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I'm a layman without a university background in physics / math. Since I don't have a background, reading a paper is more of an effort. Consequently, when I come across an interesting paper, I can't really just give it a glance, and see if it is science, or psuedoscience.

This question is about this paper:

The Schwarzschild Proton. Nassin Haramein. Originally at The Resonance Project; archived here by the Wayback Machine on 20/02/2012. [Edit by bcrowell, 19/08/2013: this web page provides a very detailed discussion, and offers heavy criticism.]

If the advent of the internet has taught me anything, its that there is an inverse relationship between cost to publish and the need to vet what is published

On the other hand, Lisi's E8 paper has taught me that a paper doesn't necessarily need to be correllated to an establishment like the Perimeter Institute or the Institute for Advanced Study (two examples off the top of my head) to be worth reading.

Is the paper worth reading?

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I’d vote to close - there is probably a range of opinions on this paper (as well as Lisi’s), so this is not a concrete question with a unique answer. –  user566 Mar 7 '11 at 2:31
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I'd have to question the value of a physics Q and A site that can not provide a unique answer to the question "Does paper X contain valid science"... –  Tommy Hinrichs Mar 7 '11 at 2:59
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Off the top of my head, in this context, valid science = doesn't contradict the previous scientific knowledge gathered in the field, doesn't introduce unresolvable infinities, not plagiarised from someone else's work, potentially extends what we can say we think we know about the universe –  Tommy Hinrichs Mar 7 '11 at 3:55
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Not even wrong. –  Carl Brannen Mar 7 '11 at 4:56
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@Tommy, from the FAQ of this site: “You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page. To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions...”. It goes on, you can read it if you click on FAQ on top of your screen. –  user566 Mar 7 '11 at 5:39
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3 Answers

up vote 21 down vote accepted

I'm going with "Nonsense." on account of

  • Mixing physics 101 mechanics with special relativity with no evident effort made to tell which case is applicable. In particular, modeling the proton as a black hole, and asserting that he can use physics 101 circular motion to describe the acceleration of two such objects whose event horizons are in contact!
  • Claiming that the proton's mass arises from "cohering" some of the vacuum, and making no attempt to explain whence the charge comes and why it is always the same.
  • No effort to explain where the neutron comes from, or why it is chargeless, or why it is unstable.
  • No hint of an explanation of how or why nucleons can bind together, and why some states are stable and some are not.
  • Frankly, I gave up looking at the alleged physics at this point...there is some verbiage that purports to relate the anomalous magnetic moment of the proton, and the author finds it necessary to use scare quotes on anomalous. Not promising.
  • A general sense of "snake oil" in the web site.

A side note that may be of interest. AIP conferences accept a few papers from authors whose theories are...ehm...not well regarded. I don't know why. I do know that people flock to see these talks as comic relief (and they are generally scheduled very late in the day). Personally I find myself intensely embarrassed on the presenters behalf: I figure they must know how the audience feels, and don't know why they do it.

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Selecting this as the answer. Thank you. Side note - I tried to fix a few typos in the answer, but as it was less than 6 bytes it would not let me. Can someone with more reputation fix them? I didn't want to change the verbiage of the answer –  Tommy Hinrichs Mar 7 '11 at 5:44
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+1 for taking the hit for the rest of us and reading the damn thing. –  user346 Apr 27 '11 at 16:37
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Also, if the proton is anything, it's a naked singularity. –  Jerry Schirmer Aug 19 '13 at 16:00
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@JerrySchirmer The proton is a compound object. It has non-zero spacial extent and substructure. –  dmckee Aug 19 '13 at 16:04
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@dmckee: I'm aware. But if you're going to treat it as a black hole, you'll find that $Q > M$ in units of $G=c=1$, which will make it a naked singularity. –  Jerry Schirmer Aug 19 '13 at 16:50
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A good guideline is to ask yourself "is this paper published in a reputable journal, or a crackpot website." If the former, maybe; the latter, no. So that would be a no for this and Lisi's paper.

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So how do you determine if its a crackpot website? –  user1708 Mar 7 '11 at 2:47
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So Lisi's paper is "crackpot"? I was under the impression, that while not expected to be correct, it had value and pointed to what could be useful research directions? –  Tommy Hinrichs Mar 7 '11 at 2:55
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I'm afraid that labelling a site / data source as "crackpot" is too prejudicial... If "crackpot website" is defined as "source that is not on the established whitelist", I'm worried that this definition is too exclusive, and judges "the book" by "it's cover" –  Tommy Hinrichs Mar 7 '11 at 3:00
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It's just how science works. No peer review, no science. If you aren't published in a peer reviewed journal, no one cares what you have to say. And you identify a website as "crackpot" by the fact that they get elementary statements about a field totally wrong (in the event you aren't even able to judge on elementary facts, then you should be reading introductory textbooks anyway, not papers regardless of how correct they are). And yes, Lisi's papers are nonsense and contribute nothing to science. –  Mr X Mar 7 '11 at 6:39
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If something isn't published in a peer reviewed journal, it doesn't automatically mean that it's wrong, but the chances do go way up. –  David Z Mar 7 '11 at 8:46
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Let's start with the basis. My research of the literature says that an average black hole has a density of approximately 10^14g/cm^3. The literature also says that a hydrogen atom has the density of approximately 10^14g/cm^3 also. This is straight from mainstream literature. Nothing crackpot about this. One has to realize there is science and then there is the business of science careers. These are vastly different beasts and very often operate with conflicting agendas.

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"My research of the literature"...could you provide a link to that. And please complete your answer... where are you going with the density of a black hole and hydrogen atom being equal? –  udiboy Aug 19 '13 at 4:19
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Also "the density of a black hole" is a rather poorly defined concept in any standard theory since it is not in any way an intensive quantity. Rather it is nothing but a proxy for the area of the event horizon. –  Michael Brown Aug 19 '13 at 4:31
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I downvoted for a vague answer. This doesn't seem to address the specific question asked in any detail. Also, how is the density of a single Hydrogen atom defined? –  Kevin Driscoll Aug 19 '13 at 4:36
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That does not mean that no statements about black holes are valid. Black holes are well defined and perfectly comprehensible, but their density is not a useful concept. This is no different in principle than trying to apply the concept of energy to a nonconservative system, or temperature to a nonequilibrium system. You can define it, and it might be a nice trick for some purposes, but it doesn't help a whole lot. –  Michael Brown Aug 21 '13 at 12:29
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I downvotked for obvious non-mainstream physics. –  Dimensio1n0 Aug 28 '13 at 16:45
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