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Is this physicist a fraud? Worked under Pauli and Heisenberg, etc

  1. Dec 10, 2011 #1
    I don't want to name him explicitly, in fear of blemishing his name in case he is not a fraud. Just google
    (including the ""-symbols) and the relevant wikipedia page should be the first hit.

    Apparently the scientist first went to a group established in 1975, and afterwards he went to work with Wolfgang Pauli... who died in 1958.


    The wikipedia page is full of virtuous claims without backing. Nonetheless, he has published books, but the weirdest thing is that he has also published a paper in the American Journal of Physics (1972) where he is listed as a member of "Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, California". Since AJP would check its sources, the guy can't be a total fraud, but then how would you explain such a wikipedia page? (and I can't find any backing for the extreme contributions he claims on his wiki-page)

    Any thoughts?

    I have no beef with this person what so ever. I just stumbled upon him by accident and the above quote struck me as very odd and worthy of inspection.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2011 #2
    There are some individuals with technical skills and creativity who sometimes hold a crazy belief. And the smarter they are, the harder it is to convince them they hold a crazy belief. Have you ever heard of Brian David Josephson ?

    But it is all right, because as Weinberg puts it, Science does not have prophets, only heros. And in any good homeric odyssey, some heros sometimes fall to the dark side :wink:
  4. Dec 10, 2011 #3


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    I'm not sure if the Pauli exclusion princiiple prevents other from people having the same name as its discoverer.
  5. Dec 10, 2011 #4
    After reading the Wiki page, I am lead to think that either an admirer or he, himself, wrote the entire thing. It seems grand and glorious: "Worked under Pauli...blah....Worked under Heisenberg...blah blah...Solved some of Bells' and Einstein's problems!".

    I call shenanigans!
  6. Dec 10, 2011 #5
  7. Dec 11, 2011 #6
    The Wikipedia page seems just to be badly written, it is unclear whether it's a hobby theory or his main interest. As for the rest: The Tao of Physics, Rupert Sheldrake, etc. There are lots of people with ideas on how the world functions. Personally, I guess the guy teaches/researches quantum physics and got a bit too excited on what he thinks are real world consequences for consciousness. I would call his theory interesting, but idiotic, and straight in line with morphogenetic fields, but as long as he's doing hard science there is no damage being done.

    Actually, there is something to say for morphogenetic fields and Josephson's ideas, but I doubt a direct link between QM and consciousness can bear any fruit.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2011
  8. Dec 11, 2011 #7


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    Apparently HPS received his PhD from Berkeley in 1955 according one site (Inst. of Noetic Sciences). If he then went to ETH, it is possible he worked under Pauli.

    HPS has an office at LBL and webpage there has numerous papers. It is odd that there is only one paper from the 1950s-1980s.
  9. Dec 12, 2011 #8


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  10. Dec 13, 2011 #9


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    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  11. Dec 13, 2011 #10


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    (So predictable) Now this is the first hit on google. :D
  12. Dec 13, 2011 #11
    Henry Stapp? Yeah he's a physics Phd and super well known in the physics community. But also, I think he has some, er, controversial ideas. So what? Stapp's just one of those people who was brave enough, or stupid enough, to publish some of his controversial ideas. By the way, he's cited in lots of papers on Bell's Theorem. So, regarding your consideration, no, he's not a fraud -- though you might disagree with some of his ideas.

    Stapp's the guy who called Bell's theorem "the most profound discovery of Science". Haven't you ever read that? He was mistaken wrt that, imho, but nonetheless a legitimate, professional physicist.


    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  13. Dec 13, 2011 #12
    ThomasT: is it necessary to explicitly name him? This will make this thread pop up when googling his name and I don't think anybody wants this, esp. himself. Could you kindly remove the name?

    As for the general remarks: a lot of remarks are about his fringe science, as if that was my objection. Note that I did not say a word about that, I have no problem with the research that he occupies himself with. My only objection was to the facts that
    a) seem very unlikely
    b) have no backing


    @robphy: thank you! It seems my suspections were incorrect and he is not a fraud :)
  14. Dec 13, 2011 #13
    I don't understand your objection to using his name. He has nothing to hide. He's a legitimate Phd physicist. Cited in many papers. He's on YouTube. So, what, exactly, is your objection?

    EDIT: I should think that he would welcome this sort of thing. Ie., somebody doubts his credentials, and then those credentials are verified. Which is not to say that I agree with his opinions regarding Bell's theorem -- which I think are quite wrong.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  15. Dec 13, 2011 #14
    Well the fact if he has antyhing to fear or not is besides the point. I just don't think it would be enjoyable for a person that if someone googled his name, a thread discussing "IS THIS GUY A FRAUD?" would pop up... Look, okay, it's not a big deal, but it's just that mentioning his name adds nothing to the discussion, while leaving it out simply seems polite, as the thread was very speculative. I feel like you'd want to make this a matter of principle, that indeed he has nothing to fear, and I agree, but I just only see benefits in leaving out the name, it's a practical matter.

    Any my objection was to the fact that his wikipedia page first states that he worked somewhere in the 70's or such and the next paragraph says "then he worked with Pauli" who had died in the 50's. This made me wonder, hence this thread. But robphy's sources convince me that the wikipedia page is obscure but not necessarily wrong. This resolves the issue for me.
  16. Dec 13, 2011 #15
    That's suspicions -- for future reference.
  17. Dec 13, 2011 #16
    Believe me, this guy has had to contend with a lot more than just a PF article questioning his credentials. Yes, the way the Wiki article is phrased is a little confusing. But a bit of cursory research confirms what it says about Stapp working with Pauli.

    Why did you happen to target this individual in the first place?
  18. Dec 13, 2011 #17
    Two things:

    1) I didn't "target" him: that sounds like I had a hidden agenda. I simply stumbled upon his wikipedia page due to some connection with QM (don't remember) and then read those few lines that seemed dubious. The way it was phrased on wikipedia made it seem impossible, but nevertheless I did a search on google, and still couldn't find anything, hence this thread. I was asking for help.

    2) I can't stand people that sacrifice common decency for making a point. You're obviously set on explicitly mentioning his name without there being any need for that. Up until now (on this forum) I had thought you were a reasonable person, but now I see you care more about making points than something else. I have nothing else to say to you.

    As to the others that have posted, thank you for helping me out!
  19. Dec 13, 2011 #18
    I've tried to find out Stapp's birth date and have been unable to do so. Other articles on him have been as confusing wrt times as the Wiki article.

    But there are pictures and videos of him (undated) so I have to suppose he's real.

    The YouTube video that I just viewed shows him to be, er, somewhat confused about the quantum theory. But then aren't we all? And he WAS trying to explain something to a layperson. I'll search some more as find time. The thing is that Stapp's name comes up, or used to anyway, quite often in the literature about Bell's theorem.
  20. Dec 13, 2011 #19
    I think you might be overreacting. :smile: Relax. I feel certain that Stapp won't mind. Keep in mind that this is a science forum. We appreciate candor, and, above all, facts. If you have a question about something or somebody, then spell it out. If you were that concerned about preserving someone's anonymity then you wouldn't have asked about them in a public forum in the first place. Would you? But, as I said, don't be concerned. Stapp, apparently, has nothing to hide.

    EDIT: By the way, Stapp is an extremely famous person in the physics community. So, your concern with not mentioning his name is sort of, pointless.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  21. Dec 13, 2011 #20
    Sure it does. Now people who are curious about who you're talking about can just Google "Henry Stapp", physicist, and get lots more info than they would have otherwise, or at least without a lot of unnecessary work. Stapp's an interesting guy, and his ideas are worth at least a casual perusal.
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