I heard a story from other relativists who were around at the time of the original Kerr solution that Kerr was in the UK, and was looking over Newman's shoulder when he made a mistake. Newman didn't notice the mistake, and Kerr didn't point it out, but rather rushed to complete his own solution and get it published quick smart in Phys. Rev. Lett.
Can anyone confirm or deny this story?
I can't confirm the story, but it's believable that Roy would hesitate to correct Newman!
See details in Kerr's "Discovering the Kerr and Kerr-Schild metrics" (pg. 6-7)
Maybe more details in Melia's "Cracking the Einstein Code: Relativity and the Birth of Black Hole Physics"
(A copy of Kerr's PRL paper
"Gravitational Field of a Spinning Mass as an Example of Algebraically Special Metrics"
is linked below [in the last paragraph] of blog entry on how long an econometrics thesis should be...
I work at the University of Canterbury where Roy was head of the Maths dept for many years. We were discussing the award at morning tea, (do you people have morning tea?), and someone related this story, I hadn't heard it before.
I always have morning tea, but I've never been in Canterbury. :-)
Roy Kerr's reply
1) I was in Austin Tx when the metric was discovered, not in the UK
2) Newmann was somewhere out East
3)I had never heard this story before, but it is complete nonsense.
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