Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Science v. physics

At lunch the other day:

Senior physicist (string theorist, multiverse lover): The definition of "science" was invented to satisfy Marxism. It has nothing to do with modern physics.

Me: Or, you could say that modern physics has nothing to do with science.

Senior physicist:


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

This department.

This evening, as I strolled down the street, I nodded to a member of staff in the department. Who nodded back, then did a double take, and availed himself of the opportunity to tell me lies about my office mate and ask me to him that he thought he was very innapropriate. And that he said he said he shouldn't have said what he said, right, because, no, right, because it was well out of order and like its not right to say things like that because they're not true innit.

This department is a school playground.

The Landau Russian. Um. Pole.

I understand now how Russians physicists think.

They certainly know a lot. They have read a great deal. They remember all the little lessons they were ever taught, all the tricks, connections and basics which can be applied to trickier problems.

Problems like conversation. Because they really have no idea how to handle that.

In fact, they also can't discuss research. Well, not your research anyway. Say something that they don't understand, and their first reaction is to reach for something which no-one understands well, or is fiendishly complicated, and ask you about that instead, phrasing it as an attack on your work.

They're such, such fun!


I've been in this department for six months. Today was the first time a member of staff asked me what I work on.

The first time.

And ten seconds into my explanation, he dismissed it.

Russian string theorists are, in my experience, not nice people.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

What is the point in you?

As I friend of mine once said, this is what happens when national pride replaces personal pride:


Why the hell didn't the arXiv administrators block that paper? It looks like it was typeset by an arse (I mean an actual arse), the abstract is fundamentally awful, and the paper itself is contentless.

Oh, no, they were right to let it appear. It's not for them to decide what is good science and what is irrelevant dribble. I'm just grumpy because the wankers reclassified my paper without telling me. Wow. That was months ago. Turns out I'm still bitter!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Another arXiv entry

Today's funny on the arXiv:

The changes made from version 4 to version 5 of a paper are given as
"correct form of the potential given as a footnote".


Wednesday, 7 January 2009

J.H.E.P. and P.R.D.

Compare and contrast the following reviews of the same paper. This review is from PRD (subject masked to protect my identity)

"This article addresses an interesting question of XXXXXXXXXXX. The study is exploratory even though a lot of open ends are left for future investigations. The paper has revealed decriptively a wide class of XXXXXXXXXXX. The writeup is well organized and the presentation is clear. Therefore, the referee recommends its publication in Physical Review D."

Short and sweet. Now, this review is from JHEP:

"This paper is an elaboration on a marginal subject. There is no sound theoretical reason to expect XXXXXXXXXXX to exist and to discuss details of their XXXXXXXXXXX is certainly not something JHEP should do. We regret that we are unable to publish the paper. The decision is final."

Is the difference because of `quality' of the journals? Well no, not really. The difference is in their different (but not mutually exclusive) sets of reviewers. This is, of course, what really decides on whether you're published or not -- does the reviewer know you/ like you/ think you're a crackpot/ decide to take his frustrations out on you because he hasn't had any for 5 years?

Still, published without changes. Sweeeet.