Wednesday, February 24, 2010

El Naschie's "my teacher Ilya Prigogine" schtick

El Naschie's practice of sucking up to Nobel Laureates is well known. Ilya Prigogine (1917-2003) was his biggest trophy.

This article is based on Shrink's investigations into the El Naschie-Prigogine connection. Shrink first reported to El Naschie Watch readers these damning observations in the comments of my post So sad. All eggs, wrong basket. I take this opportunity to write up his discoveries as a blog post, because it deserves attention. It's a scandal.

Nature and Taylor Wessing, we hope you are paying attention.

Prigogine in his later years worked in the field of chaos and did in fact collaborate, sort of, with El Naschie on that topic. For example, there's Quantum Mechanics, Diffusion and Chaotic Fractals, by M. S. El Naschie, I. Prigogine, and Otto E. Rössler. That's a jointly edited collection of papers by various authors.

Before he died, and well before El Naschie was forced to drop the role of Editor-in-Chief of Chaos, Solitons and Fractals, Prigogine published several papers in that ill-fated journal:

2001 "Gamow algebras"
(with I. Antoniou, M. Gadella, E. Karpov and G. Pronko)
Chaos, Solitons and Fractals 12, 2757

2001 "Explicit construction of a time superoperator for quantum unstable systems"
(with G. Ordonez, T. Petrosky and E. Karpov)
Chaos, Solitons and Fractals 12, 2591

2000 "Thermodynamic limit, Hilbert space and breaking of time symmetry"
(with T. Petrosky)
Chaos, Solitons and Fractals 11, 373-382

2000 "Time operator for diffusion"
(with I. Antoniou, V. Sadovnichii and S.A. Shkarin)
Chaos, Solitons and Fractals 11, 465

In total, Prigogine published seven articles in CSF in the period 1991-2001.

Curiously, the paper circled below in red

El Naschie, M. S. and Prigogine, I., Time Symmetry Breaking in Classical and Quantum Mechanics. Chaos, Solitons and Fractals, 1996, 7(4), Special Issue

which we shall call TSB1 and which El Naschie cited on several occasions in his subsequent articles, can't be found among the seven! A closer look at that issue of CSF reveals that El Naschie published, as the sole author, an article with a similar title:

Time symmetry breaking, duality and cantorian space-time
Pages 499-503, 505-518

which we shall call TSB2. Prigogine published a different article (with T. Petrosky): Poincaré resonances and the extension of classical dynamics, Pages 441-497.

So, what the hell is El Naschie up to, citing the nonexistent jointly-authored article TSB1?

Astute readers may have guessed the answer already: Because the CSF Special Issue 7(4) is titled "Time Symmetry Breaking in Classical and Quantum Mechanics" El Naschie cited the entire issue (in which Prigogine also published a paper) pretending that he co-authored an article, TSB2, with Prigogine! Shrink goes so far as to call this pure scientific fraud. I think El Naschie is being very dishonest, intentionally dishonest, but leaves himself just enough wiggle room to possibly avoid the pure fraud charge. It's deniable, but to me, not very plausibly deniable.

Look again at TSB1. Can any excuse be given to the author list "El Naschie, M. S. and Prigogine, I." other than fraud? Other contributors to that issue of CSF weren't listed, so the claim can't be made that it's a reference to the whole journal (though that turns out to be El Naschie's fallback position for plausible deniability). And as we have seen, there is no paper in CSF Special Issue 7(4) that has both their names on it. What excuse would El Naschie give if confronted? I suspect he'd say

Oh, a complete accident. I meant to write El Naschie, M. S. and Prigogine, I. (editors), Time Symmetry Breaking in Classical and Quantum Mechanics. Chaos, Solitons Fractals, 1996, 7(4), Special Issue. I made the mistake every time.

One reason this answer is not plausible is that it makes no sense to reference an entire volume of heterogeneous material by diverse authors. That's not done in peer-reviewed math or physics papers. There's no excuse for it. There is no circumstance in which it would be apropriate. None. The correct practice is to cite the specific paper in the list of references; while in the text you should cite page and equation number.

This calculated abuse of Prigogine's name is symptomatic of his general dishonesty. It is an exploitation of intentional vagueness to

  • create the appearance of a close relationship where there is none, while at the same time

  • manufacturing plausible deniability.

El Naschie Watch has written about the Great Man's apparent use of intentional vagueness before, in Smoke and mirrors.

We haven't seen what's in Quantum Mechanics, Diffusion and Chaotic Fractals, by M. S. El Naschie, I. Prigogine, and Otto E. Rössler; but we doubt very much there's any El Naschie-Prigogine joint paper in it. Or anywhere else. If there were, he'd have let the whole world know.

The photo of El Naschie, and its caption, are taken from El Naschie's Web site.

Translate English to Arabic

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  1. Awesome! Wahnsinn! I didn't realize that before.

    Aber was mich viel mehr bewegt ist die Frage, was er da auf dem Foto sucht?
    Seine Brille? Die hat er auf der Nase.
    Oder hat er sich dabei fotografieren lassen, wie er einen fremden Schreibtisch durchstöbert?
    Hat er da etwas in seine Tasche gesteckt?
    Sucht er ein unbekanntes gemeinsames Paper, in "einer Schublade"?
    Oder eine schöne Havanna um den Augenblick gebührend genießen zu können?

  2. Martin, it's just a wistful pose for the camera. An act. Schtick. He's not looking at anything.

  3. OMG, look at this:


    Ilya Prigogine and M.S. El Naschie
    Time Symmetry Breaking in Classical and Quantum Mechanics
    Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, Vol. 7, Issue 4, pages 441-609, April 1996

    he put the foreword of the issue:

    And where's his "teacher" in the above PDF?

    Prigogine must be turning in his grave. :I

  4. It's obvious Prigogine had nothing to do with that stupid PDF.

    That's one of the hazards of being a well-known person who's come in any sort of contact with El Naschie: When you die, you turn out to have been very close to him. 't Hooft is three years younger than the great man, but the Nobel Laureate should be documenting his relationship with El Naschie as a precaution.