Who is most respected in particle physics?

  • #26
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I find it highly uncommon (almost impossible) to get recommendation letters from someone you have never interacted with before, no matter if you send them your theory/project, and how good it may sound.
Indeed, it is not that easy at all, and I never said it would be a piece of cake.

In 1994 I tried to go to the USA as a graduate student in order to fulfil my research program (or project) and I needed three RLs urgently. I found three people who agreed to read my publications and discuss my results and my project. (Of course, I contacted more people but not everybody was ready to do this.) And all the three gave positive responses - they discussed my results with me and wrote the RLs. One of them, a Doctor of Mathematics from the Moscow State University, was the most strict: he pointed out that my way of presenting the results is of physical rather than mathematical level of rigour and asked me to prove that my new perturbation series converge in a regular sense. And one Physics and Mathematics Doctor from Moscow Lebedev's Physical Institute (ФИАН, LPI) got so excited with my result in atomic physics that I had to calm him down in order to obtain a reasonable RL.

I was not accepted to graduate programs in the US universities because nobody wanted me to work on my own project. Normally the graduate students work with their leaders on the leader's projects.

And today I am quite conscious about a low probability of any response from those who was mentioned in this thread.
 
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  • #27
Fra
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...nobody wanted me to work on my own project. Normally the graduate students work with their leaders on the leader's projects.
This is also my experience.

But I think is has to be the the problem of the advocate of the competing approach to show that it can outperform the main approach. Probably all the one working on the main approaches do so because it's what they find most promising, in which case it's still rational.

A problem is when rationality is compromised by these commercial drives that cause people to join the mainstrem jus in order to stay in business, which causes an excessive sociological-type "inertia" in the system that doesn't seem rational from a pure intellectual point of view. OTOH, it's still reality, which unfortuantely is a little more than only a intellectual advencture for it's own sake.

Can you aim at some of the generally acknowledge open question in physics?

I also have my own secret ideas but only post-dictions or other pure "reinterpretations" has no value to anyone else unless it can be shown to be a more successful way forward. Because it's exactly the same way I assess other programs. I see no other way but to secretly work this out on ones own at minimum until a point where it's MORE than just a matter of point of preferences. This is my strategy. I see several ways how to reach to several open problems, but I realise and accept that it's exclusively my problem to show this. If you can make clear statements about some open problems and how to test the statements, I suspect more attention should rightfully come.

If you don't make it, you have at least not sold yourself only to be part of a compromised game, and it has been a great time meanwhile.

If you current work drains you too badly, perhaps you can find another regular job that at least gives you an hour a night to think about something interesting?

/Fredrik
 
  • #28
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Dear Fredrik,

I will answer you in my "Independent Research" thread, if you don't mind.
 
  • #29
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I find it highly uncommon (almost impossible) to get recommendation letters from someone you have never interacted with before, no matter if you send them your theory/project, and how good it may sound.
I agree. Like you said, letters are usually written by people who have worked closely with you for years.

Frankly, a letter that starts out with "...I have never met the candidate..." is unlikely to be given a large weight.
 
  • #30
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I agree. Like you said, letters are usually written by people who have worked closely with you for years.

Frankly, a letter that starts out with "...I have never met the candidate..." is unlikely to be given a large weight.
Do you read scientific articles of your mates solely? Frankly, are you serious?

I am an experienced researcher who have already solved lots of difficult problems and who has his own, original vision (proposal) of how we can reformulate out theories without conceptual and mathematical difficulties. Isn't it sufficient? Better give me names and let us see.
 
  • #31
arivero
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My problem is not with "personally", but... are you going to write people whose papers YOU have not read?
 
  • #32
marcus
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Look at it in historical perspective for a moment. Kalitvianski says his career (as a mathematical physicist?) started in 1981-1982. I guess Moscow maybe. He has lived through the near-collapse of a major scientific establishment. People were taking desperate measures to relocate and continue their work. He tried to re-locate to USA and didn't make it but instead relocated to France. (If I remember correctly.) On the basis of rec letters from other Russian mathematicians who in some cases probably did not know him. Different standards probably prevailed in the S.U. crisis times of 20 years ago.

Most of us have not had that experience.

I have no great sympathy for Kalitvianski nor do I especially appreciate his proposed revolutionary theory but I reckon he is not a crackpot. I reckon he is a passionate obsessed guy who is very frustrated by a kind of "shipwreck" disaster that he thinks was not his fault--which washed him up on the beach to a job in France where he is kept busy and has no time to work on his pet idea. He maintains a certain gloomy sense of humor about it.

We have mostly all known NORMAL functioning scientific establishments. Many if not all of us, under other circumstances, could actually be thinking and acting like Kalitvianski, if we had a pet idea we wanted to develop and then the supporting economy crashed and the scientific establishment partially crumbled.

He feels a moral necessity to do something we consider abnormal---write to people he doesn't know, for their recommendations. Personally, given the circumstances, I think that's cool. I read that as passionate determination on the part of someone who (is probably not a crackpot and) has decided he has no other options.

Something I don't like is a kind of "chip on shoulder" mannerism or a readiness to air his grievances. But that is just a matter of style, not content. It is could be partly cultural (the famous gloomy fatalistic sense of humor---the well-known dark irony).
But if you ignore style and just look at content then I claim that what he is proposing to do is perfectly OK and we should suggest names to him and tell him to "go for it".

So what if he fails? If he fails, he fails and that is all. He has apparently reached a point where he feels like he has to try this. We might have good advice but he doesn't want that now.

================

@Bob,

Bob, go for it. Write the letters! Give it your best shot. Do you want more names suggested?
What would be an example of a couple of people you think are the kind you should write to? Give us an idea of one or two and we can try to think of more LIKE the ones you think are good.
 
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  • #33
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what he is proposing to do is perfectly OK and we should suggest names to him and tell him to "go for it".
If someone were to come to you and say, "I'm broke. I need advice on how to play the lottery", it's simply not responsible to answer the question without also pointing out that this is not a sound fiscal strategy.

Bob for Short's institution has a theory group. That set of people are in a position to write letters that will be taken far more seriously than some stranger's.
 
  • #34
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Do you read scientific articles of your mates solely?
No, but we weren't talking about scientific articles. We were talking about letters of recommendation. And we weren't talking about whether the writer of the letter is known to the reader of the letter - we were talking about whether the subject of the letter is known to the writer of the letter.

I am an experienced researcher who have already solved lots of difficult problems and who has his own, original vision (proposal) of how we can reformulate out theories without conceptual and mathematical difficulties.
Yes, we know. You try and work your theory in to every thread you can.
 
  • #35
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I think there is a confusion here between two concepts:

Recommendation letter

versus

Letter of support

It is perfectly fine to get letters of support from someone that do not know you or your work closely, but have read your project/idea and thinks it has merit for financial or other support.

Concerning the first one, it is absolutely imperative that the person knows the candidate from having worked with him/her for a long period and closely. So, yes, a complete stranger asking for a recommendation letter may be seen very, very negatively and it is embarrassing.

But suppose for a moment that a very "important" researcher accepts to write a recommendation letter to someone he doesn't know. There are only 2 options:

- He/she will lie about the candidate (something very unlikely, sp. from an "authority")
- He/she will be honest that he does not know the candidate -- and therefore it will be a poor rec. letter (even if the project seems very good -- but again this appears not to be important for the job in question)

So you see that is why such a thing is not of usual practice.

Also, I think Marcus is making a confusion here. I think every one is entitled to fight for their ideas and independent research, but there are right and wrong ways to do it. My considerations above are meant to offer him a positive advice.

As a last word, I think it is perfectly fine if he collects letters of support to his project from "important" researchers, if he can, and attach them to the recommendation letters from people that have professionally worked with him. This could make him a good candidate for the job.
 
  • #36
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I think there is a confusion here between two concepts:

Recommendation letter

versus

Letter of support

It is perfectly fine to get letters of support from someone that do not know you or your work closely, but have read your project/idea and thinks it has merit for financial or other support.
Yes, thank you, C.C. Dantas, for this clarification. Indeed, I have good letters of recommendations from people with whom I work, but here in France I currently work in another field. So what I seek is a word of support of my independent research program. I implied exactly this.
 
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  • #37
MTd2
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Bob, email Garrett Lisi. He is the best guy in the world to give you advices.
 
  • #38
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Thanks, MTd2, I know everything about Garrett. I am looking for something different - I've got to win a competition.
 
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