Mathew and anti Mathew effect. 2

We also form, two quantities: from v we form m.v = p = momenta; by multiplying the mass into the velocity or speed. From a, we form the same way; F = m.a = force. But, force is also defined to be the time-rate of momentum p, or in other words; the ratio of the increments dp and dt, F = dp/dtThis is called Newton’s 2nd law; F = m.a = dp/dt. Its called a law, but strictly, its a mathematical law so far, and not one which describes, Universe’s Phenomena so it cannot be called; a physical law or principle as of yet.

This point was originally raised by Feynman; as far as I know.

I wanted to write this article, separately, as I didn’t want to break the flow of Physics arguments in the article, where this point came up.

This point was originally raised by Feynman; as far as I know. If David Mermin comes, he will stick his cotton buds, and wipe this out, and claim he said it, there is no lack of such incredible people. All he does say in that article, linked here, is so typical of plagiarists that you wouldn’t believe how murkily he dismisses Feynman as the original fellow who might have said so, “he is a great mind calculator, so nobody would ask him to shut up and calculate”.

How about nobody would think “Madonna” is a slut. A beautiful lady in the corner, well nobody would be harsh to her, such harshness would only be toward me, only I would be one to whom such a treatment can be mated, and that would be David Mermin’s famous and infamous proof and evidence of Mathew Effect of which he is apparently a victim.

If, anything, even I knew of “shut up and calculate” in my grad days, as a phrase ascribed to Feynman, in my privacy of studies, in other words never discussed with anyone, but knew of it, and grew in associating this behavioral treatment towards myself, going as far idiosyncratically, even to compare the thickness of my own hair, with Feynman’s, I can’t be Feynman, or can I be? Can “shut up and calculate” be used on any grad student or similarly placed researcher? Yes, it can be and thats the whole message, not the interpretation by the name of the city of Copenhagen.

In-fact, on tons of incidences, my thesis adviser had made me aware “shut up and work towards thesis”, so much so that, when I first came across that phrase, I began to identify with it. Because Feynman was famous in later days, his adviser wouldn’t say something like “shut up and calculate” not in exact words, but in the spirit? You gotta be kidding me, 75% grad students in the USA and elsewhere have this behavioral victimization, going by how many I would meet who would have some sort of “not serious about thesis” attitude, while they will be the actual leaders in the future. Saying from personal experience so you don’t quote me for the number, but its really a large number where our simplistic behavior and attitude towards anything else than a serious involvement with “thesis” is quelled in retributive paranoia.

My adviser scared me so much in asking anything, that he would consider as beyond thesis* that I would not even dare to ask about Astrophysics, until we are drinking beer together. I wanted to go for a postdoc in astrophysics his reply “what you know of astrophysics?” I didn’t like that, I turned up to Simmonetti (the astrophysics guy at VT Physics) and asked if I could work towards an astrophysics program, elsewhere, not his group. His reply was in affirmative.

(*and he had no “idea” of what my thesis would lead to, he would beat the bush around, would feel sorry for saying that out loud, because such a thing would go on a record, see why Feynman traded caution with facts?)

Even to the end of your years in a PhD program, a grad adviser does not at all think of you as someone who can and should be allowed to take a decision that influences your career as a scientist. Obviously, John Simmonetti  didn’t come with such a package for me, as I am not his grad student, and also perhaps because he is not the man that my adviser was, a constant prick to one’s conscience, and he said “you will do really good at this program”.

I also had offers for Dark Matter Experiment and many other lucrative career option, and the rest is history, I did not get the position, as I did not have even support for my own thesis, let alone a postdoc in dark matter or astrophysics. Thats the real situation towards tons of outstanding grad students, they don’t have a say in anything, in other words retributive paranoia “shut up and calculate”.

The problem Feynman must have faced, if I were to look at this, from my own grievous situations, in a career scientist’s life, while being so young, is not to make politically close-ended statements, one that puts his position weaker. And for a grad student or a young postdoc all statements are politically close-ended, retributive paranoia “shut up and work”. Why? The politically acceptable statement, as would float then, in formal annals of  history of science is, J.A. Wheeler and Feynman were life long collaborators. Feynman being a great scientist it would rather be more appropriate for his to “shut up and calculate”, because thats whats ordained by how the science regime works, and thats clearly what Mermin is trying to take an advantage of. Its like a best student vs the class, I have had that.

Formal Fame of even Einstein, are totally not firm, until far too late, do we forget how he was dealt? “I would not be what I am today, if I were not to meet with NO, from all those people.” Formal Fame, and popularity and “description of incidents” are totally different from what happens on ground, if not seen with a slight sensitivity. If we empathize with Feynman, so we may be empathizing with a non-Feynman, its not written anywhere who is the victim of Mathew Effect. Call it Anti-Mathew Effect?

Do we forget Feynman’s adviser Wheeler’s: what good is it? Or even Hans Bethe. In the young-researcher-days of Feynman while he was popular, to not have run into a situation, where the only merit that is to be seen, is from computing a problem of physics and finding a viable answer, was far more probable, because Feynman was a great calculator, than not. What sort of argument this man Mermin is making, you better be in insomnia, than mislead the world one time more around.

And disclosing one goes on opening another, until the day someone tries to take advantage, which we shall really be careful of, lest history will be bastardized sooner than not, and Feynman isn’t here, but we have to look deeper than how an insomnia struck man suddenly gets up from such a phase of indeterminacy and sees his own reasons as to why Feynman didn’t say it but it was him. We should be cautious of such a trend taking up in science today where some of the older generation are trying to take other’s popularity and push their own heads through it. In-fact recently I have observed how some so called friends of Feynman, just one or two, went on making diatribes against him, after gaining from his popularity. I think its a trend that one makes good statements about someone, and tries to bring someone to believe and trust and then go on slandering them, after gaining enough popularity or trust, evil and nothing else. And we must fight back such dark forces, they keep coming back in various excuses, nationality, caste, creed, class and what not.

Not too far in the past, someone told me: “someone who is senior must be expected to conduct in certain ways”. While in principle this is agreeable, that more privilege ought to be carried with more responsibility and sensitivity, we can’t forget how many hypocrites are out there, who merely pretend to show up a polished persona, in driving such an image rather than letter and spirit of the inherent responsibility of seniority. In other words if I can hideously make benefit and interest for my own position I would not be vocal towards other’s needs, in that position, for political correctness.

2 comments

  1. Pingback: Not a raunchy morning but lets give it a shot. « Invariance Publishing House

  2. Pingback: Nature is a rule-book, immensely complex, gigantic and subtle … « Invariance Publishing House

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