[extropy-chat] Elvis Sightings (2)

Ben Goertzel ben at goertzel.org
Thu Feb 8 00:19:41 UTC 2007

 From the wikipedia page on Schwinger:

After 1989 Schwinger took a keen interest in the research of low- 
energy nuclear fusion reactions (AKA cold fusion). He wrote eight  
theory papers about it, including these [1] [2]. He resigned from the  
American Physical Society after their refusal to publish his papers.  
He felt that cold fusion research was being suppressed and academic  
freedom violated. He wrote: "The pressure for conformity is enormous.  
I have experienced it in editors’ rejection of submitted papers,  
based on venomous criticism of anonymous referees. The replacement of  
impartial reviewing by censorship will be the death of science."

Unfortunately, the guy died in 1994.  If not for the goddamn ongoing  
blight of involuntary death, we would probably have a theory of cold  
fusion by now, and maybe Schwinger would have a second Nobel Prize  
for it ;-)

-- Ben

On Feb 7, 2007, at 6:44 PM, Damien Broderick wrote:

> At 06:30 PM 2/7/2007 -0500, Ben wrote:
>> I think there are many theories, but not enough experiments to
>> validate or refute them.
>> Nobelist Julian Schwinger posed one sketch of a theory in this  
>> lecture
>> http://www.infinite-energy.com/iemagazine/issue1/colfusthe.html
> Here's a telling quote:
> < Critics should learn to operate within the bounds of sanity.
> My first attempt at publication, for the record,
> was a total disaster. "Cold Fusion: A Hypothesis"
> was written to suggest several critical
> experiments, which is the function of hypothesis.
> The masked reviewers, to a person, ignored that,
> and complained that I had not proved the
> underlying assumptions. Has the knowledge that
> physics is an experimental science been totally lost?
> The paper was submitted, in August 1989, to
> Physical Review Letters. I anticipated that PRL
> would have some difficulty with what had become a
> very controversial subject, but I felt an
> obligation to give them the first chance. What I
> had not expected–as I wrote in my subsequent
> letter of resignation from the American Physical Society–was  
> contempt.>
> Everyone should bear in mind that Schwinger is
> right up there with Feynman. It's not too hard to
> suspect that something *sociological* is at work here.
> Damien Broderick
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