The Bogdanov Affair


Table of Contents

  • The Basic Story: initial email exchanges that started the snowball down the mountain. - The Bogdanov Affaire started with a rumor that two brothers published at least 4 bogus papers in physics journals as a hoax. On or around October 22nd, a physicist named Max Niedermaier - previously affiliated with the Max Planck Institute For Gravitational Physics, Potsdam, Germany - sent an email around to a number of people - including another physicist: Ted Newman. - Ezra "Ted" Newman apparently fowarded the email to many individuals including - it seems - John Baez.
  • Statement from Robert Coquereaux - I agree that it is a pity if people in academics can no longer even make the difference between a genuine article and a hoax, and I agree with you that this is a symptom of the decadence of our system. If they were not TV personalities, nobody would even care (probably this is the real problem!)
  • Statement from Daniel Sternheimer - In my opinion, [the Bogdanov brothers] genuinely believe in what they are doing.
  • 4) Statement by Arkadiusz Jadczyk - The only way I can see out of the trap is to always "work with your own brain." Never believe a word of what has been published - unless you are able to check it yourself. Never follow a fashion. Never expect to be praised or even understood - for what you have produced as a scientist. Never expect that your own papers will be accepted for publication in peer reviewed jornals. In fact, the more original your paper is, the less likely it is that it will be accepted!
  • Statement by one of the permanent members of Laboratoire Gevrey de Mathématique Physique, Université de Bourgogne: For sure, this affair has created a crisis in the string/quantum gravity community, but there is no hoax here! Apparently, the brothers were really serious about their work.
  • Daniel Sternheimer responds to "innacuracies" in Monastersky's article - I have been forwarded the text of your November 5 Chronicle article, entitled "French TV Stars Rock the World of Theoretical Physics". I shall make only a few comments on facts... Even a serious journalist like you can make menial errors.
  • Daniel Sternheimer: Mise au point - At a time when so many scientific papers consist in just applying some machinery in a context which is, or seems, slightly different of previous applications, it is refreshing that a few intelligent persons having a different perspective try and bring in new ideas. It is then to others, who are more experts, to be inspired by these ideas. That is what happened when I+G were discussing with established scientists who had no idea that I+G should be deemed pariahs, apparently because someone decided so.
  • Robert Coquereaux answers an inquiry from a journalist of a leading newspaper - My opinion is that for the last twenty years or so, there has been a deterioration in the style of expository or research papers. There are several reasons for that (see below). This does not mean that many recent papers are wrong, it means that either such papers are "not even wrong", or that they require a lot of time and efforts from behalf of the potential readers to become meaningful. ...the United States carries a heavy responsability in the deterioration of the style quality of scientific papers.

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