23 November, 2009
21 November, 2009
Recently Jorge Hirsch himself wrote a preprint, where he proposed a new, ħ (hbar) - index, that is aimed to solve at least one of these problems, multiple co-athorship. Indeed, the "mass graves" (sorry), published by high-energy physicists and the institute policies to include everyone's name to any article, can unreasonably increase the Hirsch-index, with no extra work.
Some of the h-index terminology before describing the ħ-index. You have the h-index n, if n of your papers belong to the "h core". The paper belongs to the h-core if it was cited n times or more. Your co-authors will probably have other h cores, and a given paper may belong there or not.
The ħ - index is defined in a similar way: you have the ħ - index m if m of your papers belong to the ħ-core. But, the paper belongs to the ħ-core if it was cited m times or more and it also belongs to the h-core of your co-authors. (Actually, the latter h should be also ħ, but since the index would be extremely difficult to compute in this case, Hirsch decided to relax the condition a bit)
In other words, only if the paper improves the h-index of all the authors, it will contribute to your ħ-index. Imagine that you have the h-index of 20, and you have a paper cited 25 times, co-authored by a student with a h-index of 5. Then, it will be included in your and the student's ħ-index, because it belongs to the h-cores of both of you. But, if you add a third author to this paper, say, a director of your institute with a h-index of 45, the paper will not count for any of you, because it doesn't belong to the director's h-core.
So, if you have 200 papers, cited 44 times each and co-authored by your director, who has the h-index of 45, none of them will count, and your ħ-index will be zero. Hirsch expects this to stimulate young scientists to work independently. However, he mentions, that the ħ-index will be definitely useless for postdocs, since they are used to include senior scientists in their papers.
I wonder whether it will be possible to eliminate self-citations at some point.
20 November, 2009
19 November, 2009
17 November, 2009
"The institute made the announcement in a press release issued 21 September, saying 'there are suspicions that scientific data may have been falsified in two publications and a doctoral thesis in 1999 and 2000' while Chen was group leader. A panel of five chemists was formed earlier this year to investigate, confirming data had been falsified."
Chen will remain a full professor at ETH.
13 November, 2009
12 November, 2009
In a paper recently published in Phys. Rev. E, Filippo Radicchi with colleagues propose a new ranking technique that captures this "who" issue: the citations coming from renowned scientists have more weight than those from less known researchers. The authors focused on physics and used the PROLA journal archive (1983-2006) as a testing ground for the methodology. The results show that the probability to win a major physics prize is more accurately predicted by their new method, than by the other metrics, such as citations count.
The only thing is probably missing here – the "negative" citations. The results may be cited as "doubtful" or "wrong" even by famous scientists, and the trustless paper will be scored higher. However, in the case of a scientist's rank, averaging over all his papers will probably make this contribution negligible.
Here is a website where you may figure out a rank of any scientist, based on his articles in physical review journals published before 2006. This piece of work was also highlighted in Physics.
09 November, 2009
"...I'm 91 years old and suffer from an incurable blood disease, for that reason I cannot walk since about three years ago; I also have another difficulty that I don't feel like describing here. Passing through it would be probably much easier with a belief in God. But, until I'm in full possession of my faculties, I will never address to the mythic God. I would like to emphasise that the illness has no affect on my writings, and I ask my opponents to make no allowances for me..."
30 October, 2009
12 October, 2009
A few days ago I was told a fascinating story of John Bennett Fenn. He was working at Yale for a quarter of a century, until he reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 1987. After a while, the law was changed to fight the age discrimination, and Fenn became officially allowed to get a job. By that time his ex-position at Yale was still vacant, and he applied for it. Believe you or not, he didn't get it.
Eventually Fenn joined Virginia Commonwealth University in 1994, where he started working on the Electrospray ionization technique, for which he shared the Nobel Prize in 2002. John Fenn was 85 by that time and he still remains the oldest Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.
Yale University claimed that Fenn was working on electrospray ionization while still holding a position there. After submitting a lawsuit against Fenn, Yale was awarded over one million dollars and partial patent rights to the technique.
11 October, 2009
10 October, 2009
According to Migdal, the company's silliness is proportional to the resulting length of the thread.
04 October, 2009
01 October, 2009
Nowadays pure theory is almost never published in science magazines, such as Nature or Science. We definitely need to found another one.
30 September, 2009
A PhD student of the MSU Physics Faculty, young communist V. L. Ginzburg, made a commitment to defend his thesis prior to the university's anniversary.
I don't know exactly, which anniversary is meant there: Ginzburg defended his thesis in 1940, while the MSU was founded in 1755. This might be the 185-years one.
P.S. Don't ask me what the famous theorist is doing in the lab.
29 September, 2009
"...As you may recall (that is, if you even bother reading the reviews before doing your decision letter), that reviewer listed 16 works that he/she felt we should cite in this paper. These were on a variety of different topics, none of which had any relevance to our work that we could see.
Indeed, one was an essay on the Spanish-American War from a high school literary magazine. The only common thread was that all 16 were by the same author, presumably someone whom Reviewer B greatly admires and feels should be more widely cited.
To handle this, we have modified the Introduction and added, after the review of relevant literature, a subsection entitled "Review of Irrelevant Literature" that discusses these articles and also duly addresses some of the more asinine suggestions in the other reviews..."
28 September, 2009
Thomson Reuters came up with some quantitative predictions, based on the citation count.
Let's see what is going to happen next Tuesday, when the prize in Physics will be announced.
27 September, 2009
2) A speech for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences - by Terry Tao
3) Buying success, Saudi style - Physicsworld.com
4) A bad time to get sick? - NHS reports that a number of hospital deaths rises on the day junior doctors join wards (they call it black Wednesday)
25 September, 2009
This is not a very recent story, somehow: a month ago the Los Angeles Times was doubting the validity of Daneshjou's PhD degree.
This is kind of popular among politicians: a few years ago Russian president Putin was accused in plagiarizing his PhD thesis.
P.S. According to Nature's new investigation there are two Iranian ministers involved.
20 September, 2009
18 September, 2009
Today is of no doubt that paper versions of scientific journals will not last for long time. The process has already started: the American Chemical Society has basically interrupted printing anything, except for JACS and two review journals. The New Journal of Physics has no paper version from the very beginning.
16 September, 2009
Here is a famous test by Karl Duncker, he created it to study the "functional fixedness". So, you have a candle, a box of thumb-tacks and a book of matches:
The task is to attach the candle to the wall, in such a way that the wax doesn't drip onto the table (or the wall).
This is not kind of complicated, or is it? However the results of Duncker's studies were amazing - people solving the problem just to make fun were much faster than those, who were promised a reward (say, 50 dollars) for being the fastest.
15 September, 2009
14 September, 2009
What looks a bit weird to me is the "how to improve peer-review" part. Usually there are two ideas:
i) to make the referee's name open, and
ii) to make the review process double-blind, with both names of authors and reviewers hidden from each other.
Well, if we take "a spherical society in a vacuum", say, an ideal one with no politics involved in research, then the first point might probably work. But I don't understand how can one hide the authors' names: people are used to cite their own work, such as an experimental machine they have built or a code they have written. So, the authors will not be obvious only when submitting their first contribution to the field.
That is surprising that 76% of researchers are favoring the double blind system.
13 September, 2009
Here is a number of submissions to the astro-ph section of the arXive, by time of day, in 10 minute bins:
I took it from the recent investigation by Haque and Ginsparg.
The thing is that 16:00 (US eastern time) is the deadline for the daily submission to the arxive. So, the papers submitted at 16:01 will be the first for the next day and will appear on the top of the daily mailing. You are probably wondering why is that important? Recent research by Dietrich and also the preprint I cited above show that articles appearing the first are more visible and far better cited than others.
No matter how good your work is, just put it on the top of the list.
12 September, 2009
11 September, 2009
In the ground state helium has two electrons on the 1s shell, one of which can be excited to the 2s shell, using inelastic electron scattering. In such a way the metastable helium He* is obtained. The thing is that the transition 2s->1s is dipole forbidden, and the lifetime becomes huge: a recent investigation of Hodgman with colleagues shows it to be 7870 seconds, which is longer than 2 hours.
Well, that's a good opportunity to take some sleep during the experiment.
05 September, 2009
09 August, 2009
This is an opposite of what is going on in physics/chemistry/biology, so I asked Daniel Lemire on twitter whether that is true. Daniel explained to me that before the on-line era, the publication cycle was way too long for such a fast-developing field like Computer Science. Therefore journals traditionally don't have so much authority as conference proceedings, which are much faster for science communication.
06 August, 2009
If you look at this image, the face on the left looks like an angry old man, while the one on the right looks like a calm woman.
Step back from your computer five or ten feet, and you will see that the images seem to change places!
The thing is that coarse features and fine features are distinguished differently at different distances.When both sets of features are blended into one image, the mind sees the different feature sets, depending on the distance of the viewer.
Thanks to Valera Yundin for the link.
05 August, 2009
Up to now, Bose-condensation was achieved in atomic gases of a number of alkalis (Li, Na, K, Rb, and Cs), and also of ytterbium, chromium, hydrogen, and metastable helium.
04 August, 2009
Commenting on a blog post about something completely different, a guy nicknamed Liquidcarbon drew attention to an article in Journal of the American Chemical Society, that he found to be completely odd. After less than 24 hours after his "WTF is going on there?", the experiments were reproduced showing results, different from those of the original paper.
Being quite far from pure chemistry, I can not judge whether the conclusions of the article and those of bloggers are correct. But, anyway, here is a good example of how science will probably look like in the future - now we call this Science 2.0.
03 August, 2009
Quite a while ago, Mikhail Simkin and Vwani Roychowdhury from UCLA published a preprint about this, "Read before you cite!". The authors present a statistical approach to estimate how many people who cited a paper, had actually read it. Here "to read" means "to take at least a brief look" or even "to download a copy of the paper".
The main idea of the method is to analyze... the number of misprints in the list of references. For instance, if some paper is cited by a bunch of different articles, with the same misprint in the page numbers, most likely the authors just copy-pasted a reference from each other's work, without even downloading the article. As for me, I faced with this a few times.
The final estimate obtained by Simkin and Roychowdhury is that about 80% of the citers don't read (say, never downloaded) the paper they cite.
Thanks to Daniel Lemire for sharing the link on Twitter!
13 July, 2009
12 July, 2009
20 June, 2009
19 June, 2009
17 June, 2009
02 May, 2009
29 April, 2009
2) A book by Arnold Neumaier "Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras" is available here. It will be published soon by Cambridge University Press.
3) Motion Mountain, The Free Physics Textbook by Christoph Shiller
24 April, 2009
17 April, 2009
03 April, 2009
22 March, 2009
13 March, 2009
27 February, 2009
"The digit will be part of a landmark exhibition marking the 400th anniversary of his first observations of the skies...The finger was removed when the astronomer's body when it was exhumed from his unconsecrated grave and transferred to a mausoleum in a Florentine church in 1737. It is usually on display at Florence's Museum of the History of Science."
Do you really want to become a great scientist?
23 February, 2009
22 February, 2009
18 February, 2009
Here are the names of some chapters: "Quantum Mechanical Time Contradicts The Uncertainty Principle", "Definition of local time", "Motion Inside a Local System", "Principle of General Relativity", "Inconsistency of Mathematics?", "Stationary Universe", "Existence of Local Motion", "Local time exists", and so on.
Hm, "stationary universe" in the QM course... Let's take a look at this chapter:
"By nature what is called the universe must be a closed universe, within which is all. We will characterize it by a certain quantum-mechanical condition.We consider a metatheory of a formal set theory S. We name this metatheory M_S, indicating that it is a Meta-theory of S as well as a Meta-Scientific theory as Ronald Swan  refers to. The following arguments are all made in M_S....The class φ is the first world, the Universe, which is completely chaotic. In other words, φ is “absolute inconsistent self-identity” in the sense of Kitarou Nishida , whose meaning was later clarified by Ronald Swan  in the form stated above. In this clarification, φ can be thought “absolute nothingness” in Hegel’s sense."
Oh mein Gott, "in Hegel's sense"... I wonder whether physics students at Tokyo university have to pass an exam on this.
15 February, 2009
While Anderson gave his lecture in 1977, this seems to be even more relevant nowadays.
Another theorist, Phil Bunker, while giving talks, often describes somebody's work as "...these guys with small brains and big computers!"
05 February, 2009
This is perhaps what the Futurama's Bender would say, while working in Moscow State University.
03 February, 2009
01 February, 2009
2) Is massively collaborative mathematics possible? - Gowers's weblog.
3) Thousands of video lectures from the world's top scholars - a terrific project.
4) Lab-initio, a lot of funny science pictures.
5) Italian history of physics archive - some old scientific journals are accessible after free registration.
6) Leningrad Siege: Now and then, from English Russia - shows how Saint Petersbourg waw looking during WWII.
22 January, 2009
"The standard format for mathematical papers is TeX, AMS-TeX, LaTeX, or AMS-LaTeX; other formats such as Word or Mathematica can cause technical difficulties (and will ultimately need to be converted to a TeX format), and so should be avoided."
Nevertheless, as mentioned by Philip, Mathematica notebooks can be used to write up some daily results with the following data analysis. For a final draft it is better to use something else, though.
19 January, 2009
18 January, 2009
2) Library of Heidelberg University - a lot of stuff in open access.
3) Quantitative Finance - a new section of arXiv
4) How the credit crisis spread - physics arXiv blog
5) Origin of name "Cast Lead"
6) The Italian Man Who went to Malta - a funny video about English as a foreign language.
7) Defining Science - by Chad Orzel
16 January, 2009
11 January, 2009
2) Next generation search engines could rank sites by “talent” - in the physics arXiv blog.
3) Think atheist - a social network for those who has no shame being an atheist.
4) A Staged Scene in a Gaza Hospital? - a CNN video of a twelve year old boy, dying in the hospital, with remarks of a specialist. The (most likely) fake video, was later withdrew from the CNN website with no further comments.
10 January, 2009
8809 = 6
7111 = 0
2172 = 0
6666 = 4
1111 = 0
3213 = 0
7662 = 2
9312 = 1
0000 = 4
2222 = 0
3333 = 0
5555 = 0
8193 = 3
8096 = 5
7777 = 0
9999 = 4
7756 = 1
6855 = 3
9881 = 5
5531 = 0
2581 = ?
I took it from here (Russian)