WelcomeEdit

Hello there John, welcome to Wikipedia! I hope you like the place and decide to stay. If you ever need editing help visit Wikipedia:How does one edit a page or how to format them visit our manual of style. Experiment at Wikipedia:Sandbox. If you need pointers on how we title pages visit Wikipedia:Naming conventions. If you have any other questions about the project then check out Wikipedia:Help or add a question to the Village pump.

It is good form to sign your contributions to talk pages. You can do so automatically by typing ~~~, or ~~~~ if you want a timestamp. The ~ can be inserted by clicking on the list of special characters under the edit box, in case your keyboard does not have it.

Miguel 23:24, 2005 Apr 10 (UTC)

hiEdit

Thanks for the tips, Miguel!

Mike Hardy asked me to improve the discussion of quaternions in the entry on William Rowan Hamilton, and I wound up practically pulling my hair out... because this entry doesn't say much about what Hamilton actually did in physics. No mention of his 'characteristic function', and almost nothing about the 'Hamiltonian'. It was too much work to fix this... I think I should stick to writing my own papers.

John baez 22:22, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

To each his own: you do a great job on USENET already. — Miguel 18:10, 2005 Apr 24 (UTC)

Hello. The Hamilton entry was based on some very old public domain text; all such articles are mainly placeholders. It is probably better to worry first about the quaternions article. This is an example of our WP priorities - technical things that are wrong before misplaced emphasis. Charles Matthews 14:50, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

welcomeEdit

Welcome aboard, John! Revolver 16:26, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Welcome!Edit

You may be interested in general discussions on the "talk" pages over at Wikipedia:WikiProject Physics and Wikipedia:WikiProject Mathematics, and I invite you to "join" by watching those discussions, or even formally adding your name to the participants list, if you wish. linas 04:34, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

Thanks!Edit

Thanks for the invitation. The last couple of days I've been getting addicted to the Wikipedia, editing the pages on the Bohr radius, Compton wavelength, classical electron radius and Planck length. In a previous bout I tackled G2, F4, E6, E7 and E8. I suppose I could easily get more addicted if I joined discussions on the math and physics talk pages. This environment seems a lot more constructive than my old haunts, sci.physics and (later) sci.physics.research. But I'm still not sure that helping build a pyramid is what I should be doing with my spare time. :-)

John Baez 18:15, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes, well, it is indeed addictive. I'm pretty sure that my own personal researches have been significantly slowed. I rationalize this by trying to write only about those topics that I'm learning: having to regurgitate what I just read helps anchor the subject in my consciousness. But then, I trip over articles about subjects that I know a lot about, that are so badly written, that I can't help but try to fix them.
WP seems to provide a much more rewarding place for writing than the newsgroups (which seem terribly impermanent), or personal web sites (which are isolated, disconnected and lack a social/collaborative element). It certainly provides a happy medium for how I like to express myself; all that's really missing is a way for me to "publish" some of my "original thinking" in a socially acceptable way (banned by WP policy WP:NOR). I started mulling a possible solution at User:Linas/Original research, peer review and reputation on Wikipedia but it's fragmentary. I suspect it might strike a chord with you.
(And, yes, there's a broad swath of "foundational" physics articles that are rather neglected. Such is the state of things around here.) linas 19:04, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

It's interesting that you mention the idea of something in between a blog, a newsgroup and a peer-reviewed journal. In some ways I miss the days when I spent a lot of time on sci.physics.research: there was a sense of community, but also a sense of seriousness, and I learned a lot of physics, especially at first.

Then somehow after a while things soured... or maybe I just got tired. If I'd been feeling more energetic, I would have moved to change the policies to boot out certain troublemakers who became an enormous time sink: "energy vampires", as it were. But around this time I got a bunch of grad students. Once I got some smart people willing to put a lot of energy into creating [course notes] and [papers] based on my seminars, messing around with newsgroups seems a bit too diffuse... sort of low-intensity.

I just want things to be intense, deep, and to get lots of people involved... but these goals conflict with each other, so I guess it's good to do lots of different things. Graduate-level seminars on math and physics are great, but sometimes I want to talk to everybody! I've got this "hambone" side to my personality. I'm considering some sort of "moderated blog", and someone has offered to help me set it up.

When it comes to communicating ideas, there are lots of possibilities to explore these days, and most of them haven't even been tried. Not everything is for everyone, but the best options probably haven't even been dreamt of yet!

By the way, Connes seems to have outlined a proof of the Riemann hypothesis based on quantum theory. There are gaps, but the problem had always been a complete lack of any sensible approach.

Changing your nameEdit

To change your name, visit Wikipedia:Changing username and follow the instructions there. (You could also just register a new account, and make your user page here redirect to your user page there. Then your edits would be distributed across the two accounts.) Hope that helps! Good to see you here, long time fan of TWF. -lethe talk 00:08, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Thanks! I'm giving the first option a try.
You've got a nice "to do" list there... I'd love to do a bunch of those things myself... if I had a spare year. Someone should definitely say somewhere that Maxwell's equations are incredibly slick in differential form notation... but right now I have to go correct the definition of crossed module - that's why I'm here.
(I'm in southern France, a 15 minute walk from the Mediterranean, I should be having fun, but what am I doing? Editing an encyclopedia article! What a fool.)
John Baez 19:50, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
That to-do list was fun to make, but it's hard work to actually do the work on it! So I guess that means you checked out my user page. Now I'm a little embarrassed because I've got some quote of yours on there that struck my fancy. I should change it to my all-time favorite about the string theorists dancing naked in the streets! Anyway, enjoy your trip, I look forward to reading about it in your next column. Thanks again! -lethe talk 22:47, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Hooray, you're here!Edit

We could always use some help at WikiProject GTR!

"Addiction": now you know why I keep procrastinating on that little project. Sorry, every day for weeks now I've meant to do this after just checking my watchlist... and suddenly its 08:37, 6 February 2006 (UTC) CH (trying to mentally subtract eight from UTC time...)

So you got your computer working, or something like that? Finish GR on the WWW!
Maybe someday I'll try to add some friendly gentle explanations of general relativity to the Wikipedia, but heck - it's easier to add a link to my webpages where I already have that. So far I seem to get most interested in editing Wikipedia articles when I sense that beautiful mathematical objects are being neglected. That's why I put some time into articles on crossed modules and (today) Jordan algebras.
I'm playing hooky from a bunch of talks on logic here at CIRM. Now I've got to get work... writing This Week's Finds! :-)
John Baez
Too bad I'm no more there - I made my Ph.D. at the C.P.T. (about 10 years ago), I would have liked to meet you (knew already then your web pages - maybe even e-mailed you at that time) — MFH:Talk 22:06, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Username changeEdit

Your request has been fulfilled. Regards — Dan | talk 05:57, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

hi John,Edit

i had no idea you were at WP so long. just thought i would say hi again and please fix the Planck units article to however you best see fit. another one to look at is the variable speed of light which seems to have some pseudoscience in it. i often put in the {{expert}} tag onto some articles hoping that someone like John Baez will come along and fix them. i'll concentrate more on EE and signal processing articles now. r b-j 02:35, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

also i left some response to your comment at Talk:Planck units, just in case you go back there to visit. again, i'm really pleased to see you here at WP. r b-j 04:52, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

one more note: i separated Natural units from Planck units and put in short descriptions of most of these other systems. can you check it for accuracy? i collected some of these from other papers like from Tomilin's and Duff's. one thing, i explicitly keep ε0 rather than just relegate it to 1/(4π). r b-j 18:48, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Nine LemmaEdit

Hi there! I wonder if you have any ideas for improving the nine lemma article. Is there an interesting application of the lemma that you know of? --HappyCamper 17:50, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Hi, thanks for asking. I rememember learning the nine lemma when I was in college, doing yard work to make some money during my summer vacation. It's a great thing to prove while you're pulling big piles of brush - improves the concentration.
I don't know any famous applications of the lemma. Curiously, I needed it last weekend when proving that the fundamental group of SL(2,R)/SL(2,Z) is the 3-strand braid group. But I'm not sure I should stick this in that article - there should be something more famous.
I'll ask on sci.math.research.
John Baez 14:37, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
No luck so far!
John Baez 02:20, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for looking into it for me. I really appreciate it. Have a great day! --HappyCamper 03:23, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
I did a little more prodding and got some answers.
John Baez 00:24, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
  Wonderful stuff :-) Here's a WikiThanks for you! --HappyCamper 21:51, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
You're welcome. But how about that nine lemma article?

Just a Heads-UpEdit

Greetings, Professor Baez. I see that you're temporarily away, but in the interests of common courtesy, would like to inform you of a problem in connection with which your name has been peripherally mentioned.

The problem to which I refer has been instigated by a Wikipedian which calls itself "(Chris) Hillman", strongly hints on its user page that it may be a composite entity (shared account), and describes itself as a "mysterious entity" and possible "software agent". It strongly implies that it is the same "Chris Hillman" with whom you once appeared very frequently in Internet fora dedicated to physics, cosmology, and mathematics. (According to google's hit count, your names are connected at a frequency somewhere between one and two orders of magnitude greater than might be expected for two mathematical physicists selected at random; hit counts aside, because I happen to be interested in mathematical physics and its relationship to the theories of information, categories and topoi, I used to follow your respective contributions on those topics.) Although Hillman's self-identificative remarks are somewhat ambiguous, they ultimately lead to the conclusion that you may know their/his/her/its actual identity; for example, you currently maintain certain web pages which it created, and even appear to be conversing with it above. However, out of respect for the privacy of your personal relationships, I am not presently asking you for that information.

User Hillman was recently involved in the deletion of a Wikipedia article on something called the CTMU, which stands for "Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe". This theory, which received widespread coverage by high-profile large-circulation elements of the international media, was described and/or mentioned to millions of people across the world (although it was described in connection with biographical material on its author, it is quite possible that its author was deemed notable at least in part because he had authored a theory which exhibits a rather unique and interesting structure). Nevertheless, although the CTMU has always been clearly presented as philosophy, and specifically as bearing on metaphysics and the philosophy of science, Hillman loudly and knowingly miscategorized it as "pseudoscience", thus helping to arouse a certain militant sector of the Wikipedia community against it and causing them to swarm it with evil intent. The result, a long and contentious AfD/DR terminating in the misguided deletion of the article, was quite predictable under the circumstances, at least for those who understand how Wikipedia actually works.

Many of those who voted the CTMU article into oblivion denied that it is notable on the grounds that it has not been discussed in "reputable academic journals" (as opposed, for example, to the sometimes-disparaged scholarly journal in which a paper on the subject was actually published). However, this ignored the fact that Wikipedia recognizes the popular media as a legitimate route to notability. Moreover, the absence of the CTMU from "reputable academic journals" can be plausibly attributed to the fact that its author is an academically uncredentialed and unaffiliated independent scholar who is passively excluded from academia's closed system of credits and rewards, and is widely reputed to distrust academia for what he personally considers its non-neutral, financially motivated, quasi-corporate bureaucracy. Thus, he may not yet have attempted to publish his work in those particular journals. In any case, I am not interested in discussing such issues except to observe that they relate to a more specific issue which is very, very important to Wikipedia: possible conflicts of interest among those promoting various theoretical viewpoints, and the proper attribution of significant new ideas to their authors.

Obviously, when an "expert" in a topic tries to suppress a certain viewpoint on that topic, it is crucial to know that expert's identity. Only through this knowledge can the public gauge the critic's level of personal interest with regard to such important matters as reputation, credit, and personal ideology, and thus know whether a conflict of interest exists. Although Hillman, who sometimes seems to believe that they/he/she/it are/is speaking for Wikipedia itself, purports to be very much concerned with such "conflicts of interest", they/he/she/it have/has thus far confined their policy recommendations and other related comments to proposed restrictions and prohibitions on theorists who would dare to edit articles on their own theories, even to correct unverified misrepresentations or protect the associated articles from vandalism in full accordance with existing Wikipedia policy and guidelines. My main worry is that Hillman's lopsided focus reflects more than a mere oversight; being familiar with some of Hillman's erstwhile scholarly productions, I am concerned that Hillman may be manipulatively abusing the editorial and administrative processes of Wikipedia to anonymously suppress reportage on a theory which addresses some of the same topics addressed by Hillman's own work.

At this point, I am merely alerting you to the situation rather than seeking information from you or asking you to participate in any ongoing dispute. From where I sit, Hillman is plainly out of line with respect to Wikipedia policy, and were they/he/she/it to attempt to elevate their attack on the CTMU to a more technical level of discourse, I am quite confident that they could be easily and decisively crushed regardless of who might or might not participate in any ensuing discussion (present company excluded, of course; although your own areas of interest also appear to overlap the most recent target of Hillman's deletional outrage, your well-respected name is not yet associated with any attempt to suppress or trivialize it). I ask only that you refrain from encouraging Hillman in their/his/her/its ongoing attacks, and that if you happen to find yourself in a position to do so, you discourage them/him/her/it from initiating or participating in such unseemly attacks in the future. Like many others, I regard these issues as very important to the encyclopedic integrity of the Wikipedia Project, and will be trying to stay on top of them from now on (time of course permitting).

By the way, I hope you enjoyed your visit to China! My brother's family just returned from there as well and brought home some amazing pictures.

Thanks, Asmodeus 19:56, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

The software agent called "Chris Hillman" has gotten out of my control, so while I won't encourage its attacks, neither can I effectively discourage them. I've learned not to mess with it. So, you're on your own here. John Baez 22:51, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
Good to see you back.
Lest there be any confusion, my reference to User Hillman as a software agent was sarcastic, the point being that people who call themselves "software agents" may be concealing their actual identities...particularly when their user pages have been created by fictitious characters like "John Rainwater".
As explained above, User Hillman was prominently implicated in the deletion of an article on a highly notable theory which they/he/she ridiculed without basis. I see this as highly questionable behavior, particularly for anyone with a reputation to protect. Since questionable behavior often reflects questionable motives, I thought it best to pursue the matter.
As Hillman and others have remarked, knowledge of real identities and backgrounds is required in order to confirm expertise and rule out conflicts of interest among Wikipedia editors. That's why the names and backgrounds of experts who publish articles in hard-copy, for-profit encyclopedias are given in verifiable form, and also why I don't do anything too controversial under my Wikipedia pseudonym "Asmodeus". Unfortunately, although User Hillman indulges in controversial behavior, their/his/her identity and background remain under shadows of doubt, some cast by the "software agent" itself.
Anyway, there's a chance that your name may come up in that context, especially if the current negotiations between Hillman and me break down. Please accept my advance regrets for any discomfort this might occasion. Asmodeus 21:22, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

thanks for edits to Dimensionless physical constantEdit

it got renamed from Fundamental physical constant (which redirects to it) because there is a bit of a bru-ha at Talk:Physical constant about what makes a physical constant fundamental or not. might you have the time to poke your head over there and comment? there is a guy, User:Kehrli who has some thing about dimensionality who also is insisting that there is no difference, other than dimension, between dimensionful physical constants (that NIST calls "Fundamental") and dimensionless physical constants.

could you bop over there and take a look and (hopefully) set us straight ? Thanks, John. r b-j 00:10, 22 September 2006 (UTC) (a.k.a. robert bristow-johnson whom you've run into at sci.physics.research).

In fact User:Kehrli (apparently not a guy) sent me an email about this stuff, which set me straight on some basic issues. That's why I just wrote a blog entry about dimensional analysis. Writing that entry made me look at the Wikipedia, and that's why I edited the Dimensionless physical constant page. So you see, everything in the universe is connected!
I didn't, however, realize that the argument was taking place on the Fundamental physical constant page. Thanks - I may join the fray, or may not. I've already spent too much of today on constants and dimensional analysis! I just got back from Shanghai and I should have been renewing my driver's insurance. John Baez 01:38, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
well, i misspelled Kehrli and didn't know her first name. now i will google her and find out what she is about. the fray is at Talk:Physical constant not at Fundamental physical constant which redirects to Dimensionless physical constant which is where i, at least, thinks it should go.
welcome back to the states. i wish i could travel all over the place. not that you would, but if you ever need an opinion on signal processing (as in what might be already done and if such an algorithm has a name) lemme know. i might be able to help, but it's more likely you would know the answer yourself.
L8r, r b-j 02:30, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

It's fun travelling all over the place, but coming back I discovered the sprinkler system sprung a massive leak, and I'm scared to look at the water bill. I already knew that much of the garden had died during the month of June, where it went over 100 F every day. But to think that a bunch of plants were getting wildly overwatered, too... sigh.

I'll ask you any questions I have about signal processing, and some day I may have a bunch of questions about electrical circuit theory, but all I can think of now is: how the heck do I record a digital piano (Yamaha Clavinova CLP170) onto CDs with the help of my computer? It's supposed to be easy, right? But taking the analogue line out from the piano and sticking it into the crappy little "Sound Recorder" that comes with Windows, the dynamic range of the piano is so great it either saturates the recorder or (if I turn it down) is way too quiet most of the time, buried in hiss. I made some music that way, but it's pathetic. So I guess I need a compressor - some kind of compressor software? Hmm, now I remember I should just try sticking a line in when I'm running Audacity. I'll try that sometime.

just FYI, today i started working at Kurzweil Music Systems as their "Principal DSP something or 'nother" (I can't remember if "Engineer" is in the title, there are state laws that might apply having to do with being a registered professional engineer which i am not (it seems to me that only civil engineers and those who have to crimp blueprints to certify that the damn bridge ain't gonna collapse need to be PEs). anyway, sometimes they put on your biz card something like "Technical staff" or similar if they can't put the word "Engineer" on it. also FYI, i have BSEE, MS (EE and applied math), and was ABD for a Ph.D. in EE in the 80's. not a Ph.D. though. one more FYI, i participate a lot in comp.dsp where i think i might have a status similar to yours in sci.physics.research. but our math is not comparable to your math. not at all. ours is much more meat-and-potatoes math.
anyway, if there is no AES/EBU or S/PDIF connector on either the instrument or your computer, i don't think you can make a direct digital recording. but if there was and you have lot'sa disk space, you can first record to a .wav file and then there are quite a few programs (some might come free on a Dell PC) that can burn those .wav files onto CD (assuming your computer has a CD burning drive which is getting to be pretty standard nowadays).
i have Audacity for the Mac, but the problem is still a dynamic range one. i would think that, even though there is probably some noise on a cheap soundcard (some of that noise has to do with the method of A/D conversion called sigma delta which uses a 1-bit A/D running at 128 times the sample rate and steers the noise out of the audible band) that the 16 bits of the soundcard should be comparable to the 16 bits of your CD player. so if you are having to choose between non-saturation and non-noisy, there is a problem somewhere. perhaps the Yamaha output is much higher than 16 bit output and that's why they have so much dynamic range. i don't have that instrument, so i am just guessing.
i'm gonna read and think more about your comments at Talk:Physical constant a little more as well as the blog, but i don't see the value that you see in User:Kehrli's position. She's not saying anything new or persuasive to me and i was really just trying to make sure the article didn't contradict what you and JJ Lodder and others have been saying to me on s.p.r. best, r b-j 23:20, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Welcome back to this side of the Great Firewall!Edit

First, I should note that Greg Egan's letter which you posted to the n-Category Café received considerable attention from the WikiProject Physics folks, some of whose comments can be found here. New Scientist's credibility quotient has been going down for some time in these parts; for a recent example, see the discussion on whether to delete the article on Heim theory. Second, if you care deeply about the pathology of Internet debates, you might find User:Byrgenwulf/CTMU saga this essay a worthwhile primer to that "software agent" business a few sections up from here.

Third: Bogdanov Affair — read it if you dare! (-:

Finally, good luck and best wishes. Anville 17:08, 28 September 2006 (UTC)


Hi! Excellent work on the Bogdanov Affair. You are quite right when you reflect on "how totally the world of science has moved past it" - but, it seems only recently to have worked its way through the French legal system. Yesterday I received the following news from Jean-Pierre Messager:
As you know, The Bogdanov brothers sued the french popular science magazine "Ciel & Espace" in late December 2004 for an article entitled "The Bogdanov Mystification" published in October 2004. (French version: [1]. English translation: [2].)
No trial will take place! They have been convicted of frivolous litigation, and so have been condemned to pay 2500 euros (about the same in US $) to the magazine and to take in charge all expenses on Ciel & Espace's side.
Given that they sued C&E for defamation, I hope it would make the numerous people they've threatened in the past more confident to talk publicly.
They're still showing up on tv though. Recently they've spent nearly two hours trying to expose how the brain works [...]
I asked him if he knew any publicly accessible sources that document this trial or conviction. Perhaps some French newspapers? A site called www.bogdanov.ch has a page on the Ciel et Espace trial, including a PDF file which purports to be a copy of a judgement dated September 4th, condemning the Bogdanoffs to pay 2500 euros to Olivier Las Vergnas of the Association Francaise d'Astronomie. Do you know who runs this site?
I'm glad Greg Egan's plea to save New Scientist is at least having some impact here at Wikipedia, since it seems to be having no impact on New Scientist - they don't want to be saved, I guess!
I will need to write a diary entry on which websites are blocked by the Great Firewall in China. I didn't feel like doing it when I was there, for obvious reasons. The most annoying blockage to me was the Wikipedia, followed by BBC News and Voice of America - which were mainly annoying because my Google News would crash whenever it featured an article from either of these blocked sites.
Does anyone know why Wikipedia is blocked? —Preceding unsigned comment added by John Baez (talkcontribs)
Incredibly, Wikipedia's article on itself does not include the word "China", but Blocking of Wikipedia in mainland China may be a useful starting point for research.
As to the New Scientist thing. . . .
My experience with door-to-door evangelists has led me to hypothesize that people do not react favorably to other people jumping in with offers to "save" them. It comes off sounding smarmy and arrogant, and so accomplishes even less than verbal complaints typically do, at least upon the intended recipients of the screed. (Alan Sokal's merry little prank provoked something of the same reaction, I recall: his statement that he had hoped "to save the Left from a trendy segment of itself" did not go over well.) I suspect the only way to get New Scientist to change its behavior is to make the desired behavior in the magazine's short-term interest: convince the managament that skepticism is remunerative. (MythBusters for the science newsmagazine crowd, perhaps?) The success of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Borat is promising evidence that an audience will pay to see other people exposed as fools; I would like to interpret this in the most generous, optimistic light possible, thus concluding that critical analysis of charlatans might compensate a publisher in solid coin.
I received word about the Ciel et Espace judgment a couple weeks ago. In default of any reliable sources (I believe the bogdanov.ch site is run by the brothers themselves), I decided to hold off inserting that information until such a source came along. My informant, who I believe to be M. Messager, tells me that Ciel et Espace may run an item on the decision in next month's issue.
Anville 15:20, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Also: the Café discussion on "tolerance" seems germane to the whole issue of deleting articles (like Heim theory). Thoughts? Anville 16:18, 29 September 2006 (UTC)


I put a slightly ironic comment on the Heim theory talk page last night. I don't know anything about this theory except what I read on Wikipedia and New Scientist (!), but according to the Wikipedia article it's about as definitively refuted as one might desire: it makes predictions of the proton, neutron and electron mass that are each about 100 standard deviations off.

(Current calculations using the Standard Model give much less accurate predictions of the neutron and proton mass, within about 10% of the right answers, but their error bars are big enough so that this isn't a "refutation".)

So, Heim theory may deserve an article similar to that for phlogiston and the flat earth theory - except that it never achieved such a wide level of acceptance. Maybe a brief note sketching it and explaining why it's wrong? John Baez 22:54, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

I just read that PDF-scan of the judgment against the Bogdanovs. Wow — if anything is worse than legalese, it's legalese in French! :-/ I suppose I should count myself lucky that the debate I chose to research took place (mostly) in languages that I know. If the Brothers B. lived in Japan, I'd have a real problem; I don't think the words I picked up from watching Ghost in the Shell would suffice.
I first brushed against Heim theory when the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics chose this paper as one of "the best papers of 2005". Philip Plait blogged about it at Bad Astronomy, which I read regularly, then as now. Among his comments:
I looked over the paper, and alarm bells went off all kinds of ways in my head. They talk about types of dark energy as if they are real, when we're not sure of that at all. It talks about slipping into "parallel space" without really defining it. It has a lot of math, nearly all of of which is well over my head, so I cannot judge it at all (any takers?). It also posits new particles, new interactions, and all you need to do it is a superstrong magnetic field, one not much more powerful than what you might find in a medical MRI (though the energy density, the amount of energy you can squeeze into a volume, would be far higher).
It claims that a trip to the Moon would take 4 hours, and Mars in about a month. You could even go superluminal, faster than light. More alarm bells.
Indeed. Ask not for whom the alarm bell tolls. . . . In the comments, the paper got dissected. Here a paragraph from the paper is quoted, to wit:
Furthermore, the spontaneous order that has been observed in the universe is opposite to the laws of thermodynamics, predicting the increase of disorder or greater entropy (Strogatz 2003). Everywhere highly evolved structures can be seen, which is an enigma for the science of today.
Not a promising beginning!
The problem we have right now revolves around the Notability guideline. While the science appears to be bollocks on many grounds, the media attention it has attracted makes it worthy of enshrinement in encyclopaedic amber. I can agree with this on an abstract, philosophical level; certainly, a record of human folly is a valuable thing to have, and it's not likely that the HQT partisans will allow much criticism at their own websites. In theory, then, the Wikipedia might be the best source of information the Internet can provide on the subject.
In theory. As an old flatmate of mine was fond of saying, "Communism works, in theory. Objectivism works, in theory. . . ."
Few people today, I'd wager, believe in phlogiston. Without the religious drive behind creationism or the faster-than-light spacedrive/theory of everything glamour appeal of Heim theory, it just doesn't attract enough supporters to make a noticeable difference here. Wikipedia can therefore have a reasonably written article on the subject, saying "this is what people believed, and this is why they were wrong, etc." With Heim theory and the EmDrive we aren't so lucky. The articles stay around, attracting all sorts of cruft, and people who would probably rather be writing about supersymmetric quantum mechanics or D-branes have to devote time and brain-energy to cruft patrol.
The notability boost New Scientist gives to fringe science and non-science is, of course, one reason why people here are rather peeved at that magazine.
In the short term, what might actually help the most would be a thorough yet concise debunking of Heim theory, published in as respectable as possible a venue, well outside the Wikipedia's borders. If we could pull this together — a good denunciation is always fun and educational to read! — it would sidestep the problem that fully demolishing HQT requires original research, in the Wikipedia sense. Sadly, though, this can only bring short-term benefits, because there's always the next "theory of everything" coming down the road. . . .
Anville 23:58, 29 September 2006 (UTC)


You write: "On the short term, what might actually help the most would be a thorough yet concise debunking of Heim theory... a good denunciation is always fun and educational to read!... it would sidestep the problem that fully demolishing HQT requires original research, in the Wikipedia sense."

I agree, but personally I don't have the energy to write any more denunciations: after arguments with Jack Sarfatti (who has repeatedly threatened legal action against me), the Bogdanoffs (who for some reason didn't bother, even though I'm part of a Cosmic Counter Intelligence System), and Lubos Motl (who had fun tearing me apart for things Sarfatti actually said), I am eager for some peace and quiet. John Baez 02:03, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

I can appreciate that. (-: When I'm done remodeling my home (and when various other projects are well under way), I might try writing such a denunciation myself.
May peace and quiet be yours. Anville 15:46, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

HEY, John Baez!Edit

PLEASE check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Entropy#Non-notable.3F Take a look from physics down below to where we gotta teach a general chemistry class when 50% of the class are concrete minded and 90-95% of the students will not be going into chem! Please consider the amazing success -- in less than four years after my initial publications -- of the idea of energy dispersal (IN SPACE, by "REAL MOLECULES") as a bridge to understanding entropy. That start can lead to presentation of quantized energy levels, to k ln w and microstates! Don't trust me, but look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Entropy#Non-notable.3F There's millions of bucks across that list that publishers of those (and authors of those) 16 texts -- 13 in gen chem would never have risked if they didn't feel the 'system would work'. It does with concrete-thinking students, and is a start for those who can handle your abstractions some day. Is Wikipedia only for the learned -- and not for the learners?? THANKS for checking the link! FrankLambert 06:13, 9 October 2006 (UTC) P.S. Does the name of Rev. Vernon McCombs (from 50 years ago mean anything to you? He convinced my father to go to Hamline University in MN with a total of $5 in his pocket ..

Isomorphism of PSL(2,4), PSL(2,5), and A5Edit

I don't know whether you have seen what I posted on the discussion page on alternating groups. I am moving it here. Do you want to keep your comment there?

PSL(2,F_4) has order (42-1)*4=60 and permutes 5 rays. Thus it is isomorphic to A5.
PGL(2,F_5) has order (52-1)*5=120 and permutes 6 rays. PSL(2,F_5) is the subgroup in PGL(2,F_5) of even permutaions, order 60. It permutes 5 of its cosets in A6, is thus isomorphic to A5. Scott Tillinghast, Houston TX (talk) 21:18, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

I hadn't seen this comment there, and hadn't even remembered that I had posted a comment there! Sure, let's keep my comment and yours there, so people can see my confusion being addressed. And thanks for addressing it! John Baez (talk) 19:03, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Sorry to have been informalEdit

(I beg your pardon. I thought you were related to a Rev. Baez of 50 years ago that McCombs admired.) The Wikipedia Entropy article, from which several scraps were assembled into "Entropy (energy dispersal)" by 'Sadi Carnot', without any discussion on the Talk:Entropy is indeed a mess. And the following was Carnot's scheme, I've heard:

Carnot, initiator (?) of the Entropy in Wikipedia is also its master. My approach to entropy, well-accepted in chemistry texts, had a number of references in "his" Wikipedia Entropy entry -- NONE inserted by me. His program was to take everything related to my approach from the Entropy page -- which he did -- and put it in a new "Entropy (energy dispersal)" page, wipe out all Talk;Entropy in July, August and most of September (by essentially deleting it and in two places dating its Archive correctly, but actually referring back to a previous Archive! [If that isn't some kind of Wikipedia criminality in cunning, I think it should be!] Then his plan was to do what he has actually done: Bring the rather week, no citations to texts, no peer-reviewed substantion, only websites to the attention of AfD group. Depressing and non-ethical, in my opinion.

Enough of that. On to considering pedagogy in re entropy. You are ABSOLUTELY correct in the nonpareil nature of free energy in understanding entropy change. But remember back to your own first into to entropy in chemistry? It comes some 9.5 pages (in the text I just grabbed; could be 10+ in another) AFTER the first presentation of the idea of entropy. That's maybe 2 lectures away in some courses, an eon in student-mind-time! I am pleading that you consider the concrete mindset (in re abstractions) of the great majority of students today, from what I hear from young colleagues.

My approach has been adopted by those 14 gen chem texts -- and don't dismiss Atkins phys chem even though many profs of your intellectual level hate him -- because those authors AND THEIR REVIEWERS OF THERMO -- sensed it would work. They can't risk their reputations on the crap you have seen in some texts and in many articles. These texts and authors are among the leaders ..or they would not be in their 6, 8, 10th editions.

Of course, delete the weak Entropy (energy dispersal) article. But could you please give a kick/reprimand/assign an adult/ to Sadi Carnot? He is undoubtedly a full-time Wikipedian and an asset in many areas...but his iron fist on Entropy is not the best for the enterprise! Best wishes, FrankLambert 20:26, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

Hi! I may be related to that Reverend Baez you mention: my father's father was a Methodist minister with a Spanish-speaking congregation in Brooklyn. Does that ring a bell? His eldest son was Albert Baez, co-inventor of the X-ray telescope, physics educator and father of Joan Baez. His younger son was my dad, Peter Baez. I also have a relative named [Samuel Baez] who was a chaplain in the Navy, but that's probably not the one you mean.
You ask: "remember back to your own first into to entropy in chemistry?" And the answer is: no, I don't!
My brief chemistry career began by setting a bunch of sulfur on fire in a friend's basement - a friend whose parents never again let me visit. Starting in junior high school I spent a lot of time reading my dad's old 1947 CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics - from the table of logarithms to the table of integrals to the lists of organic chemicals and tables of radioisotopes. I loved the little discussions of each element, especially the allotropes of sulfur and phosphorus. I took chemistry in high school, and I remember having fun with an endothermic reaction - some stuff that gets cold when dissolved in water. Surely that was supposed to teach me something about free energy, and it probably did. But, I don't remember what. I didn't take chemistry in college, nor thermodynamics. I spent a bunch of time studying the math of entropy. But, I first got a decent grip on "practical" statistical mechanics in grad school when a friend of mine, Mark Smith, gave me Reif's Statistical and Thermal Physics as a present - and I was hooked! I've been fascinated by the subject ever since.
So, I'm rather atypical when it comes to learning about this stuff.
If you have practical experience in teaching this stuff, then you should be able to contribute to the article on entropy. I'm hope we agree that a separate page on "energy dispersal" kind of misses the point. The page on entropy should have good explanations of entropy both for the layfolk and the experts. Since this is an encylopedia rather than a textbook, one should avoid pedagogical white lies - but one should and can explain things so that ordinary folks can understand 'em - at least near the beginning of the article. If you try to work on that article, please don't put an emphasis on using your own books as references - it looks bad among Wikipedia editors; it looks like you're pushing your own personal view.
And, no, I don't want to give a kick/reprimand/assign an adult to Sadi Carnot for his part in this controversy, any more than I want to do the same for you. You two are coming at things from very different angles - but if you're both honest seekers of the truth, there should be some way to reconcile instead of fight. It may require a year or two of cooling down first...
John Baez 01:44, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Fine tuning of fundamental constantsEdit

Your name has been invoked at Talk:Fine-tuned universe#Fine tuning unnecessarily overstated? re whether all dimensionless parameters can be said to be fine-tuned. A comment from you would be much appreciated! PaddyLeahy 15:06, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Done! John Baez 22:11, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Why 10 dimensions?Edit

At Why 10 dimensions? someone has complained of a deficiency of references. Can you help? Michael Hardy 05:45, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

That's the least of the problems! See my grumpy comments there. John Baez 22:11, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Quantum logic Article moveEdit

I noticed your recent move of the quantum logic article. Though I fully concur with your move, something happened to the article history in one the the renames (either yours or the move to "quantum reason" -- clearly a bizarre name). You'll notice that article history of the (originally named) quantum logic article is now obliterated. Though I believe in the virtues humility and modesty, I still would like to get some credit for I starting and writing much of that article. Could you help me figure out what happened? Thanks.--CSTAR 15:36, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

PS. I strongly suspect that the original rename by User:T=0 is where the disappearance occurred. I didn't mean my comment to be accusatory. --CSTAR 15:47, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
Oops, I may have let you off the hook too easily :) I think the problem may have occurred with this edit of yours [3]; It seems that you recreated an article with the name quantum logic, copied the material rather than rename the article using the move button in the edit facility. I'm not sure what the correct procedure to fix it is, although it clearly is fixable, since we know the incremental edits. --CSTAR 16:33, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
OK, the revision history problem for quantum logic is now fixed.--CSTAR 18:14, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry for the screwup --- I didn't know the correct way to rename articles. I probably shouldn't have done it, but I just couldn't stand the title "Quantum Reason". I'm also sorry for not looking here for quite some time. I'm glad the problem is fixed. John Baez 02:45, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

Now that I've fixed it, it's actually pretty straightforward repair. Apparently, this kind of inadvertent history obliteration is a fairly common occurrence in Wikipedia (if not in the real world). And yes quantum reason is a terrible name.--CSTAR 05:42, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

Centrifugal forceEdit

The centrifugal force article is currently the focus of a big edit war involving a small number of energetic and indefatigable contributors with unusual ideas about physics (see Talk:Centrifugal force for the resulting flame-fest), and the majority of other editors who follow the conventional frame-transformation interpretation, but are having difficulty editing the article into a WP:NPOV-based form which is both comprehensible to the layman who finds this concept counter-intuitive, and at the same time fully cited back to reliable sources in such a way as to be resistant to nit-picking arguments based on verifiability. Can you help? -- The Anome (talk) 23:09, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Maybe the problem is that physicists who fully understand the textbook treatment of centrifugal force find it incomprehensible that they need to cite sources! This problem seems to arise a lot in math and physics on Wikipedia. 'The truth needs no references'. :-) But, of course there are lots of references available concerning the concept of centrifugal force.
I'm pretty busy now, but someday I'll try to improve this article. Who knows - it could even launch me on my hoped-for middle-age career of explaining science to a bigger audience! John Baez (talk) 17:25, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

Quantum logicEdit

Hi -- I've made some comments on the talk page of quantum logic criticizing the arguments given in the lead as oversimplified to the point where they're incorrect. Since you've worked on the article in the past, I wonder if you agree, and if so whether you can think of a way to make them more rigorous, without making the article less accessible to a general audience. Regards, Ben Crowell (crowell08 at lightSPAMandISmatterEVIL dot com)--76.167.77.165 (talk) 19:09, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

I added a comment on the quantum logic talk page.--CSTAR (talk) 16:35, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Hi -- The lead to the quantum logic pages seems fine to me, for reasons I sketched in my reply on the talk page. Best, John Baez (talk) 20:28, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

Definition of matterEdit

Hi John, There has been some discussion for a while on the proper definition of matter. It has come up on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Physics#Particle overview and Talk:Matter#Defining matter. I and a few others have been pushing the notion that matter is composed of elementary fermions, and so obeys the Exclusion principle in consequence of the Spin-statistics theorem, so that it has a space-filling property that the other proposed definitions seem to lack. If this argument is incorrect I'd be pleased to have it killed off once and for all, but if it is right, we need an authoritative source (preferably more than one) to settle the isue so we can put it into the Matter article. I'm wondering if you could point me to such a reference, or suggest someone who could help. (Unfortunately I myself have minimal knowledge of quantum field theory.) Thanks, Wwheaton (talk) 09:21, 1 February 2009 (UTC)


Hi -- the concept of 'matter' is not really precisely defined in modern physics; you're free to make up your own definition, but 'pushing the notion' counts as doing original research (or original propaganda?) rather than accurately explaining what physicists think these days, so I don't recommend it.

Informally it's common to say the Standard Model is a theory of 'matter and forces', where 'matter' might mean 'fermions' and 'forces' might mean 'bosons'. But when physicists get serious they of course use _fermions_ to mean fermions and _bosons_ to mean bosons. After all, what about the Higgs boson? It seems weird to say this is a 'force' particle, since it's not a gauge boson; I think most physicists would call it a weird form of 'matter' --- but again, they do this without feeling any need to settle on a precise definition of matter.

What matters in modern particle physics is not 'matter' or 'forces'. What matters is quantum field theory. John Baez (talk) 20:33, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

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Electromagnetic mass and electronEdit

Hello, John Baez! I notice you've added a link to electromagnetic mass in classical electron radius article. As a mathematical physicist, how do you see the issue of the electron radius and statement of electron being considered a point particle although there are experimental hints that point to finite non-zero electron radius like in electrides where electron appears as negative ion with a finite ionic radius? What possible theoretical frame(s) is/are required by this problem? (It seems that the issue is considered an unsolved/undetermined and avoided physical problem.)--5.2.200.163 (talk) 16:43, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

There's no evidence of nonzero electron radius. The upper bound known so far is roughly 10-19 meters, thanks to recent experiments at the Large Hadron Collider. This is much too small to be detectible via chemistry. I'm pretty sure that whoever claimed experiments with electrides give evidence for a nonzero electron radius either a) didn't know what they're talking about or b) is talking about something technical that doesn't mean what it seems to mean. If people get evidence for a finite electron radius, physicists all over the world will be talking about it: it won't be lurking hidden in some Wikipedia article on chemistry. John Baez (talk) 06:49, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

I've posted some aspects on talk:electride in reply to your comment there which involve 1) Debye-Huckel theory of electrolytes and 2) the link between ionic activity coefficient and ionic diameter of ionic pairs in a ionic compound an their application to the case of electride. You say that the order of magnitude you mention (10-19 meters) is much too small to be detectible via chemistry. But is it detectable by means of diffraction, as usual ionic radiuses are determined? Is it possible that your mentioned order of magnitude be similar to that from diffraction measurements applied to solid state electrides?--5.2.200.163 (talk) 11:35, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
> Is it possible that your mentioned order of magnitude be similar to that from diffraction measurements applied to solid state electrides?

No. John Baez (talk) 16:10, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

You also say If people get evidence for a finite electron radius, physicists all over the world will be talking about it. Natural questions that arise are: 1) a)What are the (mainly) theoretical reasons (from what I see) that preclude electron having nonzero radius? b)Are there any tacit assumptions involved in considering electron to have a zero radius? 2) In order to be talked about, where (what fields of science) should evidence of nonzero electron radius be searched for? 3) What is that something technical aspect that doesn't mean what it seems to mean--5.2.200.163 (talk) 11:49, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

1) Nobody knows whether the electron has zero radius or not. What we know experimentally is that its radius is either zero or very very small here is some discussion of evidence that its radius is less than 10-18 meters. More recent work may be able to push that down to 10-19 meters, but either of these distances are much smaller than anything one can detect with chemistry.

2) Particle physics. Read the link.

3) I don't know what technical aspect that might be; I only said "doesn't mean what it seems to mean" to be charitable: sometimes people are saying something meaningful even when I think they're saying nonsense. John Baez (talk) 16:10, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for your reply. Are you saying that these orders of magnitude (10-18, 10-19) can't be reached by diffraction measurements in electrides crystal lattice? If yes, then what is the meaning of values for ionic radiuses that can be obtained by diffraction of those compounds and what orders of magnitude are they? How about some older order of magnitude of 10-22 pointed out by ion trap methods, how does it fit in the picture?--5.2.200.163 (talk) 16:31, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

I believer 10-19 meters is the smallest distance anyone has probed by any means whatsoever, in the particle collider at CERN - that's the distance scale that can be probed by an energy of 10 tera-electron volts. Show me the reference to a figure of 10-22 meters!

Remember that a proton has a radius of 10-15 meters and atoms are much bigger. John Baez (talk) 18:57, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

I wonder how this mentioned radius of proton has been measured. Details about techniques and possible calculations involved seem to be missing from proton article.--5.2.200.163 (talk) 09:39, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

Noticing this conversation I think that the requested reference here is ref 77[4] from electron by Hans Georg Dehmelt in Physica Scripta 1988 involving Penning trap.--213.233.84.189 (talk) 00:45, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

I see that other editors have spotted a reference about ion trap method that I've once heard of.--5.2.200.163 (talk) 09:51, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! If this paper is right that's very impressive. I'm always on the lookout for experimental limits on the pointlike nature of the electron or the continuum nature of spacetime, but this had slipped by me.
It is, however, not a chemistry experiment, and has apparently nothing to do with 'ionic radiuses'. It's a measurement of the electron's magnetic dipole moment, giving results that accurately agree with the predictions of quantum electrodynamics. If the electron were bigger than 10-23 meters in radius, they claim this agreement would not be seen. John Baez (talk) 07:04, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
On the other hand, this website claims that measurements of the electron's magnetic dipole moment only show the electron radius is smaller than 10-18 meters! They say the best results come from CERN (as I'd said). So I need to investigate a bit more. John Baez (talk) 07:13, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

What could be the reasons for this disagreement between these two references? Of course it requires a further investigation. What is the possible influence of methods of determining radius of charged particles like proton's in this discrepancy?--5.2.200.163 (talk) 09:51, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

I don't know the reason for the disagreement; I'd have to read some papers in detail. But I know the proton has nothing to do with it. This is all about the electron's magnetic dipole moment, which is the most accurately measured quantity in the universe. John Baez (talk) 00:35, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
What are some papers that need to be read in detail? Those mentioned as (further) references in these two mentioned sources or other?--5.2.200.163 (talk) 11:06, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
Please point to what additional sources you intend to check!--5.2.200.163 (talk) 10:39, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

Proton radius and scattering cross sectionEdit

About proton radius there is some info somewhere here on wikipedia about being determined, among other methods, by electron scattering. On the other hand I see that classical electron radius is used in scattering formulae, although it is not the real radius of electron. How are these two aspects interconnected?--5.2.200.163 (talk) 11:18, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Smallest probed distance - TeVEdit

You say above about smallest probed distance involving an energy of about 10 TeV being 10-19m. What are the theoretical and practical foundations of this probing requiring this value of energy?--5.2.200.163 (talk) 11:38, 4 January 2016 (UTC) De Broglie wave somehow?--5.2.200.163 (talk) 11:41, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

How can a smaller than 10-19m distance be probed (what is required)?--5.2.200.163 (talk) 11:45, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Sorry, I'm not interested in giving a physics course here. This is a page for discussion of Wikipedia edits.

I agree that talk pages are for discussion and proposal of wikiedits (such as your statement). That's why I'll ask explicitly this time whether your statement about the smallest probed distance can be included in some wikiarticles or, if already there, has the proper wikicontext been provided to it?--5.2.200.163 (talk) 10:25, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
I mentioned in this section one aspect to be discussed as an intermediary reasoning step in order to address the non-trivial puzzle of the ratio of 1000 between the two mentioned orders of magnitude of length. Similarly about all other mentioned aspects here on your page in regards to their potential clues to the puzzle regarding the electron.--5.2.200.163 (talk) 10:36, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
So it is not about giving a a physics course here, but always about discussing and proposing wikiedits.--5.2.200.163 (talk) 10:54, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

A slightly outdated version of my remark is implicit in Orders of magnitude (length) subatomic. The table there says 3.10 × 10−19 meters is de Broglie wavelength of protons at the Large Hadron Collider, which had an energy of 4 TeV as of 2012. By now the LHC has reached somewhat higher energies, about 10 TeV, so it's able to probe distances about 4/10 as big. John Baez (talk) 17:01, 29 February 2016 (UTC)

Puzzle of proton radiusEdit

What do you think about the (origins of) proton radius puzzle as mentioned in ref 33 (by Carl Carlson 2015) from proton article and the two alternatives considered? --5.2.200.163 (talk) 15:37, 29 February 2016 (UTC)

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Gabrielse webpageEdit

Hi again! You were saying something above about the constraint on electron radius on Gabrielse http://gabrielse.physics.harvard.edu/gabrielse/overviews/ElectronSubstructure/ElectronSubstructure.html website. From where(what equations) is this figure (10-18m) obtained? Could those equations be inserted on Wikipedia?--5.2.200.163 (talk) 16:44, 13 June 2016 (UTC)

For quantum particles moving close to the speed of light, their wavelength L is close to inversely proportional to their energy E: you can use T = hbar/E to convert the energy to a time T and then use L/T = c to convert the time T to a length L. So, if E is the energy attained by a particle accelerator, the length scale it probes is approximately L = c hbar / E. That is, if the electron had radius bigger than L = c hbar / E, we'd notice it with a particle accelerator that attained a center-of-mass energy of E. John Baez (talk) 00:56, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for your reply. I see that the derivation of the bound of electron radius you mention involves the uncertainty relation in energy being therefore rather straightforward. Can the reasoning above be included as such in some wikiarticle such as electron?--5.2.200.163 (talk) 16:07, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

Electron magnetic moment and classical model of g factorEdit

Prof Baez, ho do you consider the aspects discussed at Talk:Electron_magnetic_moment#Section:_The_classical_theory_of_the_g-factor_-_questions in re to the corresponding section of the article Electron_magnetic_moment#The_classical_theory_of_the_g-factor? What possible additions and improvements could be made to that section of the article?--5.2.200.163 (talk) 16:18, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

Electron and proton mass (and charge) densityEdit

Prof Baez, in re to the previously mentioned article that mentions the topic of mass and charge distribution of particles like electron, is it possible that electron and proton have the same mass density? Could this statement about the ratio of mass densities be mentioned in some wikiarticles?--5.2.200.163 (talk) 16:26, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

"is it possible that electron and proton have the same mass density?" No, they are completely different things. Well, anything is possible, but we don't use that as an excuse to seriously discuss theories of the moon being made of green cheese on Wikipedia. John Baez (talk) 00:10, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
An excuse? I don't think your comparison is very well conceived or wellfounded. In the first case it is very clear that the Moon is not made out of green chase while this is surely not the case for the second statement or hypothesis. Science and scientific reasoning is based/working on/by exploring the logical consequences of some hypothesis in order to validate or disproof it. Therefore I see no valid reason (or perhaps excuse?) not to seriously discuss by the scientific method procedures and requirements the implications of this hypothesis of mass density equality of two particles in order to assess its validity or lack of it and add the details of the proof/reasoning to appropiate wikiarticles.--5.2.200.163 (talk) 15:53, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

Mathematical physicsEdit

Hello! I've noticed from your wikiarticle that you are a mathematical physicist. Therefore I want to ask you to which side of this composite domain do you feel more closely, to that of math or to that of physics?--82.137.8.226 (talk) 22:52, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Despite the name, a mathematical physicist is a type of mathematician, one who proves theorems inspired by physics. So, I teach in a math department, but I've always loved physics and worked on problems connected to physics. For more, try my answer to a Quora question about this topic:

John Baez (talk) 08:14, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

I've seen it. I think that your statement (Mathematical physics serves as a bridge between theoretical physics and mathematics.) can be included in mathematical physics if it's not somehow already there.
It seems also interesting why the usage of mathematical physics is more predominant than the use of physical mathematics, an article just noticed to which content has been added in January this year. The situation with these two terms seems somehow similar to that of physical chemistry and chemical physics.--82.137.15.145 (talk) 11:17, 24 July 2016 (UTC)

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Thank you for your edit to Planck units.Edit

I can't name me here, but we have conversed many times at sci.physics.research about Planck units, your fundamental constants page which is referred to in Dimensionless physical constant, and a bit about the Duff perspective on the possibility of a meaningful change in c, , or G. Please continue to stop by and fix bad content in Wikipedia. bestest, 71.184.228.118 (talk) 04:17, 18 September 2016 (UTC)

Sure! John Baez (talk) 21:28, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

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