chatty review. It is as though he is passing judgment on a chicken curry recipe. Interesting taste on the whole, but too little ginger, too much turmeric, temperature not right, etc. I give it a failing grade…., he says.)

5. IEEE Transactions on Magnetics

Isaac D. Mayergoyz

Manuscript title: Sourceless magnetostatic field geometries (Manuscript No. IM-98-46)
Editors/Contacts: Professor Isaac D. Mayergoyz, U. Maryland; Dr. Ronald Goldfarb, NIST

Excerpt from decision:

“ .. solutions to Maxwell’s equations div b = 0 and curl b = 0 with no sources at infinity are unique.” – Referee 1

“.. the conclusion can be drawn that (the solution)… vanishes everywhere.” – Referee 2

Appeal to Mayergoyz: No response.

Appeal to Goldfarb: Excerpt from response –

“Our philosophy is that it is the obligation of an author to persuade referees of the merits of a manuscript. As is the case for most peer-reviewed journals, we do not take the position that a controversial paper should be published in spite of referee rejection and that referees should then publish their refutations of a paper.

We editors try to devote a reasonable amount of time to deal with each paper we handle. However, since we are all unpaid volunteers, we must avoid engaging in extended dialogue with disappointed authors. Please accept Prof. Mayergoyz's editorial decision as definite.”

(Author’s note: In this instance, two referees had reached diametrically opposite conclusions – which is normally a basis for further consideration. But read Goldfarb’s comments: He is saying sententiously that practicality and the rulebook will determine how science is explored. The fate of a scientific paper will depend on how much time the volunteer editor can devote on that particular day. May be summer would be a good time to submit.

The very idea that if you are a volunteer, then you need not exert yourself to the fullest is repugnant to me. I heard a volunteer doctor in a disaster area say: Volunteer or no volunteer, you better do your damned best and damned hardest, and once you have done that and are completely exhausted, move on to the next patient. No one is interested in hearing you are a volunteer.)

6. Modern Physics Letters

   

A. P. Balachandran and Kok Khoo Phua

Manuscript title: Field-particle dualism in Maxwell’s equations (No ms. no.)
Editors/Contacts: Prof. A. P. Balachandran, Syracuse U. ; Dr. K. K. Phua, World Scientific

Excerpt from decision:

“MPLA and IJMPA are journals with focus on frontiers of current research in particle physics, quantum field theory etc. Occasionally an article which does not belong to any of these categories appears in these journals, but it is the exception.

The article of De is unsuitable for these journals for the above reason. (It’s scientific merits are not being commented on here.) Considering also the large volume of excellent papers submitted to the journals, I do not recommend the publication of De’s article in MPLA.”

Appeal to Balachandran: Directs me to take the appeal to the publisher.
Appeal to Phua: No response

(Author’s note: Before I submitted my manuscript to Balachandran, I corresponded with him, telling him about my troubles and asking if he would give my paper a proper hearing. He said he would, and that he had lined up a suitable referee. Yet, the paper was subsequently rejected without evaluation. I found the manner in which Balachncdran conducts his business quite interesting – he is the quintessential petty bureaucrat of the British India vintage. When you write to him, his secretary responds with some language like: I am desired by the Managing Editor to inform you….. [You have to insert yourself the implied "His Excellency"] It seems that “Managing Editor”-ship had gone to his head. When I appealed to him, he referred me to the publishing company [Phua], knowing full well that Phua would not do anything. But, if Balachandran had served the cause of physics a little better than the cause of bureaucracy, would anything have been different? I doubt it.)

7. International Journal of Theoretical Physics

David Finkelstein

Manuscript title: Sourceless solutions of magnetostatic field (Ms. No. 970710.1)
Editors/Contacts: Prof. David Finkelstein, Georgia Tech

Excerpt from decision:

“Sigma1 = Sigma2”

On appeal (same reviewer):

“ b = 0”

(Author’s note: This review says basically that the solution I derived is actually zero everywhere. This conclusion is based on existing theorems. Absolutely no attention was paid to the proof given in the paper itself. It is as though you call your neighbor at work and tell him: Hey Joe, I see smoke coming out of your house. And he tells you: Don’t worry. My house is fire proof. At any rate, I am in the middle of a meeting on planning the Office Christmas Party. Then you call the Fire Department and then call Joe again: Now I see flames. I’ve called the Fire Department. And he tells you: You shouldn’t have done that. Not to worry, I’ve got automatic sprinklers that will come on. Have a nice day! )

8. Journal of Mathematical Physics

Steven Weinberg

Manuscript title: Field-particle dualism in Maxwell’s equations (Ms No.: 8-474)
Editors/Contacts: Professor Steven E. Weinberg, Univ. of Texas, Austin

Excerpt from decision:

“This work deals with the interpretation of solutions in magnetostatics in rather simple boundary conditions – free space and no sources! The author takes these solutions and applies an ad hoc truncation procedure to them which is then used to make some rather dramatic claims concerning a ‘dualism’ between magnetic fiels and particle mass. To me there is no physical justification for these procedures nor indeed their physical interpretation. The mathematics is completely elementary and I cannot see how this work would be of interest to readers of the Journal of Mathematical Physics.”

(Author's note: This journal sat on my paper for several months, in spite of reminders. Then they said they lost my paper. I provided another copy. Then they continued to sit on it. Finally, after about nine months of this, when I sent a terse reminder of how long it had been, they made an instant review and instantly rejected it. Note the important and correct observation “the mathematics is completely elementary”. So why not simply point out the error in the mathematics? Why avoid that and engage in this sententious tirade?)

9. Journal of Physics A


Edward Corrigan

Manuscript title: Sourceless solutions of static magnetic field (Ms. No.: A/91725/PAP)
Editors/Contact: Professor Edward Corrigan, Honorary Editor

Excerpt from decision:

“…I do not see another reason for this discrepancy than calculational errors.”

(Author's note: So he feels there is a calculation error and that’s that. Remember ol’ Joe who felt his house was fire proof?)

10. Journal of Physics D


S. B. Palmer

Manuscript Title: (Ms. No.: D/79942/PAP)
Editors/Contacts: Professor S. B. Palmer, Honorary Editor

Excerpt from decision:

“…nonsense”

(Author's note: The paper did contain errors in this exposition.)

11. JETP Letters


Vsevolod Feliksovich Gantmakher

Manuscript title: Prediction of a new particle (No ms. no. given)
Editors/Contacts: Professor Vsevolod Feliksovich Gantmakher, Russian Academy of Sciences

Reason for rejection: Paper not important to merit rapid publication

Excerpt from decision on appeal:

“Editorial Board has not found grounds to change the preceding decision.”

(Author's note: I had submitted the paper to the Russian journal on the advice of a well-wisher, a non-physicist scientist, who felt the Russians were scientifically broadminded and generous.)

12. Letters in Mathematical Physics

Manuscript title: Field-particle dualism in Maxwell’s equations (Ms No.: 20033)
Editors/Contacts: Professor J. C. Cortet, Univ. of Bourgogne, France

Excerpt from decision:

“…the content is not of sufficient importance or interest to justify urgency for publication as a letter with respect to our backlog of manuscripts to be published in the next issues.”

(Author's note: Again, recall ol’ Joe as to recognizing what is important.)

13. Physical Review D

   

Raymond S. Willey, Martin Blume

Manuscript title: Sourceless solutions of static magnetic field (Ms. No.: DRR632)
Editors/Contacts: Dr. D. Nordstrom, APS; Board Member Prof. Raymond S. Willey, U of Pittsburg
Editor-in-Chief for APS: Dr. Martin Blume, Brookhaven Natl Lab

Review by Willey:

“The paper is rejected because its claim to find a sourceless static finite extent magnetic field solution of Maxwell's equations is incorrect.

(1) The opening statement of the introduction, that the existence of such solutions (FMS) has not been proved or disproved, is false. The nonexistence of such solutions is proved in most EM text books. In Jackson, sections 1.5 and 1.9 provide the nonexistence proof. I paraphrase.

If $\bf\nabla\rm\times\bf b \rm = 0$, everywhere, then \bf b \rm can be written as gradient of a scalar potential S.

If $\bf\nabla\rm \cdot \bf b \rm = 0$, everywhere, $\nabla^2 S = 0$, everywhere.

If the field (gradient of S) goes to zero at infinity, then S must go to constant (or zero) at infinity.

The uniqueness theorem of potential theory then determines that S = Constant or zero everywhere.

Thus, under conditions stated, \bf b \rm is zero.

(2) So there must be error(s) in the arguments and calculations in the text. The problems arise in the comparison of the vector potentials, \bf A\rm 2, \bf A\rm 1. In the first place, the two vector potentials could differ by the gradient of a scalar potential (gauge transformation) and still give the same b fields. Thus the argument of sec IV, that the two vector potentials are different,even if true, would not imply that the b fields are different. So $\Sigma_1\neq \Sigma_2$ is not established in the paper.

(3)In sec V, comparing the two vector potentials, inconsistent approximations are compared. In the limit considered, $z\gg r$ and r not necessarily small, A1 is a power series in r ($J_1(r)$) times $e^{-z}$. In A2 only the first term in the corresponding power series in r is kept. I have computed the coefficient of the second ($r^3$) term in A2 and it precisely agrees with the series for $J_1$, so in the limit considered, the two vector potentials are in fact the same. For general r,z I don't know any analytic transformation from A2 to A1,but with Mathematica on a fast PC one can choose a few random values of r,z and numerically integrate (13). Convergence of the integral of the Bessel fun is slow as the upper limit for the numerical integration is increased. But in a few hours one can become convinced that A1,A2 are numerically the same. For example, for $r=3,z=2$ integrating out to $r'= 100$ I have $A2 = .0456$ and $A1=.0459$ (and of course, one sees the convergence as upper limit is increased). For $r=.5,z=4$ integrating out to $r'=200$ I have $A2= .00446$ and $A1= .00444$.

Thus $\bf b_1 \rm - \bf b_2 \rm = 0$ as required by the general theory.”

Appeal to Blume: Excerpt from decision -

“The scientific review of your paper is the responsibility of the editor of Physical Review D, which resulted in the decision to reject your paper. The Editor-in-Chief must assure that the procedures of our journal have been followed responsibly and fairly in arriving at that decision.

On considering all aspects of this file I have concluded that our procedures have in fact been appropriately followed and that your paper received a fair review. Accordingly, I must uphold the decision of the Editors.”

(Author's note: Willey’s unique efforts to actually address the proof given in the paper directly and squarely are to be commended. For my comments on his review, please click here)

14. Physical Review E

 

Neal B. Abraham, Eric Weinberg

Manuscript title: Sourceless solutions of static magnetic field (Ms. No.: DRR632ER)
Editors/Contacts: Prof. Eric Weinberg, Columbia U; Prof. Neal B. Abraham, Brynmawr College

Excerpt from Associate Editor Abraham’s decision:

“The above manuscript which you submitted to Physical Review D has been examined by the editors. It is their opinion that, in view of its subject matter, your paper would be more suitable for consideration in Physical Review E. However, we regret to inform you that your manuscript is not considered suitable for publication.

As a family of research journals, the Physical Review publishes articles in which significant advances in physics are reported. Such advances must be placed in the context of recent developments in research. There is no discussion in your manuscript of how this work relates to other current physics research and adequate references to the recent research literature are lacking.

Your manuscript is therefore too pedagogical for the Physical Review. We must suggest that you submit it to another, more suitable journal.”

(Author's note: I disagreed on this transferal of a paper dealing with EM Field Theory to a journal dealing with statistical and interdisciplinary physics, and communicated this to Weinberg. His response:)

“I am writing in connection with your manuscript “Sourceless solutions of a static magnetic field'' (DRR632).

In your letter of April 20, you objected to the transfer of this manuscript from Physical Review D. However, it does fall outside the scope of Physical Review D, which is restricted to elementary particle physics, gravitation, and those aspects of astrophysics that are related to the physics of particles and fields. I would grant that results in classical electromagnetism can sometimes be of relevance to these subjects, but the same is also true of atomic physics, nuclear physics, and many other areas that are also not included in Physical Review D.

Even if classical electromagnetism were within the scope of our journal, your paper would have been rejected because:
(1) Its focus is primarily mathematical rather than on a specific physical problem of relevance to current research.
(2) It is wrong, in that it claims to present a sourcefree solution, while this solution in fact requires the source given in Eq. (9).

For all of these reasons, we cannot accept your paper for publication in Physical Review D.”

(Author's note: I then appealed this decision, and the paper was transferred to editor Nordstrom. See Physical Review D above for continuation of these proceedings.

The above two letters from Abraham and Weinberg are two very fine examples of how cut-and-paste, generic, boilerplate language is used to bounce authors. Note that everything is kept general, and specifics within the paper itself are avoided. This is what happens when you do not understand what you are dealing with, but must produce an intelligent-sounding review anyway. Pummel the author with turns and twists of phrases.

I was particularly impressed by the petty bureaucrat approach of Abraham. Shortly after this episode, I read somewhere that he had found his true calling: He gave up physics and became a university bureaucrat. I wish he had done this before he reviewed my paper. But, in the end, it would not have helped. There are so many of them!)

15. Physical Review Letters

Manuscript title: Magnetic structures in empty space (Ms. No.: LF6760)
Editors/Contacts: Dr. Jerome W. Malenfant, APS

Excerpt from decision:

“..your manuscript is not considered suitable for publication in Physical Review Letters.”

(Author's note: Someone told me this story (he must have made it up!). Nowadays, the physics journal submissions are first screened in the mailroom upon arrival. Bubba the mailman sits on his reclining chair, with his cowboy-booted feet on the desk. As he’s chewing tobacco, he opens an envelope, sees that an author has written from a P. O. Box address and no institutional affiliation, and he says to himself: Dish here manooshkreep is a craink fershoor! He thoughtfully scratches his scraggly beard for a few seconds (he’s considering the paper). Then he makes his decision: He prints out a form letter under the Editor’s signature, puts the manuscript in an outgoing envelope and sends it back on its way home.)

16. Physics Essays

Manuscript title: Field-particle dualism in Maxwell’s equations (No ms. no.)
Editors/Contact: Professor Nikos Salingaros, Univ. of Texas, San Antonio

Reason for rejection: Paper is wrong (3 referees, each reviewing twice).

(Author's note. The journal Physics Essays was set up precisely to give consideration to papers that the establishment avoided. The editor, Nikos Salingaros, tried to be sympathetic, asking for a list of suggested referees. I provided such a list, and I assume that he used one or two names from that list. But all his three referees, reviewing twice each, rejected the paper. Salingaros thus rejected the paper.

Shortly after this, I received a communication from the Editor-in-Chief that the paper might be published. However, by that time I had committed the paper to Journal of Theoretical Physics.)

17. Physics of Plasmas

     

Ronald C. Davidson, Russell M. Kulsrud

Manuscript title: The Missed Physics of Source-free Magnetic Field (Ms. No. : PoP-24956-BC-O ES)
Editos/Contactsr: Professor Ronald C. Davidson, Princeton University

Excerpt from decision:

“I was not convinced by this paper. It goes in the face of the uniqueness theorem for vacuum fields.

……

This argument seems unimpeachable and has been around for a long time, and the author should point out what is incorrect about it if he wants to contradict it.

His proof of the contradiction is really quite complex and it would take some work to point out the fallacy in it.

However, my guess is that if he calculated his potential A-phi for his second field to next order in r he would find that it would agree with that of his first field. It really appears that there is an exchange of limits here.

If he does this and finds a disagreement in the next significant order probably in r**3 then I would think he would have something and the paper would be worth publishing.”

Revised manuscript: rejected on same grounds.

(Author's note: The referee is Professor Russell M. Kulsrud of Princeton, as revealed later by himself. See further discussion below.)

18. Proceedings of the Royal Society


         

John Pendry, Aaron Klug and John Rowlinson

Manuscript title: Field-particle dualism in Maxwell’s equations (Ms. No.: 99PA110)
Editors/Contacts: Professor J. B. Pendry, FRS, Imperial College, London, UK; Final appeal: Sir Aaron Klug (President, Royal Society), OM, FRS; Final arbiter: Professor J. S. Rowlinson, FREngS, Oxford University

Excerpt from decision:

“This paper is not acceptable for publication because it contains a number of errors leading to mistaken conclusions.”

Excerpt from decision on appeal to Editor:

“(The Editor) regrets that we cannot give further consideration to this paper, therefore, the rejection is made final.”

Excerpt from decision upon appeal to Sir Aaron Klug:

“This paper, together with all associated correspondence, was forwarded to Professor JS Rowlinson FREng SecRS, Physical Secretary and Vice President of the Royal Society. Professor Rowlinson has asked me to inform you that he fully supports Professor Pendry’s decision to reject your manuscript. This matter is, therefore, closed.”

(Author's note: The main thing to note about this review, involving three stalwarts of the Royal Society with a lot of appendages before and after their names, and each backing the other, is that there does not exist any scientific review whatsoever to agree or disagree with. Only a terse opinion that the paper is wrong. . Rowlinson, if he was doing his job at all, would have asked for a proper review. Instead, he agreed with Pendry! What exactly does this mean? He is backing up his Royal Society buddy?

Actually, this is not surprising at all. I once sent a presubmission inquiry letter to an editor (no manuscript). I received a response that the manuscript had been reviewed, and found not suitable. This is the kind of thing that goes on – believe it!)

19. New Journal of Physics

Alex Bradshaw

Manuscript title: Field-particle dualism in Maxwell’s equations (Ms. No.: NJP/102440/PAP)
Editors/Contacts: Dr. Alex Bradshaw, Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, Garching, Germany

Excerpt from decision:

“This paper is wrong and therefore not acceptable in NJP. The author uses faulty math to convince himself that two different solutions of the Maxwell equations can exist with the same current source and boundary conditions. He then subtracts them to argue that he has a vacuum solution with unexpected properties. The most likely source of the error is the calculation of the current (9) where the author has not differentiated correctly the field presented in (6-8) in the sense of the theory of distributions.”

Excerpts from Board decision on appeal:

In this paper the author attempts to construct a sourceless solution of Maxwell's equations representing a static magnetic field that falls off at infinity. There are well established theorems that would appear to make this impossible. If such a solution were valid, therefore, it could be interesting.

The approach of the paper is based on a view of Maxwell's equations: that there are currents that are "caused by" magnetic fields, and currents that are "sources of" magnetic fields. This is a rather nonstandard viewpoint, but is not, by itself, wrong. Using this as a background motivation the author then purports to find two solutions to Maxwell's equations for the same current, and for the same restrictions at infinity. The linear nature of Maxwell's equations would seem to rule this out. This in itself is not a proof that the paper is wrong, but rather a warning that the author must be very convincing in his demonstration of the existence of two such solutions. In his demonstration, however, there is a step that is mathematically incorrect. In the integral in eq. 13 it is assumed that z>>r and this is used to make the simplification

R^2+r^2+z^2+2rR -> R^2+z^2

But it is incorrect to omit the term 2rR that occurs on the left. The integration variable R ranges to infinity, thus the term 2rR cannot be ignored no matter how small r is compared to z.

This error makes the proof invalid. If the author would like to correct this error and rework the proof, the paper can be resubmitted and considered.”

Excerpt from comment on revised manuscript:

“A previous version of this paper was criticized for an inconsistent approximation used in evaluating the integral in eq. 13. The expression

R^2+r^2+z^2+2rR

was approximated as

R^2+z^2

for r< In a slightly revised version of the paper, the author has not changed the approximation, but attempts to justify it with the following: "..when R>>r, 2rR< This paper should not be published, and should not be given further consideration.”

(Author's note: See below, Professor Kulsrud's detailed evaluation of the paper.)

20. Nuclear Physics B

Manuscript title: (NUCPHB 7923)
Editors/Contacts: Dr. Henk Smed, Elsevier

Reason: Paper is inappropriate

JOURNAL OF THEORETICS


Dr. James P. Siepmann, MD
Editor, Journal of Theoretics
A true man of science

Journal of Theoretics – an Internet science journal edited by James P. Siepmann, M.D. – had the unusual publication policy that if your paper was clearly and understandably written and if the referees could not disprove your paper – then it would be published. The journal has been pooh poohed by the scientific establishment. My paper was eventually published here.

After the publication of my paper, all it would have taken to discredit me as a scientist would be to publish a short paper anywhere, showing that the ‘completely elementary’ mathematics is incorrect. It is not good enough to say that I did not prove my point. What I have said is documented. If you are so damn sure in private that it is wrong, why not say this in public under your signature? Why not put your public name where your private opinion is? What is the establishment’s answer to these questions? As far as I can piece together, it is this: Initially, the position used to be that Raymond S. Willey (see above) has already disproved the paper, and therefore there is nothing more to be done. However, Kulsrud's 'indiscretion' (see below) reopened the subject most inconveniently. Now the position now seems to be this:

(1). This matter does not merit our attention.

(2). It is beneath our dignity to deal with this rogue author.

(3). Journal of Theoretics is not something we acknowledge as a legitimate publication. Therefore, we cannot address anything that is published there.

Perfectly cogent language, isn’t it? So cogent that you completely forget that this community was initially in the noble endeavor to boldly seek new knowledge. Instead, now they are leading you to think about such nitty gritty issues as to whether this knowledge should be served in bone china or a Styrofoam cup, whether the knowledge is emanating from a well-behaved person, etc; and they are leading you to think that these are actually legitimate, adult positions. They are using language to avoid accountability. They are using language to shirk responsibility, and in the process, corrupting you the society into going along with them. What this language in reality amounts to in importance is the leaving of a male bovine – still steaming, smelling fresh - with flies buzzing around it.

Such leaving, explains a renowned scholar in the following book, is a greater enemy of truth than lies:


[Source: http://www.smu.edu/cte/images/reading_circle_pics/On%20Bullshit.jpg]

ON THE LINGUISTIC SURFACE:
PROFESSIONALISM; OBJECTIVITY

If you had read through the above linguistic results of 20 submissions, without my own comments inserted, what impression would you have got? Perhaps one of great professionalism and great objectivity? You would be right – on the surface. Some may even feel that I received a fair hearing, period. That is the beauty of perfected linguistic deception.

Fortunately for me, I need not pit my opinion against those of others who feel differently. It so happens that some things subsequently went my way, and so I am able to demonstrate the great sham that today’s physics peer review system is.

Of course you cannot proceed further with journals that reject on the basis of a paper being inappropriate or unsuitable for their publication. What you can do is examine what it is that they do publish. Then you might find that your submission after all was neither inappropriate nor unsuitable. But what can you do? Who do you go to? If you are up against a ‘controlling authority’ that is either incompetent or dishonest and dishonorable, you have to give up and say (paraphrased from Patsy Cline lyric):

Oh stop the world and let me off
I'm tired of goin' round n' round
I played the game of submission and lost
So stop the world and let me off

And that’s the name of that tune.

However, when these august judges have made the ‘mistake’ of passing upon the actual content of your paper, then you may have a way to proceed – if Lady Luck favors you. In my case, she did.

UNDERNEATH THE LANGUAGE:
BOGUS EXPERTISE; SCIENTIFIC INTRANSIGENCE

Those who actually commented on the scientific content of the paper made the authoritative pronouncements that the calculation must be wrong, without ever trying to identify what is wrong. This technique works if the anonymous referees, backed by editors, can get away with it – which is almost always the case. In this way, many aspiring authors are sent to their grave without ever seeing their ideas documented. And that is all the more reason why, if someone can demonstrate to you that these reviewers and editors were actually exercizing bogus expertise, you have to see them for the bogus enterprise they comprise.

If the physics establishment, for some reason, had to appoint an ultimate arbiter – a fine mathematical physicist with intensive and extensive expertise in Classical Electromagnetic Theory – to actually rip apart my proof, line by line, and expose the surely obvious blunder I have made in my 'completely elementary' mathematics, they could do no better than the famed Professor Russell M. Kulsrud of Princeton University. Through a strange twist of fate, it came to pass that Professor Kulsrud did in fact undertake precisely this task of the ultimate arbiter - though not appointed by the establishment! This story is told in great detail here and here.

The bottom line: Professor Kulsrud, after his intensive and extensive labors, was unable to demonstrate that my proof was wrong. What he himself found indicated the contrary. What Kulsrud's labors made absolutely clear is this: If all of the authoritative opiners you have met above were seated in an examination room, given paper and pencil, Jackson's Electrodynamics and Handbook of Mathematical Functions, and an unlimited supply of coffee and donuts, none of them would be able to disprove my result.

Kulsrud also gave the lie to the various expert guesses that the paper had some singularity or infinity problems, or some mathematical trap or trickery. Kulsrud demonstrated that there were no such problems. The expert guesses were bogus. Yet, time after time after time, these were used to suppress the paper.

At this point, Kulsrud could have announced to the scientific world that this paper deserved attention of the scientific community. The physics establishment does not recognize the journal where the paper was published in the end - they pooh pooh it. So, Kulsrud could have sponsored publication in one of their 'legit' journals, and thus let the scientific community undertake further evaluation. He chose to do none of that. He chose to keep his momentous findings under wraps. He chose not to do the right thing. Privately, rather than saying that he was unable to disprove my paper, he adopted the stance that I was unable to prove my point. Once again: Language!

We started to talk about language, and we have come full circle, and ended with language. The almighty language: It has the power to ennoble or debase, deify or demonize, deliver or deceive. It has the power to bring about great good for mankind, or justify great killings of innocent men, women and children. You can blow entire families to Kingdom Come, and then justify it with sanctimonious language. Or you can blow unentitled authors clear out of the water, and use language to make this sound oh so cogent. The power of language belongs to those who have learned to wield it – like a samurai sword. Language!

So where do we stand now with respect to the authoritative assertion that the mathematics is wrong? My sense (or actual knowledge?!) is that the establishment has the following tacit position:

The assertion is correct. The mathematics is quicksand. Our dear colleague Russ has unwisely let himself be led into it. If he had stuck to sententious jawboning like the rest of us, this inconvenient complication would not have arisen.

It seems to me that an alternative position is at least logically discussible:

The assertion is bogus. It stems not from true authority, but from conservative intransigence.

Finally, there is a very important point here that needs to made – and made emphatically. Even if Kulsrud believes that I did not prove my thesis, I believe that he himself proved it in his own way. I believe he knows it.

OLD TRICK FOR NEW DOGS:
MOTHER ALREADY WARNED YOU!

So, let me summarize the “situation” for you. Since Kulsrud keeps his studies private, the physics establishment does not need to do anything further about this matter. Since my paper is published, the physics establishment does not need to do anything further about publishing it. Since my paper is published in a non-accredited journal, the physics establishment does not need to do anything further to evaluate it. Since my subsequent rantings and ravings are confined to the Internet soapbox and no self-respecting media outlet would ever bring this to notice of the public, the physics establishment does not need to do anything about addressing the matter. “Since the author’s work is not properly documented, we cannot evaluate it”, would be their perfectly cogent, sententious position. If all this sounds faintly, vaguely familiar to you, I will tell you why. Because, in the very deep of the deep of your subconscious, you are remembering a nursery rhyme in your mother's beautiful voice. Henry is the Editor. Author Liza is imploring him to reconsider her paper, with rebuttal arguments to the comments of Henry’s referees:

There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole.

So fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
So fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, fix it.

With what should I fix it, dear Liza, dear Liza,
With what should I fix it, dear Liza, with what?

With straw, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
With straw, dear Henry, dear Henry, with straw.

But the straw is too long, dear Liza, dear Liza,
The straw is too long, dear Liza, too long.

So cut it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
So cut it dear Henry, dear Henry, cut it!

With what should I cut it, dear Liza, dear Liza,
With what should I cut it, dear Liza, with what?

Use the hatchet, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Use the hatchet, dear Henry, the hatchet.

But the hatchet's too dull, dear Liza, dear Liza,
The hatchet's too dull, dear Liza, too dull.

So, sharpen it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
So sharpen it dear Henry, dear Henry, sharpen it!

With what should I sharpen it, dear Liza, dear Liza,
With what should I sharpen, dear Liza, with what?

Use the stone, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Use the stone, dear Henry, dear Henry, the stone.

But the stone is too dry, dear Liza, dear Liza,
The stone is too dry, dear Liza, too dry.

So wet it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
So wet it dear Henry, dear Henry, wet it.

With what should I wet it, dear Liza, dear Liza,
With what should I wet it, dear Liza, with what?

With water, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
With water, dear Henry, dear Henry, water.

With what should I carry it, dear Liza, dear Liza,
With what should I carry it dear Liza, with what?

Use the bucket dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Use the bucket, dear Henry, dear Henry, the bucket!

There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole.

"Dear Liza, dear Liza - The rejection of your paper is made final. I regret that we cannot enter into any further correspondence." - Henry

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THE CROWNING GLORY OF THE PHYSICS PEER REVIEW SYSTEM:

In the 1990s a series of papers was published in peer-reviewed journals. Such documentation is the primary criterion for the award of the Nobel Prize for Physics. This series of papers resulted in the award of perhaps the most ballyhooed Physics Nobel Prize in recent memory. These papers were also rubbish. If the referees and the editors of these papers had even the minimal competence to understand what was being done here, they would have rejected these in a time not much exceeding a New York Minute. Now do you see what I mean by Elite Hanky Panky? Witness:

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FIVE WHO CAME TO PHYSICS...


Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann
WHAT THEY DID: Got a carried away with a fantastic discovery that turned out to be wrong
WHAT WAS DONE TO THEM: Their lives were destroyed
WHO DID THIS: The physics establishment
WHAT THE WORLD MEDIA DID: Intensely ridiculed the two
WHAT THEIR EMPLOYERS DID: Abandoned them

        
Victor Ninov and Jan Hendrik Schoen
WHAT THEY DID: Cooked data
WHAT WAS DONE TO THEM: Their lives were destroyed
WHO DID THIS: The physics establishment
WHAT THE WORLD MEDIA DID: Tore the two up like a hungry wolf-pack
WHAT THEIR EMPLOYERS DID: Terminated them


John C. Mather
WHAT HE DID: Spinned a miserably failed satellite experiment as the most precision measurement in the history of physics
WHAT WAS DONE TO HIM: See above
WHO DID THIS: The physics establishment
WHAT THE WORLD MEDIA DID: Danced with him on their shoulder
WHAT HIS EMPLOYER DID: Appointed him America's top space scientist

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Bob Dylan asks:

When you gonna wake up ...?

For further details please visit:
THE PHYSICS NOBEL PRIZE FRAUD OF 2006