Most Ridiculous Papers You've Ever Read

In summary, the conversation discusses a paper from 1998 that proposed a new formulation of Quantum Mechanics called "History Selection" which allows for the possibility of time travel. The theory is not causal and has been retracted due to its questionable validity. Papers like these are often rejected or retracted due to a disconnect between theory and experiment, broad interpretations of data, or flawed experiments. However, identifying these kinds of papers can be difficult, and it is important to distinguish between legitimate scientific research and speculative or pseudoscientific ideas.
  • #1
Nosebgr
17
4
A Design for a Quantum Time Machine

Andrew Gray, submitted 2 Apr 1998

ABSTRACT
"In the new ``History Selection'' formulation of Quantum Mechanics an entire cosmic history is selected over all space and time, with a probability for selection assigned to each possible history. As this probability depends on the whole history, and is not merely composed of the product of probabilities for each step in the history, the theory is not a causal theory. It shall be shown that this violation of causality is usually completely unobservable and confined to the microscopic world, occurring inbetween ``observations''. However it shall also be shown that in certain special circumstances it is possible to exploit the intrinsic non-causal nature of the theory to violate causality at the macroscopic level. A practical design for a device which can exploit this effect is shown. Such a device would effectively enable one to see into the future, and is thus a kind of time machine. Finally it shall be shown that, according to this new formulation of Quantum Mechanics, this does not give rise to any unpleasant time paradoxes."

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I came across this while I was browsing through arXiv.org, submitted back in 1998 and funnily enough removed in 2004 with an amusing note: "This paper has been retracted, for obvious reasons."

Initial submission link: https://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9804008v1
Retracted version: https://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9804008

If you came across similar, or even more ridiculous papers please do share. Hopefully the links work, if not let me know.
 
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  • #2
Most were read as a peer-reviewer and never made it into print.

It would be a violation of the referee terms to say much about anyone of them.

Usually, there is a big disconnect between theory and experiment or an overly broad or confident interpretation of experimental results.

Sometimes, it is just a bad experiment that had no chance of testing the hypothesis that it was designed to test.

I do recall a published paper saying that the force (between bullet and tissue) is in no way related to the local rate of change of the bullet's kinetic energy. In other words, it directly contradicted F = dE/dx.
 
  • #3
Thread closed pending moderation
 
  • #4
Due to the nature of these kinds of papers, we feel its best to close this thread. PF focuses on mainstream science and doesn't discuss personal theories or speculative science. Posting paper references like these would lead to a host of problematic posts.

In closing, I'd like to offer this Sciam article:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/in-physics-telling-cranks-from-experts-aint-easy/

and its reference to the book:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0802715133/?tag=pfamazon01-20

-- Jedi
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Related to Most Ridiculous Papers You've Ever Read

1. What makes a paper considered "ridiculous"?

A paper is typically considered "ridiculous" if it lacks scientific rigor, contains exaggerated or outlandish claims, or is based on flawed or biased research methods. These papers often lack credibility and may be published in questionable or predatory journals.

2. How common are "ridiculous" papers in the scientific community?

It is difficult to determine exactly how common "ridiculous" papers are in the scientific community, as they often go unnoticed or unpublished. However, with the rise of predatory journals and the pressure to publish, there has been an increase in the number of low-quality or flawed papers being published.

3. Can "ridiculous" papers have any negative impact on the scientific community?

Yes, "ridiculous" papers can have a negative impact on the scientific community. They can spread misinformation, waste resources and funding, and taint the credibility of legitimate research. They can also mislead the public and undermine trust in the scientific process.

4. How can scientists avoid reading or citing "ridiculous" papers?

One way to avoid reading or citing "ridiculous" papers is to carefully evaluate the source and credibility of the paper. Scientists should also be critical and skeptical of any claims made in a paper, and consult with colleagues or experts in the field before citing or using information from a questionable source.

5. What can be done to prevent the publication of "ridiculous" papers?

To prevent the publication of "ridiculous" papers, a combination of efforts is needed. This includes stricter peer review processes, increased awareness and education within the scientific community, and stricter regulations for predatory journals. Scientists can also play a role by carefully evaluating and avoiding these papers in their own research and publications.

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