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How to publish a new theorem

  1. Sep 15, 2014 #1

    bobie

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    Hi,
    I have found a theorem that disproves a theorem of physics (I think). According to rules I cannot post it here to get it verified.

    Can you tell me where/to whom to send it to check it and, if it is valid, make it public?

    I do not know of reviews or sites that accept articles from unqualified people, and also I do not know whom I can trust: it would be easy simple to take the proposal and make one's own. In case, how can I prove I am the author? do they acknowledge receipt when one sends an article?

    Thanks, your advice is highly appreciated.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2014 #2
    Write a paper about it and send it to a respectable journal?
     
  4. Sep 15, 2014 #3

    WWGD

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    First write the layout in as much detail as possible, and send it to yourself as an e-mail. This gives you a dated record of the theorem. Or do something similar with mail.
     
  5. Sep 15, 2014 #4
    Theorems cannot be disproven by definition.
     
  6. Sep 15, 2014 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    First, a theorem can't disprove a theorem. One or the other must be wrong, in which case it's not a theorem. If one of them is in wide use and has been for years or decades and the other is not, I know which one I'd bet on.

    Second, if you aren't already reading journals you have two problems. The first is that you're not aware of what is going on in the field you are trying to contribute to, so your odds of success are very low. The second is that wanting to publish without reading is just like talking without listening. And it will be received about as well.

    Third, don't worry about people stealing your idea.

    If you are serious, start reading the journals.
     
  7. Sep 15, 2014 #6

    SteamKing

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    I think there is also a confusion of terminology here. Math and geometry have 'theorems', which are statements that have been proven based on other previously established statements.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theorem

    On the other hand, physics deals with 'theories', which are statements about how nature works. Physical theories are often formulated to explain empirical results obtained from experiment, from which additional data can be predicted or additional theories may be developed:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory

    As was stated above, if you disprove a 'theorem', then something was seriously amiss with the line of reasoning which led up to that theorem being proven originally. If you disprove a 'theory', that in itself does not require a wholesale re-examination of all of the reasoning which led up to the development of that particular theory, it could just mean that the theory was founded on insufficient information.

    Still, even basic physical theories are checked by constant experimentation, so you have to decide how your new 'theorem' or 'theory' has been overlooked by thousands of scientists running thousands of experiments over the years. Was everyone keeping their work hidden for fear of being cheated out of priority of discovery? Here is where the line between paranoia and conspiracy gets blurred.
     
  8. Sep 15, 2014 #7

    bobie

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    This advice is precious, I didn't know that an e-mail can be a valid proof. I thought it can be easily forged.
     
  9. Sep 16, 2014 #8

    bobie

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    Thank you all for your response. I am just a student, do not read journals, and have no clue about who might be interested in what I can say. Maybe I made a confusion of terminology but ia was referring to a physics rule that is called a theorem. My proof gives a different, contrasting result and I called it a theorem, of course if my derivation is right there was something wrong with the original one (by Gauss). I think I found also why, but I suppose I am not supposed to explain why it was wrong.
    It is not clear to me what this means, my proof is simple math, if I made no mistakes, that's it. If the paranoia refers to me, I want to publish it anonimously as I am scared of publicity.
    As you are so friendly, I'll tell you the whole story:
    Last month I was involved in another forum in a discussion and I criticized that theorem, I hinted at my proof and the admin personally barged in the debate, and asked me more and more details of my proof, telling he could tell me if I made a mistake or if I was right.

    I gave him the full derivation, waited for 3 weeks now, and discovered that the thread has been deleted, the other member who maintained the opposite view has been banned and all his posts in other threads removed, so I have no witness.
    I wrote a couple of times to the admin asking why the thread has been deleted and if I was right after all, and he never replied. So, I thought to hurry up as I have no evidence I am its author if they publish it somewhere. Probably they already have. I did not post it here as it is against the rules and I already collected a dozen infractions.

    If you know personally someone you trust who can help me, I would be grateful, else, just give me a couple of links to journals that accept papers from unknown people.

    Thanks
     
  10. Sep 16, 2014 #9
    You shouldn't even be considering publishing it. Every single thing Gauss has done that is known has been wildly scrutinized and studied. If something he did is wrong, it's already known.

    You should, in my opinion, just post the theorem you are interested in in the appropriate section and ask why it does not contradict your statement or whether the contradiction is already known.
     
  11. Sep 16, 2014 #10

    bobie

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    It was not by Gauss personally, they do not specify, they said based on.
    What if I post it here and it is right? what happens?

    Edit: @ SteamKing: in the other forum the thread was not deleted (not a single post or word) as long as everybody though it was nonsense, it is a very tolerant site, if it was deleted it must have been right
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
  12. Sep 16, 2014 #11

    SteamKing

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    At worst, it just gets deleted again. It's not like someone is going to come to where you live and slap you around.

    IIRC, Gauss was known primarily as a mathematician, and he was very reluctant to publish anything under his name until he had checked all the math thoroughly. He was not a prolific writer like Euler, who filled many volumes with his writing, only part of which was printed in his lifetime.

    If you were to raise this point about Gauss' work, or derivation from same, by asking for a clarification of the result, I don't see where this would be a problem. But still, if the math wasn't right in the first place, it's pretty astounding that the error escaped everyone's attention, especially that of Gauss himself, until now.

    Now, as a student, you can check what Gauss has purportedly written on this particular theorem against his published works:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Friedrich_Gauss#Writings

    There is a link at the bottom of the article to his complete works, which were written mostly in Latin, with German translation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
  13. Sep 16, 2014 #12

    Vanadium 50

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    Well, since you said that you knew this was against the rules, you'll probably get an infraction. If you've already received "a dozen", this may be the one that leads to a permanent ban.

    I think a dose of humility is in order. Your position is that you found an error made by Gauss, and was missed by the literally thousands of people who studied his work for centuries. You've done this without even looking at the literature, and for that matter, not even checking that this was done by Gauss. I think a lot of people would have trouble with that.

    Mapes once said "We generally think we are right. That thought is absolutely common. It's no guarantee that we are actually right. "
     
  14. Sep 16, 2014 #13

    ShayanJ

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    It always may happen that you get something wrong. Either you make a mistake in your calculations or you didn't understand the thing,you're disproving, correctly. I had this experience too. But I always say to myself: 1) If you noticed it, why didn't so many great scientists working with it all the time? 2) You're just learning things. Its really improbable that you are right and the other guy with so much knowledge and experience is wrong.
    So in such situations, I first go for checking my understanding of the main thing I was learning. Then I check my own calculations.
    You should do the same. And if you don't find a problem, you should post it here and people will tell you how you were wrong. Its really improbable that you're right, believe me!

    I should say that its not against PF rules. Someone is asking others to tell him what he has done wrong in this reasoning and calculations. That's pretty common here.
     
  15. Sep 16, 2014 #14

    bobie

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    I posted here to get some guidance, some useful address, I did not say I am right or I disproved Gauss, I do not know if he was involved at all. On the other side I suppose that no one is entitled to take for granted that I cannot be but wrong.

    In a thread in cosmology I made a remark here, and it was dismissed with condescendence by Jorrie (and later earned an infraction I am proud of). In another site I did not make a remark, I contested (to his face) the same mistake to none less than Lubos Motl on the same issue, and in the end my answer got more votes than Motl's: Expansion of the universe
    I got a square deal there and the other modified his previous answer


    If anyone can help, I thank him in advance.
    Thank you all.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
  16. Sep 16, 2014 #15
    There is a change you will undergo in your academic career. That is, you will start to see that it isn't about you, it's about the field. Mathematics isn't about disproving other people and being right, it is about the content. If you publish content making no mention about "so and so" being wrong, then it might get looked at. If you make it sound like your goal is to prove someone else wrong (especially something that is proven..) people will likely assume that you aren't a matured mathematician anyway. Mathematics isn't a debate with votes.
     
  17. Sep 16, 2014 #16

    bobie

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    You are attributing me intentions I have never expressed, I did not say I want to disprove anyone or get votes, I had only to explain what it is all about. I do not intend to be a physicist, nor a mathematicians, nor I am seeking for fame and glory. You overlooked that I want, in case, publish it anonymously.

    Had not this accident happened (in the othee forum), I was quite content with it as I was ever since I happened to find it long ago. But you keep criticisizing me, and do not mention any concrete address or direction.

    Thanks anyway.
     
  18. Sep 16, 2014 #17

    ZapperZ

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    Please note that the title of the thread asked for how to publish a new theorem. If you want to publish it so that it is taken seriously by experts in the field, then there is only ONE answer: relevant, respected, journals.

    One can argue the ability, the difficulty, the steps needed for that, but it still doesn't change this very clear fact that for something to be considered to be valid, it must first appear in such a medium. Period.

    If you are unable to do that for whatever the reason, then you have failed in the first line of proper evaluation in the process of science.

    Zz.
     
  19. Sep 16, 2014 #18

    bobie

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    Can you give me some addresses or at least their names, please?
     
  20. Sep 16, 2014 #19

    ZapperZ

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    I can't, because I have no idea (i) what area you are trying to publish this and (ii) the level of significance, importance, impact of the work. Each of these factors determine what journals one should focus on.

    But your question is also very revealing. It shows that (i) you haven't done any kind of background literature search to either verify, validate, or compare your idea to and (ii) you are not aware of the current state of knowledge in that particular area. So how are you to know that no one has addressed that very same issue already or that it hasn't appeared anywhere else? If you have done both, then you would also have paid attention to the journals where the sources were published, and thus, would have an inkling where to publish your work.

    Think about it.

    Zz.
     
  21. Sep 16, 2014 #20

    Rocket50

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    Isn't posing a theorem/proof for criticism allowed (e.g. here's my proof, please find my mistake)?
     
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