Topics - The Language of Bad Physics

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Language of Bad Physics

Now on ( instead (for LaTeX typesetting) - find The Language of Bad Physics here.

More often than not, the introduction to a scientific paper can tell you the weight of the results before you need bother get to the conclusion. Faulty reasoning has been leaking into theoretical physics for as long as theoretical physics has existed. Science fiction and pop-science lead many people into a false sense of familiarity with concepts that they do not truly understand. It is this, non-rigorous science though, that inspires and drives many new people into the field. Sometimes, it leads to new scientists and to new and important discoveries. More often than not though, it leads to crack-pot futurists filling the arXiv with nonsense, just because they can.

Spotting a crack-pot is not too hard, and it doesn’t require much time at all. Sure, words like “time-travel” and “anti-gravity” are often dead giveaways on their own, but, sometimes, for the sake of science, you have to give them the benefit of the doubt. The introduction to any paper can let you gauge the competence level of the author and help you decide, through the use of their language and inferences, whether they are doing science, or crack-pot science.

Posts will be separated into three categories:

1. Bad Papers - highlighting poor logic and bad physics in published work that, for whatever reason, is garnering attention.

2. Bad Language - often good physicists use sloppy terminology and incorrect definitions that end up taking away from the overall quality of the work (ie. pet peeves of mine).

3. Bad Physics - highlighting commonly bought into physical theories that are built on bad foundations.

-S.C. Kavassalis

1 comment:

  1. I fully agree with your rationale. Well said. Whilst it is easy to spot a crackpot, unfortunately, many academics will shy away from pointing that out.

    Also: you gave me an idea: I'll switch to wordpess too!