Thursday, 26 August 2010


As I've mentioned already, I have a "comment" on a paper ready to go. The paper is by a powerful professor. The paper is in PRL. My comment is one column long, but it could be a paragraph because I can demolish all his arguments in one line. Alright, two. One line for the shiny equation. So two lines, but kind of irrefutable because, um, well, the bit of maths in that second line which is, well, correct. (I might also not use the word screwed.)

Not that my comment will ever seee the light of day. I have already been warned off trying to publish it by my colleagues, because it will be politcal suicide. They are correct. They're also correct to say that most comments and the resulting counter comments end up as whingeing rants and/or personal attacks. See for example this one.

No idea who this guy is or whether the comment he is replying to was correct or not. Again, though, moderators? Hello? Five pages of text with no equations, again. (He has some in-line stuff, but it looks like notation.)

It's hard not to become irate when someone tells you the paper you've just poured months of your life into is a sack of crap. Or when you know that you can shit papers which are better the crap being published by people with All Hallowed Sacred Tenure (blessed be it's permanenty name).

But, as with most occasions in life, becoming angry does nothing for you. The sad thing is that being correct doesn't do anything for you either, when in comes to physics. Celebrity culture has infected the game - you need to have money and the prestige and networking which comes with it to get into the best journals. Once you have the money, you could scrawl your poop on a page and PRL would still go giddy over it.

Yeah, I'm jealous. I'm also right, but we've already established how relevant that is....

1 comment:

Ed said...

Yeah, I wouldn't publish the comment sans tenure. Suck it up for another decade.