Nutty E-Mails

When I first became a graduate student in Physics, I was surprised to find that my inbox was periodically flooded with pseudo-scientific e-mails written by crackpots and religious nutters both Christian and Islamic. I’m not sure precisely what these people hoped to accomplish by randomly e-mailing people off of a departmental website. I suppose that they were expecting that one or two of us would read it and suddenly have an epiphany: “Why yes! My eyes have been opened! This letter, with its mangled syntax and multiple different colours of text has convinced me that the sun really is the only luminous body in the universe and that space as we know it is just a giant mirror! Thank you, mysterious stranger, it’s so obvious now! We award you all of the Nobel Prizes!”

In any case, this trend seems to have died down somewhat of late. Now, however, a new menace has emerged: solicitations for papers from academic journals and conferences which are obviously scams. There’s one company in particular, called Lambert Academic Publishing, which specializes in trawling around the Internet looking for unsuspecting recent graduates to have their thesis published by a vanity press.

Of course, none of this is any more than a minor problem, but it has made me realize that I should probably try re-writing my thesis results as a couple of papers and get them published in a legitimate academic journal. I’m also starting to think that maybe I should write the first “popular-science” monograph on the subject of analogue gravity, since this subject seems largely untouched outside of academic papers.


About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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4 Responses to Nutty E-Mails

  1. n8chz says:

    What would happen if you put a star inside a giant spherical mirror, anyway?

    Apparently some nanoscientists have succeeded at putting water molecules inside buckyballs (while under construction?) It got me to wondering what (if anything) would happen if someone put an alpha particle inside such a structure.

    I know, I know, they were lying when they said the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.

    • “What would happen if you put a star inside a giant spherical mirror, anyway?”

      Well, I suppose that the outgoing radiation would be reflected back and focused at the centre of the sphere (presumably also the centre of the star); this would accelerate thermonuclear fusion and may even allow it to fuse slightly beyond iron, although it would still die shortly thereafter. If it were big enough to make a super-nova, and the mirror were perfectly reflective, even of neutrinos, then I guess the shockwave would bounce off of it, fuse the core some more (and lose energy), bounce off of it again, lose some more energy, and keep going until you have a core made of some heavy element and a shockwave endlessly bouncing back and forth. That’s just a guess, though.

      “what (if anything) would happen if someone put an alpha particle inside such a structure.”

      An alpha particle is a whole lot smaller than a water molecule; maybe it would just fall out? You should probably talk to a chemist. Why do you ask?

      • n8chz says:

        Well, the mental picture of the water molecule trapped inside the buckyball got me to thinking, “what about a charged particle?” The idea of a charged particle in there seemed to suggest an aura of tension, if not danger. At first I was thinking ions, like say a carbonate ion, but then I thought, um, carbon+carbonate, probably just go up in a puff of carbon dioxide, but then I thought alpha particle that’s a helium nucleus, right, and chemically inert, but yeah, also passes through most matter. I’m sure radiation exposure must have been on the long list of things to try on fullerene. What about a neon nucleus?

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