Errors in Physics-Related Public Presentations + Ethics of Researchers from/at Elite American Universities (Like MIT/Stanford) and the Indians’ Typical F***ed Up Response to It

QM-Related Errors, Part I:

Actually, this part was highlighted right the last time. In my previous blog post, I had asked you to check out a post by Dr. Sean Carroll (PhD: Harvard, Current Employers: CalTech), here [^]. As noted by him, the whole controversy began with a presentation by Dr. Brian Cox (PhD: Victoria University of Manchester (now Uni. of Manchester), Current Employers: University of Manchester and CERN (the same folks who rejected my paper without assigning any reason [^])).

IMO, the best among the huge responses this small controversy generated (made via any avenues: posts, comments, videos, twitter, etc.) was this one [^], made by Dr. Jonathan Butterworth (PhD: Oxford, Current Employer: University College, London).

As I said in my previous post, I had no desire to comment at any of their blogs. … But that still leaves open an issue: Does that mean that I could have provided the right answer? (IMO, the right answer is the one given by Prof. Butterworth.)

My answer to that question is: no. But let me explain.

Of course, I knew about issues and ideas like: quantum state in general vs. energy eigenstate, the universe as a single wavefunction, propagation of the characteristics at c as advocated by the relativity theory, etc.

However, I must still say that my knowledge is still not sufficiently “gelled” or crystallized so well together that I could have come up with the right answer, right on the fly.

I could easily sense the quantum state vs the energy state issue right on the first reading. However, Carroll (and others) had raised so many other, related issues that I kindaa got sidetracked in thinking how I might answer those so many other issues using my approach.

Now, as you know, my approach is still under development, and one reason why my knowledge of QM is not yet crystallized so well is because I find myself keeping on doing this to-and-fro between my approach and the mainstream QM: the physics of what my approach leads to (and what they all miss, so easily!) Hence, I couldn’t have got that answer so easily.

There also is another reason. Carroll himself, as well as the folks replying there (and at other blog posts/threads) really made it more complicated than was necessary—and I am sure that was a very honest thing on (many among) their part (Carroll certainly included among the honest ones). …You see, the mainstream QM doesn’t—in fact, cannot—provide you with a neat physical picture. This deficiency of the mainstream QM leads to a significant handicap. Notice the number of years of QM the debaters have had, and then, notice also the kind of this small, almost a QM 101 issue they still are left grappling with. So, what happens is, any time any basic issue of QM is opened for discussion, there is too much of digression. Which, in a way, feeds into my reformulation thoughts, and, so, I too get digressed.

QM-Related Errors, Part II, + Ethics Etc.:

Anyway, here is another presentation that I came across just yesterday. First, “a” word about the presenter.

The presentation is by Dr. Ramesh Raskar (XII MS Board Rank: 1st, BE E&TC (not Metallurgy) from COEP, PhD in CS (not Metallurgy, Materials Science/Engg, or Mechanical) from Uni. North Carolina Chapel Hill; Current Employers: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA (not jobless); also check out the awards he has been bestowed with, at his MIT page here: [^]). “A” word is over. Many more will now follow. That is to say, before going to the presentation proper, let me make something public, here.

As you know, I have been on the lookout for any possibility of any experimental validation of my new approach in QM. I have contacted people from all leading universities in the world. Most of them did not bother to reply back—not even a regret email—with barely one or two honorable exceptions (notably, that of Prof. Lyman Page of Princeton).

When I came to know of Prof. Raskar’s research in the high-speed cameras and all, I thought that the experimental generated by this research might provide for at least some indirect data towards having my theory validated. So, I wrote to him an email. (There also was another background to it. While working in the SF Bay Area in late 1990s, I had commented on a Web page on COEP alumni that Raskar maintained. I am not sure if I had mentioned this connection. I certainly had mentioned the commonality of COEP, also education from Nasik, to him.)

As expected, the email went unanswered. A few months later, I again wrote an email. This time, it was to take objection to a line that one of his MS students had written in his MS thesis. Essentially, I wanted to point out that I already had a publication on QM modeling of light and diffraction/interference, and that my precedence should be acknowledged. There also was this matter about a paper that Raskar had co-authored with a guy from West-coast (I no longer recall his name, but will look up and supply the details in a next blog post).

No reply from Raskar.

Yet another reminder.

No reply.

Then I thought of the situation in exactly those terms in which most any COEP alumnus would have. The difference was, I expressed my thoughts in an email, explicitly using exactly those words (i.e. expletives), and even sent that email to him.

At this stage, I knew I should either not get any reply at all, or, it will be a very direct (if not friendly) kind of an interaction. Raskar wrote one line asking me for my phone so he could call me. I gave him that, adding also something to the effect that now that the possibility of having at least some communication is there, I would approach things differently.

Then, I pointed out that MS thesis thing to him. —namely, that my research had precedence, and that his student had written that one line wrongly. (This MS student of Raskar’s is a JPBTI (JEE Pass BTech IITian). Naturally, it was known that the bastard wouldn’t reply someone like me—esp. now that he had gone to MIT, and I had a PhD from COEP, University of Pune.)

Raskar didn’t address the issue directly. This much is what I now gather vaguely. It’s been more than a year, and I will have to look up my emails—perhaps made from SoftTech’s account, and thus no longer accessible to me. But doing that is not really necessary. I know for sure that if Raskar were to address the issue directly, honestly, without the airs of being at MIT, he would have written it in a different way—and this difference would have been tremendous enough that I surely would have remembered it very distinctly.

So, there. The story doesn’t end here, though.

There is a JPBTI by name Dr. Naveen Kabra (BTech in CS (not Metallurgy) at IIT Bombay (not COEP), PhD in CS (neither Mechanical nor Metallurgy) from University of Wisconsin at Madison (not COEP, University of Pune); only today I got to know that, like me and Raskar, he too attended schooling in Nasik [^]). I had got to know him via a Hindi songs site he used to maintain (or perhaps still does). I had sent him an email enquiring about an old Hindi film song. I took a chance, but had a feeling that since he was a JPBTI in CS, he wouldn’t write back. Dr. Kabra turned out to have been true to his JPBTI color—he didn’t reply back.

Story forward. This guy Kabra now runs an online forum called PuneTech. I don’t visit them often, but by luck (or whatever), one day I happened to notice at PuneTech that Raskar would be delivering a lecture in IISER/NCL.

I immediately took this opportunity by writing Raskar an email that I would be attending the event. (I didn’t want to throw him off-guard. His being a COEP junior is just one of the two main reasons. (The other is: my knowledge of his relative but certain incompetence in that area in which our interests seem to overlap.))

I did attend the event. And, as covered in the emails, went up to talk to him after the lecture. (The lecture itself was not on an area of my interest; it was on that NETRA technology developed by him—the thing to do with using mobile phone camera as a low-cost medical instrument for checking eye conditions.) I made sure that he recognized me as the guy who had used expletives; then duly offered a formal apology though, in the heart of my hearts, I knew—and still know—that any apology was neither necessary nor sufficient to get him to change his ways.

As expected, he seemed deliberately following on continuing to harbor that feeling of having been unjustly offended, despite my, definitely formal, apology.

“I receive so many emails a day” was the sort of explanation he had, for not replying my initial emails. I pointed out a few examples of the opposite kind; the examples included, a Physics Nobel nominee (Thomson Reuter Hall etc.), an von Neumann awardee (who has publicly noted that he gets more than a 100 emails a day (leaving aside spams) and tries to reply all of them), etc.

Then, he said it, with dripping sarcasm clearly evident on his contorted face, “Yes, Ajit, you are ahead of us! You are a genius!” My spontaneous reaction, clearly, was unexpected by him. I told him that I didn’t care about being described a genius, and that, yes, I, indeed, have been ahead of them.

Then, I challenged him point-blank: “Could you make that statement publicly, tomorrow—that, in QM, in your opinion, I am ahead of you?” At that time, he started muttering things like: “It’s not my field,” and began looking around at the organizers, who, by now, were already getting into the hero’s side-kick-rescuing-the-hero mode. (These people included a certain woman. I recently saw her profile at a matrimonials site. Looking at her profile, this entire incidence also came back to my mind, apart from the QM mistake Dr. Raskar has committed, and then, I decided to blog about it.)

Ok. To cut the long story short. In the ensuing brief discussion (ultimately cut short by the sidekicks—and the whole thing hadn’t even lasted some 3–4 minutes), Raskar did not ever say that not citing my research was an oversight. No. He knew the line he was going to adopt.

Raskar managed to keep his face straight while, in answer, asking me to get in touch with his co-authors (one of them being a PhD from Stanford, Current Employer: University of California, Santa Cruz). I told Raskar that I had already written emails to them, but they were not responding. Since Raskar was a co-author, and since we were already physically standing face to face, why couldn’t he at least begin to address the issue, as would be expected by ethics in science? Or was the fact of my using those expletives, out of exasperation, now only to be very smartly used as a cover?

I would have liked to leave you to think about things like that—the things of snobbishness and of ethics—at this stage. However, I happened to have promised you something else. So, here we go:

Check out Raskar’s video here [^]. Though not necessary, also check out the material here [^]. Raskar reveals a very definitely mistaken understanding of the physics in his presentation here. The task for you is to identify it.

And, coming back to the Raskar episode. To be fair to him, even as the hero’s sidekicks were almost on the edge of shoving me out, he did manage to say that he (“we”) could consider giving email replies, that he (“we”) could help, that he (“we”) could even consider collaboration, but nothing can come out if that kind of a language was being used. I include this bit while saying: “to be fair to him.” The reason is, he could at least utter words such as “we could consider collaboration.” Though, he made sure that I wouldn’t go for it.

As I said above, if I can get access to those emails, I will surely write another post mentioning the priority matter, that Stanford PhD bastard coauthor of Raskar’s, and, as you now know, the definitely not-a-bastard Raskar. (Not only these words, but even the emphasis in italics is mine).

I wonder how come those Nobel laureates at MIT let their professional (i.e. paid) colleagues (i.e. guys and gals employed by MIT) get away betraying such a poor understanding of physics.

But then, what the hell do those (Nobel-laureate) certainly-not-bastards care—they got their Nobels, right? Right, Frank Wilczek? What do you care if some Indian guy claims to have resolved the wave particle duality and sends his thesis to you. Right?

And, what do American fuckers care? … Well, on second thoughts, they actually do!! American Fuckers!!!

One final comment, now to Rama Bijapurkar (re. her recent column in that unnecessary Sunday supplement that Indian Express sends out): I do maintain what I said in my comment at Abi’s blog, viz., that Dr. Scott Aaronson does not show sufficient clarity. However, the sense in which you seem to value clarity—and the sense in which I do—seems to a bit at odds. And, I am confident that I am right. So, get the matter clarified on your own, or, if that’s not possible, from someone competent—is that clear? Anyone else from that BJP+Israeli lobby maintaining the same/similar position: ditto.

Last point: I remain jobless. Keep that in mind.

[May be I will streamline this whole thing a bit, esp. the II part, esp. related to the precedence/priority-related matters regarding Raskar’s MS student, his Stanford-PhD-coauthor, and my QM research. I hope to find those email copies stored somewhere or so, though I can’t be very sure—some of them were sent using SoftTech’s office email address, and those emails would have been deleted by now.]

[E&OE]

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