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Thread: Theoretical Astrophysics Institutes

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    Theoretical Astrophysics Institutes

    I have one last technical question.

    I heard via Quora that theoretical astrophysics institutes aren't interested into new gravitational theories that are not of their own. Is that true?

    If so this explains their non-cooperative behavior with external researchers. I think this is quite inefficient overall way to do research.


    Regards,
    philippeb8

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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    I have one last technical question.
    If so this explains their non-cooperative behavior with external researchers. I think this is quite inefficient overall way to do research.
    I think the only group who was willing to review new gravitational theories was 100 Years Starship a few years ago but I think it's dead in the egg now.
    Last edited by philippeb8; 2018-Jan-30 at 11:15 PM.

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    Theoretical astrophysics institutes do not have gravitational theories of their own. Theoretical astrophysicists in general work on whatever they like.

    Any actual examples? List theoretical astrophysics institutes that do not allow their researchers to work on new gravitational theories that are not of their own. List the cases of theoretical astrophysics institutes not "cooperating" with external researchers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reality Check View Post
    Theoretical astrophysics institutes do not have gravitational theories of their own. Theoretical astrophysicists in general work on whatever they like.

    Any actual examples? List theoretical astrophysics institutes that do not allow their researchers to work on new gravitational theories that are not of their own. List the cases of theoretical astrophysics institutes not "cooperating" with external researchers.
    The following institutes do not return their calls even to honest taxpayers:

    http://perimeterinstitute.ca/
    https://www.cita.utoronto.ca/
    https://www.kitp.ucsb.edu/

    I'm not sure how many times I tried to contact them by phone...

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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    The following institutes do not return their calls even to honest taxpayers:
    That is not what you asked.
    However private institutes do not have to return calls from taxpayers. For example why is the Perimeter Institute obliged to return your calls because you pay taxes?
    Perimeter Institute is an independent, not-for-profit corporation governed by a volunteer Board of Directors drawn from the private sector and academic community.
    What was the nature of your calls? General enquires are at:
    General inquiries can be made Monday through Friday, between 8:30am and 5:00pm at: 31 Caroline Street North,
    Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, N2L 2Y5
    Tel: (+1) 519-569-7600 Fax: (+1) 519-569-7611
    Some calls would be ignored, e.g. cranks wasting their time by calling a line for general enquires.

    P.S. You are a honest taxpayer in both Canada and USA? I do not think that is possible!
    Last edited by Reality Check; 2018-Jan-31 at 12:13 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    I have one last technical question.

    I heard via Quora that theoretical astrophysics institutes aren't interested into new gravitational theories that are not of their own. Is that true?

    If so this explains their non-cooperative behavior with external researchers. I think this is quite inefficient overall way to do research.
    I think that's very wrong. I work for an institute that has labs doing theoretical astrophysics, and researchers there invite people from the outside quite frequently to talk about their new theories (things like quantum gravity, for example, which the lab in question might not be doing). They are interested in knowing what other people are working on, because it might give them new ideas as well.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reality Check View Post
    That is not what you asked.
    However private institutes do not have to return calls from taxpayers. For example why is the Perimeter Institute obliged to return your calls because you pay taxes?
    Taxdollars are supposed to be serving the citizen and not the other way around.

    What was the nature of your calls? General enquires are at:

    Some calls would be ignored, e.g. cranks wasting their time by calling a line for general enquires.
    How do they know my work is invalid if they haven't tested it?

    P.S. You are a honest taxpayer in both Canada and USA? I do not think that is possible!
    Yeah I lived in USA under a visa and Canada.
    Last edited by philippeb8; 2018-Jan-31 at 12:33 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I think that's very wrong. I work for an institute that has labs doing theoretical astrophysics, and researchers there invite people from the outside quite frequently to talk about their new theories (things like quantum gravity, for example, which the lab in question might not be doing). They are interested in knowing what other people are working on, because it might give them new ideas as well.
    Interesting. I wish I could contact this institute!

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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    Our taxdollars are supposed to be serving the citizen and not the other way around.
    Excepting those tasked with providing individualized services to citizens (e.g.; passport offices) agencies are usually responsible to the citizenry as a whole and not to the particular desires of any one citizen. If they had to answer to the ad hoc demands of every John and Jane Q. Public, they could soon find their personnel over-tasked and their budgets depleted.

    How do they know my work is invalid if they haven't tested it?
    The burden is on you to demonstrate its validity. They aren't responsible for figuring it out for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    The burden is on you to demonstrate its validity. They aren't responsible for figuring it out for you.
    Thanks PetersCreek; it's a clear answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    Taxdollars ....
    Do not oblige private institutes to answer phone calls.

    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    How do they know my work is invalid if they haven't tested it?
    It is nothing about testing ideas from random phone callers.
    People who want to inform scientists about valid ideas publish those ideas in scientific journals. So scientists generally ignore unsolicited calls under the assumption that it is a crank calling. Institutes protect their researchers from having their time wasted from unsolicited calls under the assumption that it is a crank calling.

    You skipped my question:
    Any actual examples? List theoretical astrophysics institutes that do not allow their researchers to work on new gravitational theories that are not of their own. List the cases of theoretical astrophysics institutes not "cooperating" with external researchers.
    Last edited by Reality Check; 2018-Jan-31 at 12:59 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reality Check View Post
    People who want to inform scientists about valid ideas publish those ideas in scientific journals.
    Yes but scientific journals want the theory to be tested before it is published. This is what The Astrophysical Journal told me:

    Your manuscript has two pieces. The first is a proposal for an experiment. The second is an examination of the consequences if the experiment shows what you hope it will.

    The first part would be more appropriate for a general physics journal. It's definitely not the kind of thing we would publish. The second part is of no interest to us until the experiment is done.
    Last edited by philippeb8; 2018-Jan-31 at 01:10 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reality Check View Post
    So scientists generally ignore unsolicited calls under the assumption that it is a crank calling. Institutes protect their researchers from having their time wasted from unsolicited calls under the assumption that it is a crank calling.
    I didn't know cranks was such a problem. That's unfortunate because my work is extremely simple to review for a mathematician.

    You skipped my question:
    Any actual examples?
    Examples of what exactly?

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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    I didn't know cranks was such a problem. That's unfortunate because my work is extremely simple to review for a mathematician.
    Here is an example from 1983. (http://web.mst.edu/~lmhall/WhatToDoW...ectorComes.pdf). Also I have to be honest and somewhat blunt, considering your posting history at this forum I'm not confident of your ability to evaluate the worth of your contributions to physics.

    Examples of what exactly?
    I'm not Reality Check but but I assume the question was the next part in the quote that you manually removed from your post.
    Quote Originally Posted by Reality Check View Post
    Any actual examples? List theoretical astrophysics institutes that do not allow their researchers to work on new gravitational theories that are not of their own. List the cases of theoretical astrophysics institutes not "cooperating" with external researchers.
    Last edited by glappkaeft; 2018-Jan-31 at 02:44 AM. Reason: Fixed date from bad scan

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    You seem to have the same misconception that I see in a lot of ATMers: that scientists are just waiting around for someone to give them a new idea so they can get to work to prove or disprove it. That is completely opposite of reality. Virtually all scientists that I've known have plenty of ideas. What they lack is the time and resources to investigate all of them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by glappkaeft View Post
    Here is an example from 1983. (http://web.mst.edu/~lmhall/WhatToDoW...ectorComes.pdf). Also I have to be honest and somewhat blunt, considering your posting history at this forum I'm not confident of your ability to evaluate the worth of your contributions to physics.
    My final manuscript is much different than my posts here and it was reviewed / written by a PhD in physics I hired.

    I'm not Reality Check but but I assume the question was the next part in the quote that you manually removed from your post.
    I listed the institutes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    You seem to have the same misconception that I see in a lot of ATMers: that scientists are just waiting around for someone to give them a new idea so they can get to work to prove or disprove it. That is completely opposite of reality. Virtually all scientists that I've known have plenty of ideas. What they lack is the time and resources to investigate all of them.
    I understand there are too many cranks and to be fair we all need to be eliminated from the map. As a result it's now impossible to suggest new gravitational theories as simple as they can be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    I understand there are too many cranks and to be fair we all need to be eliminated from the map. As a result it's now impossible to suggest new gravitational theories as simple as they can be.
    But thank you all for your help, everything is clear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    I understand there are too many cranks and to be fair we all need to be eliminated from the map. As a result it's now impossible to suggest new gravitational theories as simple as they can be.
    Actually my comment had nothing to do with cranks or how good or bad your idea may be. It is that scientists are more than busy with their own ideas and don't have a need for someone else's.

    It isn't impossible to suggest new theories but you have to do all the advance work, like get the degree , get the position, write the grants, get the money, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    It isn't impossible to suggest new theories but you have to do all the advance work, like get the degree , get the position, write the grants, get the money, etc.
    I understand. Let's put the cards on the table:

    1)
    - it took me 7 years to write the theory
    - going back to school will take me another 10 years
    - I know writing grants isn't easy (50+ pages) and will take me another 7 years to write correctly
    - I am currently 40 years old

    Thus at 57 years old I should be ready to write a grant and hope it'll be accepted.

    2)
    Forget about astrophysics and work on my private computer science company. If it is successful then I could finance the experiment myself.

    Ok thanks again for your help, I really appreciate. It is perfectly clear!
    Last edited by philippeb8; 2018-Jan-31 at 03:38 AM.

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    I found the response from the Astrophysics Journal to be very kind. I don't think they always give feedback on manuscripts they receive.

    I have a suggestion for you: if the device you want to use is light and easy to make, then there could possibly be a way to get your experiment done without going through the hassle of getting an advanced degree and what not. If you can articulate it in a sort of fun way, like "there is this strange idea, and this experiment would disprove it easily," and then enter into some kind of citizen science type competition. Like sometimes they give chances to high school students to have experiments done in space, so something like that. Then it wouldn't require all the complicated grant paperwork and stuff like that.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I found the response from the Astrophysics Journal to be very kind. I don't think they always give feedback on manuscripts they receive.
    Yes they were indeed nice. I polluted my reputation with Physical Review D by sending them unprofessional versions of the manuscript but my one and only submission to the APJ was convincing.

    I have a suggestion for you: if the device you want to use is light and easy to make, then there could possibly be a way to get your experiment done without going through the hassle of getting an advanced degree and what not. If you can articulate it in a sort of fun way, like "there is this strange idea, and this experiment would disprove it easily," and then enter into some kind of citizen science type competition. Like sometimes they give chances to high school students to have experiments done in space, so something like that. Then it wouldn't require all the complicated grant paperwork and stuff like that.
    They have that Breakthrough Junior Challenge:
    https://breakthroughjuniorchallenge.org/

    But I am not sure if I can pretend my niece invented the experiment

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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    Taxdollars are supposed to be serving the citizen and not the other way around.
    They are. By doing research. That doesn't mean they have to listen ideas from random members of the public.

    How do they know my work is invalid if they haven't tested it?
    The astrophysicist Katie Mack has a very good explanation on her FAQ: http://www.astrokatie.com/faq/#theory

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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    I didn't know cranks was such a problem. That's unfortunate because my work is extremely simple to review for a mathematician.
    Because I was able to remain polite, I was once the "designated person" at the engineering company where I worked who had to answer telephone calls and letters from "members of the public" who thought they had a breakthrough idea. They were all completely insane ideas. I gave up trying to explain why they wouldn't work (they didn't care) and just told them we were not interested.

    This is a minor problem in engineering and, I suspect, in most areas of science. For physicists, it is (potentially) a major problem. The only way to avoid being dragged into huge time-wasting discussions is to just ignore these callers and emailers. I follow a few scientists on Twitter and all of them have described problems with cranks trying to contact them. One of them had to set up an automated bot to block Twitter accounts because he was getting so much abuse.

    I am not the least bit concerned that this approach will mean that a genuine breakthrough might be missed. The chances of a random member of the public coming up with an important result in astrophysics are almost exactly zero.

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    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    As a result it's now impossible to suggest new gravitational theories as simple as they can be.
    You just need to do it properly.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by philippeb8 View Post
    I understand. Let's put the cards on the table:

    1)
    - it took me 7 years to write the theory
    - going back to school will take me another 10 years
    - I know writing grants isn't easy (50+ pages) and will take me another 7 years to write correctly
    - I am currently 40 years old

    Thus at 57 years old I should be ready to write a grant and hope it'll be accepted.

    2)
    Forget about astrophysics and work on my private computer science company. If it is successful then I could finance the experiment myself.

    Ok thanks again for your help, I really appreciate. It is perfectly clear!
    You can work on your theory at the same time as going to school. I come from an observational viewpoint but to collect data you can do that over the school year and/or during the summer if you have supervisor who is that field or likes your idea. On the theory side of things you have to start somewhere you can work on it in a similar way. If you plan to completely retire 40 is could be to old but in academic circles people usually continue to work after that, it is not like you are lifting heavy objects and worn away your body.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    I am not the least bit concerned that this approach will mean that a genuine breakthrough might be missed. The chances of a random member of the public coming up with an important result in astrophysics are almost exactly zero.
    Unfortunately that statement perfectly captures the public perception of people who call themselves scientists. To rephrase, "It is impossible for anyone outside our closed community to have an idea of any importance." or "We're better than everyone else." Some might call them elitists.
    Depending on whom you ask, everything is relative.

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    If philippeb8's idea is as simple as he claims it is, I would not be surprised if lots of physicists have thought of it independently, vetted it properly and then justifiably dismissed it as either trivial or fundamentally flawed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mkline55 View Post
    Unfortunately that statement perfectly captures the public perception of people who call themselves scientists. To rephrase, "It is impossible for anyone outside our closed community to have an idea of any importance." or "We're better than everyone else." Some might call them elitists.
    Well said, mkline55. The "system" does not account for the highly likely fact that SR might be fundamentally flawed. Furthermore GR has a 50% chance of being wrong because of quantum mechanics, which is quite high.

    Also all these Nobel and Breakthrough prizes are indirectly funded by the taxpayers but there is no way for them to participate because of all the politics involved (your idea needs to be published on arxiv.org or inspirehep.net beforehand, sorting out the individuals with no publishing experience).
    Last edited by philippeb8; 2018-Jan-31 at 04:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    If philippeb8's idea is as simple as he claims it is, I would not be surprised if lots of physicists have thought of it independently, vetted it properly and then justifiably dismissed it as either trivial or fundamentally flawed.
    Surprisingly no one have thought about it which is why it was pre-approved by NASA, assuming NASA is not conspiring.

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