New Theory

  1. After reading the rules and regulations I am somewhat reluctant to submit a new theory to this forum. It sounds great but to post a NEW THEORY and have it reviewed by unknown persons then accepted or rejected by one person does not protect the submitter from loss of control of his idea. At a minimum a list of reviewers and their backgrounds would make the forum more legitimate as would at least a few words on the backgound of the submitter. Kooks hide behind ID's !!!
    I heartily agree there is a huge need for a forum for new ideas in Pysics, after all Einstein was a postal clerk not a research scientist !
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Tom Mattson

    Tom Mattson 5,538
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    Hello sirbola. I have moved this from the IR Forum to the Feedback Forum. The IR Forum is only to be used for...well...Independent Research. :smile:

    Precisely which ones are giving you heartburn, and why?

    It isn't accepted or rejected by one person (I assume you mean me). It is accepted or rejected based on consensus, and I am the one who delivers the message. I mean, if someone really wants 23 emails telling him that he's been rejected, then I suppose it could be arranged but... :biggrin:

    And as for the "unknown" reviewers, the only remedy for that is to stick around and get to know them. PF is a community, and we learn about each other through interaction.

    More legitimate how? This isn't a peer-reviewed journal. We're offering this service because there is a demand for it. If you don't want to participate, then by all means don't.

    Also, if you want to know who is eligible to review an item of Submitted Research you have only to click on "Forum Leaders" at the bottom of the main page. All who wear the titles "PF Admin", "PF Super Mentor", and "Science Advisor" may review. As for our backgrounds, you have to remember that this is an all-volunteer website and that we cannot obligate members to divulge personal information about themselves. You can be sure, however, that Staff Members and Science Advisors have attained their status by reliable, quality posting. But as I said, you can get to know people by talking to them.

    I'm not really interested in that. Items of Submitted Research are weighed on the basis of their quality and compliance with the IR Guidelines, not on the basis of the letters (or lack thereof) after the submitter's name.

    The IR Forum is a place in which you can post your personal theory--without a sponsor (as is required on arXiv)--and have it torn to tiny shreds :biggrin: by some very sharp, well-educated minds. Take it for what it is.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2005
  4. It has been said here before that Einstein was attending physics classes as he worked for the post office (actually I believe it was a patent office). Don't try to belittle the mans education to make it seem like he was just an average joe.

    Also you could always try posting in skepticism and debunking section.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2005
  5. ZapperZ

    ZapperZ 29,986
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    No, I believe Einstein had actually completed his degree when he was working there. So he wasn't just some Joe Schmoe off the street with no physics background. Most people forget that.

    My contention with the OP here is that, if he wants a reputable review of his "theory", then submit it to a peer-reviewed journal!

    Zz.
     
  6. Gokul43201

    Gokul43201 11,141
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    Einstein wasn't a postal clerk ! He was a technical examiner (someone who assesses the scientific feasibility of a proposed invention) at a patent office, and he had a PhD in Physics before he published his paper on SR.
     
  7. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
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    Tom already addressed many points regarding this statement. I just want to add a bit more.

    First, you're right, if you post a new theory on this site and it turns out to be a legitimate/good theory, you do not have control over who views or uses that idea. Once it's out in the public arena, anyone can use it. This is why it continually boggles my mind that anyone would want to post a theory anywhere on the internet (other than an online version of a legitimate, peer-reviewed journal) if they wholeheartedly believe they have a good idea to develop. But, some people continue to demand such a forum be made available to them, so if they want to take that risk, they can do it.

    With regard to acceptance/rejection, we actually aren't accepting or rejecting the ideas during the screening process, unless they are grossly deviant from known physics (i.e., a theory of everything based on nothing more than high school physics knowledge). The screening process just makes sure that the format is correct (quantitative predictions and derivations are shown, necessary references are cited, an abstract is provided...that sort of stuff). If all the formatting stuff is there and the content doesn't entirely ignore known physics, then the "acceptance" is not an indication that we endorse the theory, just that the author has put in the necessary effort to make it worthwhile tossing to the IR forum for open discussion, at which time, they could get no responses, or the wolves may converge and pick it to pieces, or they may get some positive feedback and advice on where to go with it. In the end, nobody is going to give it a gold star and say we approve the idea, whether it's good or bad, all we provide is a sounding board. The original author will need to read the responses and determine for themself if they are helpful or unhelpful, or if they're going to keep an open mind to the suggestions or refuse to listen to any criticism. We aren't providing anything one could consider as legitimate as peer review, because you're right, we can't verify 100% that people are who they represent themselves to be or that they have sufficient expertise on any particular topic. We're just a place where people can bounce ideas off other readers, and take their chances with what they'll get in return.
     
  8. Hello:

    Let me answer this issue raised by Moonbear based on my own experience:

    "This is why it continually boggles my mind that anyone would want to post a theory anywhere on the internet (other than an online version of a legitimate, peer-reviewed journal) if they wholeheartedly believe they have a good idea to develop."

    I don't have a degree in physics. Living in Boston, I have been able to take a dozen physics classes, the majority at the graduate level. This in no way means I have trained to the level of a Ph.D. As a part time independent researcher, I have little confidence I can write a paper with the kind of technical precision required for a peer-reviewed journal. Oh, I do have a draft paper I would like to submit to "Classical and Quantum Gravity." Thing is, I have not be able to understand one title or abstract from that publication the three times I picked it up to leaf through it.

    I go critic fishing. I got one technical critique of my work in a face-to-face meeting with a professor, and two via the newsgroup sci.physics.research. In all three cases, the critic was, well, to be diplomatic, undiplomatic. Yet after several months time, in each case I finally "got" what they were saying, and was able to change the proposal appropriately. I have not bothered to see if the three folks in question thought the changes addressed their issues. The IR forum might be a place to hand out some bats and let people work over the idea. Nature is much harder on theories that people are after all.

    doug
     
  9. Lisa!

    Lisa! 990
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    There's something I can't understand. I have no doubt about reviewer's knowledge, but I don't know how people can trust someone when they can't meet each other in person. They don't know where that really live and where they're working or teaching!
    If it was me, I would never talk about my new theory to a person whom I don't know well. Luckily I have no new theory, so I don't need to be worried about these things now!
     
  10. I have a comment concerning all this paranoia. The whole point of developing new theories is to advance the current state of scientific development. While I respect someones right to be credited for their discoveries, this credit is irrelevant to the advancement of science, and seems to be more about grand standing. It makes me question someones motivation when submitting a new theory. Is it their contention that they are smarter than everyone else?

    Relax people, feel free to discuss your ideas in public, because the only way we are to advance is to pool all our ideas together, and have our peers consider the validity of our ideas and expand on them. Having your name attached is surely a great honor, but hardly conducive to scientific advancement. No one man is going to grasp the meaning of the universe all by them selves. Even Einstein used knowledge gained from other peoples experiments to advance his theorys, and then modified certain aspects of them from feedback of peers.
     
  11. Lisa!

    Lisa! 990
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    Well perhaps you're right. But you know when someone come up with a great idea, his/her life would be totally different from past. S/he find the opportunity to work with great scientists and governments and scientific organization would support him in his researches. and it gives him the chance to come up with new and better theories. Suppose someone else was introduced as a developer of Einstein's theory, do you think Einstein could get enough support and opportunity to work on his others' theories?
    Anyway I'm not sure if this thread would be the right place to discuss these things. So I cut it here.
     
  12. Suppose Einstein was hit by a bus and killed before he could publish his paper on SR. Maybe even on the way to get it published. If he confided in no one what would science be like today. Selfish self serving attitudes have no place in science, although people will probably never be able to get beyond it.

    Just to expand on this some Al Gore claimed to have invented the internet. Somenoe who steals an idea is likely to be found out as fraud when they are put to the test.

    I'm not arguing with you lisa and didn't single out your post as a personal attack so please don't take it that way at all. I am mearly expressing my thoughts on the ideas preposed concerning theory protections as expressed by many posters in this thread. You just happend to be the last post I read before I decided to present my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2005
  13. jtbell

    Staff: Mentor

    If you can't read current research papers in your area, you aren't ready to publish. In order to do research effectively, you need to keep up with the current state of affairs in your field, which means being able to read current research papers and preprints and get something out of them. You also need to know, on a professional basis, at least a few people who are working in your area. Otherwise, how are you going to know whether someone else has already worked out your idea, or done something that would refute it?
     
  14. WRONG! Al Gore never claimed to have invented the Internet. That was a lie perpetuated by the GOP, and Snopes debunks this myth.
     
  15. ZapperZ

    ZapperZ 29,986
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    1. Most of these people who are submitting their physics "theories" on open forums are not physicists. So who exactly are the "peers" they are looking for?

    2. Since WHEN has a discussion of one's ideas in PUBLIC on an internet forum created ANY advancement in the body of knowlege in physics? Discussing them at a physics conference, in the hallway of a lab, during coffee break at a workshop, sure. But can you please point to me EVIDENCE that such an exercise in an internet forum has actually produce such "scientific advancement"? This us PURE SPECULATION without evidence, something quacks like to do.

    3. Einstein gained knowledge from his peers, but Einstein is also a peer or others. We don't have to backtrack and TEACH him physics the way we have to when dealing with Internet-submitted "theories" that are full of errors and misinterpretation of physics. Do NOT invoke Einstein's name in cases like this, because there are NO similarities here when you consider Einstein's background!

    Zz.
     
  16. The part that doesn't make up "most".

    OK so you are comparing me to a quack. Funny I don't remember ever submitting any theories here so what is your justification of this statement? Climb down off your high horse for a moment and understand the context the statement was made in. The internet is relatively new, if we were having this conversation 20 years in the future things may be a lot different. Oh sorry that was speculation, you can call me a quack again if it makes you feel better. It's not my contention that the next great mind is here on this forum, (but hey you're here...) but I don't see how discouraging people from sharing their ideas is any help at all. Oh yes I see below you don't like to help people that don't understand everything you do.....



    Who is this "we" you are referring to. As if you could have taught Einstein anything. No wonder you are still on that horse, it's a long fall.

    Seriously you need to lighten up, Anyone can have a theory no matter what their intelligence level or education is. Everyone that doesn't understand physics as well as you may be a quack, but what do people more intelligent say about you...
     
  17. SpaceTiger

    SpaceTiger 2,977
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    Actually, there are internet forums frequented by specialists and used to exchange ideas about cutting edge research. See here, for example. The impact of forums like PF would certainly not be so direct, but if graduate students (like myself) and post-Ph.D. folks are coming here to exchange knowledge with other specialists, I think it's fair to say that there is a contribution to "scientific advancement", however subtle. Clearly, that's not something I or GOD_AM could prove, but I think it's pretty silly to ask for proof of something so mundane.

    I'm with you in wanting to discourage cranks and crackpots, but the open exchange of ideas should not, in general, be discouraged. If you wish to challenge someone's credibility, you should do it on an individual level and not try to make blanket statements about the uselessness of sharing ideas on the internet.
     
  18. ZapperZ

    ZapperZ 29,986
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    And you still did not answer my question. You did not tell me who these "peers" are that you are expecting to deal with these people who are coming up with such theories.

    Now that last part is funny. What have I been doing all this time in the physics and homework section?

    There is a difference in trying to learn something that one doesn't understand, and trying to sell a "theory" in open forums such as this. If you cannot tell the difference between the two, then there is no point in my trying to explain it.

    And if you think that is how I define a quack, then you have seriously misunderstood the whole post. Take note that YOU were the one who invoked Einstein as an example, which is a popular "clutch" for a lot of people. I merely pointed out that your example of him was wrong. This has nothing to do with being knowing more or less about physics. Einstein's peers are other physicists. Who are the "peers" of these people you are championing for?

    Zz.
     
  19. ZapperZ

    ZapperZ 29,986
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    No, I do not believe it is silly to ask that. People tend to readily accept things based on "oh yeah, I can see that happening" concept without actually demanding proof. If one is using a scenario as the backbone of an argument, then it is imperative that one illustrates a case-by-case study that such a thing actually did happen. I wasn't the one who came out of nowhere and demanded such proof. On the contrary, this argument was USED as A major point, and used REPEATEDLY, as if it has happened, and happens all the time! I disagree. It is an urban legend, a myth! The argument that discussions on an open forum has actually produce advancement in the body of knowledge of physics is unsupported by any evidence. I have more evidence that discussion in a Starbucks has produced MORE important physics (I personally know of two PRLs that came out of such Starbucks discussions during the 2001 APS March meeting in Seattle).

    Look, I'm not saying it can't happen. My objection is with people who readily use this as a point AS IF it has been proven. My point against this has always been that this point is nothing more than a speculation. I don't know why people are unhappy with that statement since no one can prove otherwise YET! People should realize when they are trying to rebutt a point with a speculation.

    People want to talk their heads off about their theories and ideas? Fine! But please, don't use the speculation that such an exercise will produce new advancement in physics as the reason. I could equally speculate that such an exercise will create blindless and they both will have the same degree of verification.

    Zz.
     
  20. SpaceTiger

    SpaceTiger 2,977
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    Did you read some of the posts in the link I provided? That seems like evidence to me. The majority of things being discussed are subjects of active research and the majority of the participants are themselves active researchers. They even have a forum to discuss active research projects. What kind of proof do you need?

    Is it the PF statement that you object to? Do you need me to cite specific things I've learned through posting here that have helped my research and/or education? Or are you suggesting that my work doesn't produce advancement?


    They probably think it's self-evident. It's one thing to say that major theories have been spawned from an internet forum. That would be a dubious claim, for sure, but to say that discussing science on the internet produces no advancement at all? That's just absurd.
     
  21. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,265
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    The more I read these discussions, the more I realize the folks who are submitting such theories aren't really looking for peers, but mentors. They use the term "peers," probably because they're thinking of it in more common usage or have heard the term "peer-reviewed" and have misconstrued the meaning, but really, it's mentors that they need. This is a critical thing they miss by not getting a formal education. When you think about what the crux of a doctoral program is, it's not the stuff we read in books, or the lab work we do, it's about working closely with an experienced mentor who guides you through the process. Try to think back to when you were a brand new grad student in your first year. How naive were you when reading journal articles? Did you take all the conclusions at face value? Did you know what to look for in the methods to convince yourself the conclusions were valid? Did you still accept everything taught in your physics (or other science) courses as known fact rather than realizing a good chunk of it is just the best we know on working theories? A good mentor teaches you how to critically read papers, gives you nudges in proper directions when teaching you how to formulate your own theories, teaches you how to write scientifically, and gives you a kick in the butt when you stray down a wrong path due to insufficient knowledge. The problem is, people keep asking for this as if there's some way to bypass getting a formal education. But, the thing is, qualified mentors already do this for their graduate students and do not have the time to spend mentoring someone who thinks they can skip graduate school and just leech that help without paying for it or offering anything in return (in return for the mentoring they receive, graduate students pay their debt in hard work in their mentor's lab, so there's a lot of give and take).

    I have to agree with SpaceTiger on this one. But, then it might also depend on how you define a scientific advancement. This may not be the way a major breakthrough comes about, but we do have grad students and professional scientists here who now don't need to wait until they are at conferences two or three times a year to share information about current research. NSF also recognizes the broad dissemination of knowledge to the public as an important objective of research they fund (at least in the biological sciences; I assume this is an agency-wide mission though), and this site is the sort of place where that can be done, though perhaps more so with a new publication than an unpublished theory. No longer do you have to send out a press release and pray the media doesn't garble the story, you can take time yourself to explain your findings to a broad audience in plain English.

    Has this happened already? I don't know, but I wouldn't dismiss the medium as if it is useless for such a purpose. It is just as dangerous to dismiss something as impossible just because it has not been observed as it is to jump to the conclusion it does happen through over-speculation.

    This goes back to the first point. There is a huge misconception that Einstein was not formally educated (I think perpetuated by the story that as a child, he flunked arithmetic...I don't know the veracity of that story, but it sure as heck doesn't mean he didn't learn and use math or get a formal education, it just means he wasn't born with that knowledge and maybe had to work a little harder to acquire it...it would be more of a statement on childhood development than of his education anyway). Then they cite that he was working as a patent clerk when he developed the theory of relativity as if it were evidence you don't need to be a scientist to develop a new theory. Of course, that is entirely untrue. In order to be a patent clerk, you need a high level of technical knowledge (I don't know about in Einstein's time, but it certainly requires a PhD nowadays). It also means you're exposed, on a daily basis, to a lot of cutting edge work (you're seeing people's patent applications for novel things they may not have even shared yet with the rest of the scientific community for fear of their product being stolen before protected by a patent).

    The bottom line is that you still need to have a formal education to cut it in science. If someone approaches a scientist asking for a mentor, they will get a standard answer...apply to our PhD program and we can discuss the possibility. And once you have a PhD, that mentoring does not end. You go on to a post-doc, junior faculty get mentoring from senior faculty, senior faculty go on sabbaticals to get mentoring from other senior faculty in areas new to them. Scientists have a full plate of mentoring responsibilities, and are not going to waste their time on someone who isn't willing to put their nose to the grindstone and commit to a degree program.
     
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