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What role should media ratings play in science?

  1. Dec 3, 2003 #1

    marcus

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    What role should "media ratings" play in science?

    The argument has often been made in the string/loop forum (by eigenguy, jeff, Lubos IIRC and perhaps others) that because more
    theoretical physicists work on string than work on loop, therefore string is a more valid approach and should receive more encouragement than loop.

    I dont want to bother with that particular argument but want to comment on the whole idea of fad statistics, head-counts, citation-counts, research budget ratings, journal-counts and all such indices that have to do with research trends and fashions.

    I think that you CAN sometimes get useful information about where science is going from looking at the statistics! But one has to be cautious and have a bit of historical perspective. In the history of science there have been "dark horse" events where tiny minorities became influential and overturned the majority view.

    The best way to find out how useful some information is can often be just to TRY IT. So I am going to try out the SLAC citebase here.

    What were THE 20 TOPCITED GR-QG preprints posted from year 2000 onwards, in year 2002?

    You see I am not focussing on string stuff because string/brane research is normally posted in HEP-TH, and not in gr-qc. And I am not focussing on OLD stuff but only on what came out after 1999. For example I excluded Rovelli's "Loop Quantum Gravity" LivingReviews article because its gr-qc posting number began 97... (came out in 1997) and kept only articles where the number begins 00, 01, or 02. The citation counts will seem small to some people (there are relatively few Relativists and it is mostly they who cite from and post at the gr-qc arxiv.) But given these restrictions, how do things look thru this particular window? What new stuff has been cited a lot by those who cite from gr-qc?


    "The Top Twenty"

    (you see they range from 57 citations down to around 17, small numbers but this is gr-qc, not hep-th!)
    ---------------------

    0057
    RELATIVITY IN SPACE-TIMES WITH SHORT DISTANCE STRUCTURE GOVERNED BY AN OBSERVER INDEPENDENT (PLANCKIAN) LENGTH SCALE
    By Giovanni Amelino-Camelia (Rome U.).
    Published in Int.J.Mod.Phys.D11:35-60,2002 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0012051]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]

    0054
    CLASSICAL BLACK HOLE PRODUCTION IN HIGH-ENERGY COLLISIONS
    By Douglas M. Eardley, Steven B. Giddings (UC, Santa Barbara).
    Published in Phys.Rev.D66:044011,2002 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0201034]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]


    0036
    INTRODUCTION TO MODERN CANONICAL QUANTUM GENERAL RELATIVITY
    By Thomas Thiemann (Potsdam, Max Planck Inst.). [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0110034]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]


    0031
    THE CONFRONTATION BETWEEN GENERAL RELATIVITY AND EXPERIMENT
    By Clifford M. Will (Washington U., St. Louis).
    Published in Living Rev.Rel.4:4,2001 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0103036]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]


    0028
    EXTENDING THE LIFETIME OF 3-D BLACK HOLE COMPUTATIONS WITH A NEW HYPERBOLIC SYSTEM OF EVOLUTION EQUATIONS
    By Lawrence E. Kidder, Mark A. Scheel, Saul A. Teukolsky (Cornell U., Radio. Space Res. Ctr.).
    Published in Phys.Rev.D64:064017,2001 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0105031]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]


    0028
    GEOMETRY AND DYNAMICS OF THE BRANE WORLD
    By Roy Maartens (Portsmouth U.). [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0101059]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]


    0027
    AN ALTERNATIVE TO QUINTESSENCE
    By Alexander Yu. Kamenshchik (Landau Inst. & Landau Network Centro Volta), Ugo Moschella (Insubria U., Como & INFN, Milan), Vincent Pasquier (Saclay).
    Published in Phys.Lett.B511:265-268,2001 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0103004]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]


    0023
    QUANTUM GRAVITY: A PROGRESS REPORT
    By S. Carlip (UC, Davis).
    Published in Rept.Prog.Phys.64:885,2001 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0108040]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]


    0021
    QUANTUM GEOMETRY OF ISOLATED HORIZONS AND BLACK HOLE ENTROPY
    By A. Ashtekar (Penn State U. & Santa Barbara, KITP), John C. Baez (UC, Riverside & Penn State U.), Kiriil Krasnov (UC, Santa Barbara & Santa Barbara, KITP).
    Published in Adv.Theor.Math.Phys.4:1-94,2000 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0005126]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]

    0019
    GENERALIZED LORENTZ INVARIANCE WITH AN INVARIANT ENERGY SCALE
    By Joao Magueijo (Imperial Coll., London), Lee Smolin (Perimeter Inst. Theor. Phys. & Waterloo U.).
    Published in Phys.Rev.D67:044017,2003 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0207085]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]


    0019
    NUMERICAL RELATIVITY: A REVIEW
    By Luis Lehner (British Columbia U. & British Columbia U., PIMS).
    Published in Class.Quant.Grav.18:R25-R86,2001 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0106072]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]


    0019
    LOGARITHMIC CORRECTIONS TO BLACK HOLE ENTROPY FROM THE CARDY FORMULA
    By S. Carlip (UC, Davis).
    Published in Class.Quant.Grav.17:4175-4186,2000 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0005017]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]



    0018
    CONSERVATION LAWS IN 'DOUBLY SPECIAL RELATIVITY'
    By Simon Judes (Oxford U.), Matt Visser (Victoria U.).
    Published in Phys.Rev.D68:045001,2003 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0205067]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]


    0018
    ANISOTROPY DISSIPATION IN BRANE WORLD INFLATION
    By Roy Maartens (Portsmouth U.), Varun Sahni, Tarun Deep Saini (IUCAA, Pune).
    Published in Phys.Rev.D63:063509,2001 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0011105]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]


    0018
    COVARIANT AND LOCALLY LORENTZ INVARIANT VARYING SPEED OF LIGHT THEORIES
    By Joao Magueijo (Imperial Coll., London).
    Published in Phys.Rev.D62:103521,2000 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0007036]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]


    0018
    CRITICAL PHENOMENA IN GRAVITATIONAL COLLAPSE
    By Carsten Gundlach (Chicago U., EFI & Southampton U.).
    Published in Living Rev.Rel.2:4,1999 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0001046]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]


    0017
    SPACE-TIME QUANTUM SOLVES THREE EXPERIMENTAL PARADOXES
    By Giovanni Amelino-Camelia (Rome U.).
    Published in Phys.Lett.B528:181-187,2002 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0107086]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]


    0017
    RELIC GRAVITY WAVES FROM BRANE WORLD INFLATION
    By Varun Sahni, M. Sami (IUCAA, Pune & Jamia Millia Islamia), Tarun Souradeep (IUCAA, Pune).
    Published in Phys.Rev.D65:023518,2002 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0105121]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]


    0017
    RADION ON THE DE SITTER BRANE
    By Uchida Gen (Osaka U., Dept. Earth Space Sci. & Tokyo U.), Misao Sasaki (Osaka U., Dept. Earth Space Sci.).
    Published in Prog.Theor.Phys.105:591-606,2001 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0011078]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]


    0017
    THE R MODE INSTABILITY IN ROTATING NEUTRON STARS
    By Nils Andersson (Southampton U.), Kostas D. Kokkotas (Thessaloniki U.).
    Published in Int.J.Mod.Phys.D10:381-442,2001 [PS file for arXiv: gr-qc/0010102]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]

    ------------------------

    I wonder what if anything can be learned from looking at this "top twenty".
    BTW the information comes from somebody at SLAC
    Michael Peskin of the HEP-SPIRES database.
    a link to his much more complete listing is
    http://www.slac.stanford.edu/library/topcites/topcites.review.2002.html
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2003
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  3. Dec 3, 2003 #2
    marcus, as to your question about what role "media ratings " should play in science; my answer is that scientists are usually intelligent people, who choose their fields based on which ones they believe hold the most promise. So, if there is a very large amount of scientists working on one theory, and a very small amount working on an alternative theory, then I'd be more drawn to the first because obviously more scientists have seen value in it. Now, that doesn't say anything about which will come out "correct" in the end, but it does say something about the current state of the theories in the eyes of the scientists involved.

    That's my two cents, anyway.
     
  4. Dec 3, 2003 #3

    marcus

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    "He who joyfully marches in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice."

    -Albert Einstein

    I see.
     
  5. Dec 3, 2003 #4

    marcus

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    Mentat the use of "academic demographics" to justify this or that is absolutely fascinating!

    I got the phrase "academic demographics" from Non-unitary. He just used it in a post upstairs in the loop/string forum.

    Here is another example of demographic argument from a Jeff message just posted on the "Dead End" thread:

    Lubos Motl asked "where does this idea of comparing LQG to string theory come from?" and Jeff replied, a few minutes ago, that he thinks it comes from OLD people who are intimidated by the intricacy of string and who therefore wish to believe that LQG (which they presumably can understand more easily) is a good substitute.


    For as long as I've been interested in quantum gravity I've been interested only in the approaches that derive from 1915 GR (where spacetime is a dynamic entity rather than a fixed background)
    and that includes several approaches including non-commut.geom besides spinfoam, networks etc. And I have NOT been interested in approaches coming out of standard model particle physics, as string does.

    This has nothing to do with demographics. Not with AGE not with what is hard or easy. Not with what "MOST PHYSICISTS" study. I am familiar with the kinds of considerations that go into the choice of research area. Funding patterns during the accelerator boom of the 1970-1990 period had a side effect of producing a huge number of HEP theorists and I take with a grain of salt whatever they now choose to do research in.

    Trying to model gravity as just another particle field on Minkowskispace, however you try to do it, has simply never piqued my curiosity. So I have no answer to Lubos question about: Who wants to compare string to LQG? Certainly not I! Never wanted to compare the two approaches, since one of them is irrelevant to my interests.

    String is not in the running, for me, since not background indep.
    But when I talk about Loop Gravity, then sometimes other people drag in string and say "no! string is better!" I can only guess string-students feel threatened---the preeminence of their subject is somehow threatened---so there is this reaction.

    But anyway, you do seem to be interested in demographics! You just used a demographic argument of the "Physicists are intelligent and MORE PHYSICISTS study string...therefore..."-type!
    We really should look at the trends closely. If I can, I will try to get some actual data that we can look at together.

    I am not sure the demographics of science is (at least in any naive way) meaningful. But at least if we are going to draw conclusions we should get some real data. In other words be "scientific" about studying science. It may take me a while to get the numbers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2003
  6. Dec 3, 2003 #5

    marcus

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    Mentat, I just did a quick check of the SPIRES HEP citation numbers and it looks to me as if string/branery is actually DWINDLING at present because intelligence is emigrating OUT of the field.

    Or fewer new intelligent people are entering at the bottom to replace natural attrition at the top.

    I will show you the data in a minute but first I want to point out something:

    this has nothing to do with Loop Gravity, which is what interests me. Loop and string are not actually rivals (General Relativity has always been a small minority) It is the OTHER BIG branches of theory that draw people away from string. When an effective critic of string like Peter Woit criticizes string's failure to progress he never mentions Loop at all! The issues are complicated, but the string people who are screaming because they feel threatened should not blame LQG. They are in a slump but it really does not involve LQG.

    A good way to see the braindrain from string is to look at a "Top Twenty" HEP citations ranking of eprints that appeared in 2000 or later.

    Topcited papers are a sign of activity of intelligent and creative people. If these people get less active or if they move over into studying neutrinos then the field dwindles.

    I have to go now but will try to construct the list when I get back
     
  7. Dec 3, 2003 #6

    wolram

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  8. Dec 3, 2003 #7

    marcus

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    Bear in mind demographics are a dubious index of merit (I think)--- probably not even a good basis for a hunch a lot of the time. But lets try to eyeball the situation using demographics and see how it goes. Here a list of topcited HEP papers that appeared 2000 or later. To qualify as "recent" the arxiv number begins 00, 01, or 02

    I just took SPIRES HEP "Topcited papers of 2002" and removed anything not recent. this list is where topcited papers by Witten, Maldacena, Gross, Schwarz, Strominger, Vafa etc. usually appear. But in 2002 those that did appear were usually not recent. Times change.

    1565
    REVIEW OF PARTICLE PHYSICS. PARTICLE DATA GROUP
    By Particle Data Group (D.E. Groom et al.).
    2000 version in Eur.Phys.J.C15:1-878,2000
    Most recent version published in Phys.Rev.D66:010001,2002

    0354
    MEASUREMENT OF THE RATE OF NU/E + D --> P + P + E- INTERACTIONS PRODUCED BY B-8 SOLAR NEUTRINOS AT THE SUDBURY NEUTRINO OBSERVATORY
    By SNO Collaboration (Q.R. Ahmad et al.).
    Published in Phys.Rev.Lett.87:071301,2001 [PS file for arXiv: nucl-ex/0106015]

    0275
    DIRECT EVIDENCE FOR NEUTRINO FLAVOR TRANSFORMATION FROM NEUTRAL CURRENT INTERACTIONS IN THE SUDBURY NEUTRINO OBSERVATORY
    By SNO Collaboration (Q.R. Ahmad et al.).
    Published in Phys.Rev.Lett.89:011301,2002 [PS file for arXiv: nucl-ex/0204008]

    0261
    STRINGS IN FLAT SPACE AND PP WAVES FROM N=4 SUPERYANG-MILLS
    By David Berenstein, Juan M. Maldacena, Horatiu Nastase (Princeton, Inst. Advanced Study).
    Published in JHEP 0204:013,2002 [PS file for arXiv: hep-th/0202021]

    0222
    SOLAR B-8 AND HEP NEUTRINO MEASUREMENTS FROM 1258 DAYS OF SUPER-KAMIOKANDE DATA
    By Super-Kamiokande Collaboration (S. Fukuda et al.).
    Published in Phys.Rev.Lett.86:5651-5655,2001 [PS file for arXiv: hep-ex/0103032]

    0215
    MEASUREMENT OF DAY AND NIGHT NEUTRINO ENERGY SPECTRA AT SNO AND CONSTRAINTS ON NEUTRINO MIXING PARAMETERS
    By SNO Collaboration (Q.R. Ahmad et al.).
    Published in Phys.Rev.Lett.89:011302,2002 [PS file for arXiv: nucl-ex/0204009]

    0215
    A MEASUREMENT BY BOOMERANG OF MULTIPLE PEAKS IN THE ANGULAR POWER SPECTRUM OF THE COSMIC MICROWAVE BACKGROUND
    By Boomerang Collaboration (C.B. Netterfield et al.).
    Published in Astrophys.J.571:604-614,2002 [PS file for arXiv: astro-ph/0104460]

    0196
    TYPE IIB GREEN-SCHWARZ SUPERSTRING IN PLANE WAVE RAMOND-RAMOND BACKGROUND
    By R.R. Metsaev (Lebedev Inst.).
    Published in Nucl.Phys.B625:70-96,2002 [PS file for arXiv: hep-th/0112044]

    0181
    PENROSE LIMITS AND MAXIMAL SUPERSYMMETRY
    By Matthias Blau (ICTP, Trieste), Jose Figueroa-O'Farrill (Edinburgh U.), Christopher Hull (Queen Mary, U. of London), George Papadopoulos (King's Coll., London).
    Published in Class.Quant.Grav.19:L87-L95,2002 [PS file for arXiv: hep-th/0201081]

    0180
    TAU NEUTRINOS FAVORED OVER STERILE NEUTRINOS IN ATMOSPHERIC MUON-NEUTRINO OSCILLATIONS
    By Super-Kamiokande Collaboration (S. Fukuda et al.).
    Published in Phys.Rev.Lett.85:3999-4003,2000 [PS file for arXiv: hep-ex/0009001]

    0179
    A FLAT UNIVERSE FROM HIGH RESOLUTION MAPS OF THE COSMIC MICROWAVE BACKGROUND RADIATION
    By Boomerang Collaboration (P. de Bernardis et al.).
    Published in Nature 404:955-959,2000 [PS file for arXiv: astro-ph/0004404]

    0177
    CONSTRAINTS ON NEUTRINO OSCILLATIONS USING 1258 DAYS OF SUPER-KAMIOKANDE SOLAR NEUTRINO DATA
    By Super-Kamiokande Collaboration (S. Fukuda et al.).
    Published in Phys.Rev.Lett.86:5656-5660,2001 [PS file for arXiv: hep-ex/0103033]

    0164
    A NEW MAXIMALLY SUPERSYMMETRIC BACKGROUND OF IIB SUPERSTRING THEORY
    By Matthias Blau (ICTP, Trieste), Jose Figueroa-O'Farrill (Edinburgh U.), Christopher Hull (Queen Mary, U. of London), George Papadopoulos (King's Coll., London).
    Published in JHEP 0201:047,2002 [PS file for arXiv: hep-th/0110242]

    0160
    COSMOLOGICAL PARAMETER EXTRACTION FROM THE FIRST SEASON OF OBSERVATIONS WITH DASI
    By C. Pryke, N.W. Halverson, E.M. Leitch, J. Kovac, J.E. Carlstrom (Chicago U.), W.L. Holzapfel (UC, Berkeley), M. Dragovan (Caltech, JPL).
    Published in Astrophys.J.568:46-51,2002 [PS file for arXiv: astro-ph/0104490]

    0157
    EXACTLY SOLVABLE MODEL OF SUPERSTRING IN RAMOND-RAMOND PLANE WAVE BACKGROUND
    By R.R. Metsaev (Lebedev Inst.), A.A. Tseytlin (Imperial Coll., London & Ohio State U.).
    Published in Phys.Rev.D65:126004,2002 [PS file for arXiv: hep-th/0202109]

    0155
    DASI FIRST RESULTS: A MEASUREMENT OF THE COSMIC MICROWAVE BACKGROUND ANGULAR POWER SPECTRUM
    By N.W. Halverson, E.M. Leitch, C. Pryke, J. Kovac, J.E. Carlstrom (Chicago U.), W.L. Holzapfel (UC, Berkeley), M. Dragovan (Caltech, JPL), J.K. Cartwright, B.S. Mason, S. Padin, T.J. Pearson, M.C. Shepherd, A.C.S. Readhead (Caltech).
    Published in Astrophys.J.568:38-45,2002 [PS file for arXiv: astro-ph/0104489]

    0155
    FINAL RESULTS FROM THE HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE KEY PROJECT TO MEASURE THE HUBBLE CONSTANT
    By W.L. Freedman, B.F. Madore, B.K. Gibson, L. Ferrarese, D.D. Kelson, S. Sakai, J.R. Mould, R.C. Kennicutt, H.C. Ford, J.A. Graham, J.P. Huchra, S.M.G. Hughes, G.D. Illingworth, L.M. Macri, P.B. Stetson, P.B. Stetson.
    Published in Astrophys.J.553:47-72,2001 [PS file for arXiv: astro-ph/0012376]


    0135
    NONCOMMUTATIVE FIELD THEORY
    By Michael R. Douglas (Rutgers U., Piscataway & IHES, Bures), Nikita A. Nekrasov (IHES, Bures & Moscow, ITEP).
    Published in Rev.Mod.Phys.73:977-1029,2001 [PS file for arXiv: hep-th/0106048]

    0129
    PRECISE MEASUREMENT OF THE POSITIVE MUON ANOMALOUS MAGNETIC MOMENT
    By Muon g-2 Collaboration (H.N. Brown et al.).
    Published in Phys.Rev.Lett.86:2227-2231,2001 [PS file for arXiv: hep-ex/0102017]

    0127
    TESLA: THE SUPERCONDUCTING ELECTRON POSITRON LINEAR COLLIDER WITH AN INTEGRATED X-RAY LASER LABORATORY. TECHNICAL DESIGN REPORT. PART 3. PHYSICS AT AN E+ E- LINEAR COLLIDER
    By ECFA/DESY LC Physics Working Group (J.A. Aguilar-Saavedra et al.). [PS file for arXiv: hep-ph/0106315]

    0123
    BEFORE AND AFTER: HOW HAS THE SNO NEUTRAL CURRENT MEASUREMENT CHANGED THINGS?
    By John N. Bahcall (Princeton, Inst. Advanced Study), M.C. Gonzalez-Garcia (CERN & SUNY, Stony Brook & Valencia U., IFIC), Carlos Pena-Garay (Valencia U., IFIC).
    Published in JHEP 0207:054,2002 [PS file for arXiv: hep-ph/0204314]

    0121
    A HIGH SPATIAL RESOLUTION ANALYSIS OF THE MAXIMA-1 COSMIC MICROWAVE BACKGROUND ANISOTROPY DATA
    By A.T. Lee (UC, Berkeley & LBL, Berkeley & UC, Berkeley, CfPA), P. Ade, A. Balbi, J. Bock, J. Borrill, A. Boscaleri, P. De Bernardis, P.G. Ferreira, S. Hanany, V.V. Hristov, A.H. Jaffe, P.D. Mauskopf, C.B. Netterfield, E. Pascale, B. Rabii, P.L. Richards, G.F. Smoot, R. Stompor, C.D. Winant, J.H.P. Wu (UC, Berkeley & LBL, Berkeley & UC, Berkeley, CfPA & Queen Mary, U. of London & Rome U., Tor Vergata & Caltech, JPL & Caltech & Energy Sciences Network & Florence, IROE & Rome U. & Oxford U. & Lisbon, IST & Minnesota U. & Wales U., Cardiff & Toronto U. & UC, Berkeley, Space Sci. Dept. & Warsaw, Copernicus Astron. Ctr. & UC, Berkeley, Astronomy Dept.).
    Published in Astrophys.J.561:L1-L6,2001 [PS file for arXiv: astro-ph/0104459]

    0120
    IMPRINT OF SNO NEUTRAL CURRENT DATA ON THE SOLAR NEUTRINO PROBLEM
    By V. Barger (Wisconsin U., Madison), D. Marfatia (Boston U.), K. Whisnant (Iowa State U.), B.P. Wood (Wisconsin U., Madison).
    Published in Phys.Lett.B537:179-186,2002 [PS file for arXiv: hep-ph/0204253]

    0117
    THE DS / CFT CORRESPONDENCE
    By Andrew Strominger (Harvard U.).
    Published in JHEP 0110:034,2001 [PS file for arXiv: hep-th/0106113]
    [Total number of citations in HEP]

    0116
    SOLAR MODELS: CURRENT EPOCH AND TIME DEPENDENCES, NEUTRINOS, AND HELIOSEISMOLOGICAL PROPERTIES
    By John N. Bahcall (Princeton, Inst. Advanced Study), M.H. Pinsonneault (Ohio State U.), Sarbani Basu (Yale U.).
    Published in Astrophys.J.555:990-1012,2001 [PS file for arXiv: astro-ph/0010346]

    0115
    OBSERVATION OF LARGE CP VIOLATION IN THE NEUTRAL B MESON SYSTEM
    By Belle Collaboration (K. Abe et al.).
    Published in Phys.Rev.Lett.87:091802,2001 [PS file for arXiv: hep-ex/0107061]

    0111
    OBSERVATION OF CP VIOLATION IN THE B0 MESON SYSTEM
    By BABAR Collaboration (B. Aubert et al.).
    Published in Phys.Rev.Lett.87:091801,2001 [PS file for arXiv: hep-ex/0107013]

    0111
    MULTIPLE PEAKS IN THE ANGULAR POWER SPECTRUM OF THE COSMIC MICROWAVE BACKGROUND: SIGNIFICANCE AND CONSEQUENCES FOR COSMOLOGY
    By P. de Bernardis (Rome U.), P.A.R. Ade, J.J. Bock, J.R. Bond, J. Borrill, A. Boscaleri, K. Coble, C.R. Contaldi, B.P. Crill, G. De Troia, P. Farese, K. Ganga, M. Giacometti, E. Hivon, V.V. Hristov, A. Iacoangeli, A.H. Jaffe, W.C. Jones, A.E. Lange, L. Martinis, S. Masi, P. Mason, P.D. Mauskopf, A. Melchiorri, T. Montroy, C.B. Metterfield, E. Pascale, F. Piacentini, D. Pogosyan, G. Polenta, F. Pongetti, S. Prunet, G. Romeo, J.E. Ruhl, F. Scaramuzzi (Rome U. & Queen Mary, U. of London & Caltech, JPL & Canadian Inst. Theor. Astrophys. & LBL, Berkeley & Florence, IROE & UC, Santa Barbara & Caltech & Caltech, IPAC & UC, Berkeley, Astronomy Dept. & UC, Berkeley, Space Sci. Dept. & UC, Berkeley, CfPA & ENEA, Frascati & Wales U., Cardiff & Oxford U. & Toronto U. & ING, Rome).
    Published in Astrophys.J.564:559-566,2002 [PS file for arXiv: astro-ph/0105296]

    0109
    HADRONIC LIGHT BY LIGHT CORRECTIONS TO THE MUON G-2: THE PION POLE CONTRIBUTION
    By Marc Knecht, Andreas Nyffeler (Marseille, CPT).
    Published in Phys.Rev.D65:073034,2002 [PS file for arXiv: hep-ph/0111058]

    0109
    THE SLOAN DIGITAL SKY SURVEY: TECHNICAL SUMMARY
    By SDSS Collaboration (Donald G. York et al.).
    Published in Astron.J.120:1579-1587,2000 [PS file for arXiv: astro-ph/0006396]

    0109
    MAXIMA-1: A MEASUREMENT OF THE COSMIC MICROWAVE BACKGROUND ANISOTROPY ON ANGULAR SCALES OF 10 ARCMINUTES TO 5 DEGREES
    By S. Hanany (Minnesota U. & UC, Berkeley, CfPA),et al (names deleted to save space)
    Published in Astrophys.J.545:L5,2000 [PS file for arXiv: astro-ph/0005123]
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2003
  9. Dec 3, 2003 #8

    selfAdjoint

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    Marcus, you list gives me a chances to say some things I forbore to say over at S.P.R.

    The papers in your list (or Woit's) can be divided into groups.
    1) Golden oldies that have to be cited by everybody who writes deeply about a subject. Examples from the 80's, Hawking's original paper abour black hole radiation, and Guth's original paper about inflation.

    2)Key how-to papers, whether on noncommutative spacetime or observing Higgs particles.

    3) Basic papers in a breakthrough. Any of Witten's for example.

    in other words, the heavilty cited papers are of a different class than the usual working papers you see on the arxiv. Those are directed to a small group of co-workers who are expert in that particular field. You will not see the key breakthrough paper in M-theory in the most cited list till several years from now when a population has become trained to work in its consequences.

    Peter Woit is making a slanted argument. Don't you fall into that trap too.
     
  10. Dec 3, 2003 #9

    marcus

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    Dick, I think that is a good point
    (reinforces my feeling about dubiousness of demographics)
    and maybe you SHOULD make that point in SPR and get it discussed.

    cordially,

    Marcus
     
  11. Dec 3, 2003 #10

    marcus

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    I think selfAdjoint's point is a good one and applies more generally to the possible temporary masking of leading-edge work by small minorities in science

    There can be a lag in the citations because of inertia in the bulk of the people in the field. New work, because of its very newness, can fail to get a lot of citations in the first few years.

    This is actually a symptomatic trouble with economic indicators and statistics of lots of different kinds---lag, the masking of significant informatation.

    I will go back to the first list I made today, which is GR-QC instead of HEP, and see what kinds of evidence of lag I can find.
    You know I think of Livine's work as near the forefront (possibly, this is just a hunch) and probabaly Livine is NOT NOW getting a lot of citations. (His thesis only just came out! how should he be getting widely cited?).

    So demographics has problems. But I still think if one uses some caution one can learn from the citation lists.

    DickT, I remember not long ago you were deriving inferences from the citation figures and using this in a discussion on some thread. So I think probably you too make cautious use of these statistics.
     
  12. Dec 3, 2003 #11

    marcus

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    This does not describe very well the list I just posted which does not have Golden Oldies. I think the meaning comes out if you apply the same recipe that I did to the same list (SPIRES-HEP) from past years. String/brane papers would be all over the place! Something has changed and this is an objective procedure for detecting the change.

    Every year Michael Peskin makes a list of the topcited HEP papers.
    (Now HE may have changed, that is one possibility)

    I took his 2002 list and eliminated all papers with numbers before 2000. Very little string showed up.

    But if I took his 1998 list, as a control, and eliminated all papers with numbers before 1996 (same objective procedure) there would be huge amounts of string in the list. Or so I suspect. Should we do the experiment?

    Since I am not very interested in string (because of its having little bearing on GR) I am not highly motivated to take the trouble to do this. I think you could just eyeball some past Pesken list and see huge amounts of string, and not have to bother to count.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2003
  13. Dec 3, 2003 #12

    wolram

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    and whatever anyone does or says keep it main stream
    and let the children of the future decide.
     
  14. Dec 3, 2003 #13

    marcus

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    wolram I have always suspected you of being an
    inscrutable deadpan humorist and I believe that
    I noticed a twinkle in your eye just now, or did you blink?
    But all the same what you say is serious good advice.

    So far as we are able let us, indeed, keep it main stream
    and thank god the future will decide so that we do not have to.

    But beyond that, what shall we talk about?
    I have been enjoying some of your recent posts in which I think
    I can see the result of a lot of hard-earned new understanding.
    I haven't responded because other people were responding to
    them and also because it is getting harder to find anywhere quiet
    these days.
     
  15. Dec 4, 2003 #14

    wolram

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    hi MARCUS,everyone.

    maybe what im saying is the theorists have done all
    that is practically possible to do, i dont mean
    everything has been finallised,"one theory seems
    never ending", more that the core to theories can now
    be tested, and it is the testing that is of
    greater importance in the near future, when certain
    limits have been constrained out of existence
    the theorists can once again have center stage.

    http://www.cerncourier.com/main/article/43/6/15
    Testing times for strings.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2003
  16. Dec 4, 2003 #15
    Marcus, there is a difference between following the "current" (which is what Einstein was referring to) and making an intelligent choice of your own profession (which you will have to live with for quite some time) based on all the factors - one of which factors is the amount of intelligent people (along with the persuasiveness of their arguments) that prefer one alternative over the other.
     
  17. Dec 4, 2003 #16
    Also, marcus, you asked what role this should play in science, and my answer is: not too big a role, but it should at least be considered, since rationality requires the consideration of all factors.
     
  18. Dec 4, 2003 #17

    marcus

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    that is certainly right, not only is there a difference but the two can be antithetical at times

    I agree strongly with what you emphasize in bold in your post. If fact I would consider first and foremost the arguments and their persuasiveness, and in many cases would tend to discount or ignore the "amount", as you say, of people.


    I also agree with you when you say academic demographics should "not play too big a role" in deciding questions of science. I would perhaps go further than you do and say that where logic and empirical evidence can decide a question, the demographics are irrelevant and should play no role at all.

    But it seems to me that if there is any real difference in our individual views on this it is for all practical purposes merely a question of degree.
     
  19. Dec 4, 2003 #18

    marcus

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    a "demographic" anecdote

    Last night and today I exchanged email with a young European researcher who recently got his PhD in string and just entered on his first post-doc at a European university. He described to me his plans for future research which are in loop gravity (where he sees more interesting possibilities). He has already published quite a few papers, both in string and loop gravity theory.

    BTW this is not one of the young theorists whose work we have already been discussing at PF. I wont indicate the name, for reasons of confidentiality. But it is not an unusual story. People complete their thesis work in string, sometimes for reasons of inertia (the potential advisors to chose from are all string people, the student got started on that research track and it was best to complete the work that was started, or whatever) and then these young researchers may drift out of string and into something else. In the case of this young fellow he moved into loop but it could have been something else.

    Despite the romantic talk and hype and the charming popularizations, the string field is pretty clearly in a slump. And intellectually it is in turmoil and disarray. This has little or nothing to do with Loop Gravity but sometimes string people will "take it out" on LQG---attack LQG research---as if that made the situation better for them.

    And the slump in productivity may be only temporary! The fact that the field peaked and has been slipping since the end of the 1990s is only DEMOGRAPHICS and essentially meaningless longterm! But it does seem to be a fact that one can measure by various citation indices etc. As well as anecdotal evidence like my recent email correspondent. And that, whether rightfully or not, does influence what noises we hear from the various string camps and establishments the amount of hype, defensiveness, and so on. And the tone of discussion at SPR.

    BTW the turmoil and disarray (which has nothing to do with LQG as far as I can see) may have a lot to do with Leonard Susskind and Tom Banks. I think they both have more vision than many of their colleagues and a tendency to call it as they see it, and they are both rocking the boat. Apparently David Gross has been helping. Also the slump in output of top-ranking papers may have nothing to do with the philosophical confusion in the ranks. There is a slump and there is a kind of alarmed confusion but I dont know if the two are related.

    I think it is very important to be RESPECTFUL of the senior string people many of whom are elder statesmen now and who entered their field of research 20 years or more ago with no idea how it would turn out.
    Many of the string leaders have done remarkable work in non-string fields as well. They are a brilliant generation. I remember visiting the website for the John Schwarz 60th birthday party and seeing these photographs of all the grayheaded greats---every one of them world class---who gave the invited talks. A very impressive bunch.

    No one should think that because string is less faddish now, and because there are fewer worldclass papers coming out now than there were 5 years ago, that this is to the discredit of those senior scholars---their ingenuity and creativeness in the past is unquestionable, and should be honored.
     
  20. Dec 5, 2003 #19
    What role should "media ratings" play in science?

    Fashion TV
     
  21. Dec 5, 2003 #20

    marcus

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    Re: What role should "media ratings" play in science?

    "People" Magazine?

    Or maybe "Scientific American" already fills that niche.

    Who knows, wimms? Your Fashion TV idea could be a winner. The supermodels would presumably be Brian Greene and Steven Hawking.
     
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