Friday, 1 June 2012

Poor Mansuripur.

I'm starting to feel a tiny bit sorry for Mansuripur. This could well turn into a "career ruined" story, or worse. I can imagine how I'd feel if there had now appeared four different comments on my work on the arxiv....

.... along with McDonald's rather more discrete refutal, see earlier posts.

So, Mansuripur, if you're reading this, keep your chin up.  Forget this little incident, stop trying to prove that Einstein was wrong, and focus on your optics, no pun intended. It will all be fine. People make mistakes, people will forget.

I don't think, by the way, that the reason there are so many comments coming out on this paper is that it's essentially wrong, or that it rediscovers a problem that was solved long ago, or that scientists feel a selfless, community serving need to correct mistakes in published papers so that they are not propagated into future research, no.

There are so many comments because everyone is trying to get a free PRL out of Mansuripur's cock up. That's how PRL works. You get a paper published, someone will write a comment on it. If you had sent the same paper to another journal, even to another high-impact letters journal like Phys Lett B (which, by the way, seems to have a much more human set of reviewers and editors than phys rev), no-one would care about writing a comment.

It's something very specific to PRL, it seems.

So, physicists, give it a rest. We know Mansuripur messed up, and we know Physical Review is never going to touch one of his papers ever again and that he's going to have to keep his future job applications restricted to those groups who don't know how to use four-vectors, but it's time to get on with something else. If the chap kills himself, it's on our heads.

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