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How to challenge a well established theory?

  1. May 27, 2012 #1
    Hi all, need some help here. If I wish to contradict a well established theory in physics (namely the Carnot theorem), then what would be a suitable platform? I've tried a few journals but most of those publish experimental papers & won't accept my paper because it’s theoretical. Pls suggest a suitable platform (journals, conferences etc.) where new theories can be forwarded for scientific criticism. Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2012 #2

    Chi Meson

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    If you have no experimental support, then you do NOT have a theory, and you have no basis for challenging an established theory. No reputable journal will even glance at a paper that is only conjecture. The Carnot Theorem is not a "theory" anyway, it is a formula that results from the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Violating this law is exactly the same as "perpetual motion," which immediately hits the "disregard" button at all scientific journals. It also will trigger the lock on a thread here.

    In short, before this does lock, let me tell you that you will need to have a working, repeatable experiment that demonstrates the validity of your conjecture before anyone will pay attention.
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
  4. May 27, 2012 #3
    Do you mean you have to have experimental support for your assumptions, or experimental support of your theory's consequences?
  5. May 27, 2012 #4
    Have you tried googling journal theoretical physics? I have.
  6. May 27, 2012 #5
    Maybe also take note of http://scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_12_4_martin.pdf [Broken]

    which, of course, is completely in line with the observations of Thomas Kuhn.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. May 27, 2012 #6


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    And this is baloney, because I can easily point out to Dan Koshland's terrific article "Crazy but correct" (D.E. Koshland, Jr., Nature v.432, p.447 (2004)):

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  8. May 27, 2012 #7
    hi all, thank u for all the responses, this theory I am proposing is serious and in the system that is proposed, the entropy of the universe increases, so the system is totally possible. The only obstacle in the actual construction is the availability of suitable materials. If this theory is published, then research would lead us to an actual working system eventually. I have sent the abstracts to the popular journals. Most of them aren't commenting anything. If anyone is aware of theoretical journals that publish such papers, then pls help me out here.
  9. May 27, 2012 #8
    Have you googled journal theoretical physics carnot? I have. Here are some journals that have published theoretical articles on the Carnot engine.

    Proceedings of the Royal Society London A458, 1519-1526(2002)
    Entropy and Temperature of a Quantum Carnot Engine

    Journal of Physics A33, 4427-4436.(2000)
    Quantum-mechanical Carnot engine

    Journal of Modern Physics
    Multiple-State Quantum Carnot Engine

    Physical Review A, 15, 2086-2093, 1977
    Thermodynamics in Finite Time I: The Step Carnot Cycle

    As you can see, there are plenty of journals that publish theoretical articles on this subject. Try all of these and if none of them accept your article, google for more journals.
  10. May 27, 2012 #9
    thank u so much jimmy, i'm working on it
  11. May 27, 2012 #10
    No you aren't. I am.
  12. May 27, 2012 #11


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    Hmm....so it sounds to me like you have an idea for a perpetual motion machine, you recognize that it violates an existing law of physics, so you created a new one to allow for it to work. That about right?
  13. May 27, 2012 #12
    Maybe that Martin still has some useful hints:

  14. May 27, 2012 #13
  15. May 27, 2012 #14
    not exactly....none of the physics laws are violated, morever Carnot theorem, unlike perpetual machine, does quantify the loses.....but all these details would be scrutinized later.....the main point is that if u could suggest names of reputed journals publishing such theoretical work after sufficient scientific scrutiny, i could proceed further and find out how perfect is my theory.
  16. May 27, 2012 #15


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    You did not understand well the second post of this thread I think. If you violate Carnot theorem, you also violate the second law of thermodynamics.
    Personally before sending such a pretending "theory" to top journals, I'd be pleased to post it on this forum to hear critics/comments. When you're about to violate well established theories you should realize you're very likely wrong somewhere.
  17. May 27, 2012 #16


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    I have no idea why you think this is useful, certainly not after you posted the earlier garbage.

  18. May 27, 2012 #17


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    Unfortunately, based on what you posted and the grandiose claims that you have made, you are exhibiting the same symptoms of a crackpot.


  19. May 27, 2012 #18


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    Not here, please. According to our rules:

  20. May 27, 2012 #19


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    Oops sorry.
    What about under the following form: "I cannot find my mistake in some thoughts that I have. More precisely according to ... so that ... which contradicts Carnot's theorem and thus the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Where is/are my errors?"
  21. May 27, 2012 #20
    ZapperZ, what planet did you just arrive from?

    I shared the Martin link with Andre, and it is a valid one.
    Being a PhD student in academia, I am aware of the pitfalls of challenging the consensus.

    Do you think Walter Alvarez and his team had an easy time of it rolling out their K/T (now K/Pg) impact hypothesis? Of course not.

    For instance, the leaders in a field do not like to find out that their work of many years was incorrect. It is easier to squelch the new information especially when it is from an upcoming person in the field, who, btw is not likely to rise any further after challenging. An established professional is also going to have difficulties.

    Just look at the stories of J. Harlan Brett (geologist, Channeled Scablands genesis) and Alfred Wegener (meteorologist, Continental Drift). Both had important ideas that took 50 years or so to finally become accepted. They were ridiculed and criticized.

    A more recent challenger, Dave Griscom, is a retired physicist, who worked on electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy, and was a PI for NASA on lunar research. He recently proposed that the upland gravels in the US Mid-Atlantic coastal region are impact ejecta from the 35.5 Mya Chesapeake Bay impact structure.
    He has not had an easy time getting published, but his interpretation seems
    like a good one to me.

    Also, abhijitp88 , it is not a theory until is has been vetted. It is a hypothesis or hypotheses, until it is accepted.

    You need to find a mentor/advisor who can review your hypothesis and give feedback on the weaknesses. You need to be able to anticipate any objections to your hypothesis and be ready with answers. You also need to learn how to write in the scientifically acceptable style. A mentor/advisor could help you with this.

    Good luck.

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