Friday, May 27, 2011

Marshall goes copyright crazy!

This is a followup to Marshall chides Ibrahim for El Naschie spat and Marshall responds and Shrink answers.

I just got this scary notice from Scribd:

We have removed your document, "R. Marshall on T. Ibrahim" (id: 56266824) in response to a third-party notification or other indicia that this document was uploaded to without the authorization of the copyright owner. If you believe the removal of this document is the result of a mistake or misidentification, please visit our Scribd Support Desk to access the instructions for providing a counter-notification.

For more information, read about our Copyright Management System or contact us through

Please note that under Section 512(f) of the Copyright Act, any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that content was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification may be subject to liability. Please also be advised that we enforce our policy that provides for the termination of users who are identified as repeat infringers.

Sure enough, if you check the post Marshall chides Ibrahim for El Naschie spat you will see that Marshall's write-up is no longer available.

I am not a lawyer but the document wasn't clearly copyrighted as far as I could tell from looking at it. Is there a distinction between "copyrighted" and "I wish this weren't bandied about in public"? I don't know. Readers will recall that Marshall was annoyed at what he called "a confidential document flapped around the internet". Anyway, it's still available at Tarek Ibrahim's page [update: now a dead link], where it's the first PDF listed. And here is the full text:

Assessment of the papers and background of Dr Tarek Ibrahim in consideration for the degree of D.Sc. in Particle Physics at the University of Alexandria


Physics is about observables, either the measurement of the value of the observable or the theoretical calculation of the observable by means of which a comparison of the measured and calculated values allow the theory to be tested and also to encourage the theory to make more predictions which can also be tested.

Dr Ibrahim is a theoretical particle physicist and together with his colleague Professor Pran Nath has written a series of papers over a period of 12 years, which contain the details of their joint research work. 30 papers and 12 conference presentations were presented to me for consideration.

In my opinion, the award of the degree of D.Sc. (by research rather than by honoris causa) is justified where a person has consistently shown that he or she has progressed beyond the level of Ph.D./M.D. and sustained this over a period of time by a consistent and substantial output of quality research which has made an impact in the relevant research field. This can be done by a summary dissertation or by a collection of published work. Dr Ibrahim has submitted a collection of published papers with a covering 18-page essay describing his work. One of the papers is a substantial review paper, which also summarises his own research in the context of research done by others.

The Physics

Dr Ibrahim has specialised in the subject of CP violation, which is at the heart of modern particle physics. As he explains in his essay, it is believed that CP violation is the reason why the universe seems to be constructed of matter and not a 50:50 mix of matter and anti-matter, which a simple theory would naively propose. Although CP violation has been observed experimentally, and there is a theory: the “Standard Model” that incorporates the violation, what has been observed so far is simply not enough to explain the Universe as we see it. Nothing could be more fundamental. The systematic aim of Dr Ibrahim over the last 12 years has been to construct a theoretical framework, which allows the magnitude of the traces of CP violation to be calculated, often in phenomena where one might not simply and a priori, expect it. The result is a catalogue of arenas where experimental physicists can look and measure and from their measurements, use Dr Ibrahim's predictions to elucidate the origins of the CP violation.

He also brings in (super)string theory and M-brane theory in his calculations. This is very useful and indeed smart. Many of us who are experimentally orientated think that (super)strings, which have a dimension incomprehensibly small could have no influence on observables, which are within reach today. But Ibrahim calculates how they change what we observe. The parallel is to think that any phenomenon on the nuclear or particle scale (18 orders of magnitude smaller than a metre) could not have an influence on the scale of the Universe (26 orders of magnitude greater than a metre) whereas it does. Strings might be 33 orders of magnitude smaller than a metre, but we are told that they can easily reach out to a millimetre. Staggering indeed, but then that is the nature of the subject.

His early papers focus on observables such as the electric dipole moment of objects like the neutron and electron, which are theoretically, simplistically zero, but which acquire a value in circumstances that Ibrahim calculates.

I have to say that as an experimentalist, I would need guidance from the author if using these papers as a prescription for how to compare what I have measured (which Ibrahim does prescribe) with what he has theoretically predicted, which is in a form that I find harder to grasp. That is a criticism of me, not him.

But at all times, he kept very close to matters of importance. The neutron and electron dipole moment were supplemented by supersymmetry, then mixing between chargino, W and charged Higgs loops, neutralino corrections and even dark matter. I have to admire the breadth of topics researched.

In summary, the subject matter of Dr Ibrahim’s research is topical and relevant and gives very strong support to his case.

Volume of research

Over a period of 12 years, a total of 30 papers have been published, an average of 2.5 per year or at an average rate of about one paper every 21 weeks. Given the amount of work that must be inserted into each paper, the conception of the research, the evaluation, the detail, the need to check the results and then write the paper to the standards required by the journals, this represents a significant volume of work and hence provides very strong support to the case.

Quality and impact of the research

In the introduction, I said that the topics of the research were fundamental to modernparticle physics. Therefore the choice of subject gives very strong support to the case.

Most of the papers have been published in the journal Physical Review D, which is one of theflagship journals for physics in the world. It would be hard to imagine an alternative of a higherstandard for this sustained work and therefore I must conclude that Ibrahim and Pran Nath havesatisfied the journal referees, who are theoretical particle physics peers, consistently over several years. This is what is needed to underpin the award of a D.Sc. degree. The quality of the journal,multiplied by the volume of papers published leads to very strong support for the case.

A substantial review, paper numbered 26 in Dr Ibrahim’s essay was published in an equally prestigious journal: Reviews of Modern Physics. These reviews are usually invited and so calibrate the status of the authors on the field.

Other journals like Physics Letters and Nuclear Physics, which were used once or twice, are also good.

Ibrahim proves evidence of the impact of his papers by means of the citations. This provides strong support for the case.

Overall, the evidence for quality and impact is very strong.

Other matters

The pursuit of the subject by Dr Ibrahim and his colleague has been relentless and monotonic over the 12 years. There has been some evolution in the approach but the generaldirection remains unchanged. This does make it easier to assess the solidity of the work -sustained and not fragmented - but the time is coming from a career point of view perhaps to see a new visionary step function in his work in the near future. I will not put much emphasis on this point and I suspect that the subject matter has been deeply satisfying and moreover, Dr Ibrahim has developed personal skills that might not have so much impact elsewhere. Although the future vision is average to strong, I do not let this change my assessment.

There is one area where Dr Ibrahim has allowed himself to become sucked into public (internet) discussion with someone called El Naschie. Although many of us can make our judgment, there is a real danger that that some people may not have the necessary background to decide the rights and wrongs and as a result of his engagement, Dr Ibrahim potentially could harm his image or reputation and through his affiliation, his University by arguing in public with someone whom Mark Twain might regard as a fool and hence a danger to argue with, because no one can tell the difference. This is my personal judgment, but then I was asked for it. If this decision were marginal, (which it isn’t), small negative items like this could make an adverse difference. Again, I do not let this change my judgment but with the status of a D.Sc. from a University in the most ancient seat of learning in the world, Dr Ibrahim should be even more able to ignore those who are harmless, even if irritating for whatever reason. This is an area of weakness, although it lies outside the scope of the submitted material.

The list of publications presented in the essay did not follow current practice by giving the page span for each paper. This makes an impact, for instance in the case of the review paper in Rev Mod Phys which is 577–631, 55 pages of intense work. Therefore in the simple summary list, he undersells himself. I suggest that candidates are advised to follow this practice. Slightly weak.


Under all the headings I have considered, there is very strong or strong support to this case and the balance is heavily weighted towards recommending the award of this degree, which I do without hesitation. Although the work might not be stellar or spectacular, in the sense that the research could drive physics knowledge into completely new areas, Dr Ibrahim and his colleague have left their noticeable footprint in the field. They use sharp tools and carve their contribution I wish to emphasise that I would make the same assessment if the degree were to be awarded at my own or any other university and I have made the assessment on a globally level, international basis.

Dr Ibrahim is active in a research field that is international. I have judged him by international standards and he has passed the test.

Overall, my recommendation comes supported by the strength of the support provided by the material submitted which I found to be very strong. He is worthy of a D.Sc. degree at the home of Ptolemy, whose Universe lasted almost 2,000 years, unlike Einstein’s which lasted only a few decades.

Translate English to Arabic
محمد النشائى El Naschie Watch محمد النشائي El Naschie News محمد النشائى محمد النشائي All El Naschie All The Time محمد النشائى


  1. It could be possible that R. Marshall has some sort of relation with El naschie. It is out of the context that he mentioned El naschie in his evaluation for Tarek Ibrahim.

    One should check if R. Marshall published in CS&F, or if there was an interscettion between El naschie's and R. Marshall's world histories.
    The cross could be where El naschie was at Cambridge (The claimed position).

  2. R. Marshall never published in CS&F according to ScienceDirect. But there are scientists in Manchester university, department of theoretical physics, which means the same affiliation of R. Marshall, have been published in CS&F and further more cited the great man (El naschie).

    This could explain why R. Marshall is particularly concerned about El naschie.
    Chaotic streamlines and a strange nonchaotic attractor in divergence-free flows on the 3-sphere
    Mo-Zheng Wei and J.S. Dowker

    Department of Theoretical Physics, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
    Received 20 November 1992.
    Available online 24 July 2002.

    The authors cited El naschie 7 times!!!!!

  3. Zahy you are a wizard the way you come up with unexpected connections.

  4. Marshall still doesn't get it: the document was provided by Tarek Ibrahim himself and is (still) freely available on (I suppose) one of Tarek's pages. What is he going to do about that? Force Tarek to take it down and/or threaten "" with copyright issues?

    And I totally agree with Jason: there's no indication on the document that it's copyrighted or that the recipient (i.e. Tarek Ibrahim) is not allowed to divulge it publicly.

    P.S. Great job, Zahy!

  5. Yeah. Even if he takes it down, the cat's pretty much out of the bag at this point. :)

  6. Tarek's page is not working any more.

  7. Too late. Already part of El Naschie Watch archives. :D

  8. Yes, we removed it because you offended Prof Robin Marshall instead of extending your thank to his support for Dr. Tarek Ibrahim. This is not cool guys; we should be much smarter!


  9. In fact we removed all the documents, and you all now should apologize to Prof Robin Marshall. I already did. Thanks guys. aa

  10. Why did you apologize, aa? You didn't do anything.

  11. And how did we offend Prof. Marshall, aa? Maybe by finding his report on the internet and criticizing his "gentle view" in it about how a real scientist must behave with evident crackpots?

    As to your advice: we were smart enough to find a connection between Marshall and El Naschie. Should we be any smarter?

  12. If you want to fight superstition, ie Elnachaie, don't attack real scientists because your argument weakens as a result. And people will think you're a bunch of troubled kids with nothing better to do.

    Here is why I apologized, I thought you guys were Egyptians -it turned out you're not- So I was apologizing in behalf of Egyptians -or so I intended.

    You're wasting your time because after the Egyptian revolution, Elnachaie is no longer relevant. Real scientists are now shining. In other words you're squandering your precious time fighting a dead enemy! Who loses? And that's why you're not smart; rather genius! You should continue fighting.

    Anyway, I have a suggestion for you. There are a couple of jerks in Cairo and I need someone with plenty of time on their hands to badger them; can you help? You've got nothing to do; why not?


  13. Aab, what would you like us to do? Who needs badgering? You can email me if confidentiality is better at this stage.

    It's true El Naschie is less relevant than he used to be, but "no longer relevant" puts it too strongly. His loss of relevance is partly due to the revolution and partly due to the efforts of El Naschie Watch.

  14. ha ha ha

    You are the kids with issues. I'll let you fight the delusion in their heads. After all it is we who perceive certain ideas as dangerous warranting a serious fight, and allocate the time efforts and troops and walla. The magic all happens in the smart, sorry I mean the genius, skull of yours. I would say beat it and quit. If you really want to be "smart", go study physics :) or do what I previously proposed to annoy the two jerks living in Cairo since you've got nothing better to do. What say your smart cookies?

  15. No seriously guys ..I was just bothered that you targeted a good man like Robin and the proper thing to do was to remove his picture from your site and just be good people encouraging scientists to do science. That's all. And yes, you did really well to she the light on Elnachai's mystical whatever, but he is Gooooone!


  16. Two jerks living in Cairo? Said lives in 6th of October, Amr in Illinois and El Naschie in Surrey. I don't know what you're talking about.

  17. He isn't gone. There are sycophantic articles about him in Arabic Wikipedia, in, and many other places. He even has a faculty position in the U of Alexandria physics department.

  18. Not to mention, as Zahy discovered, a member of the U of Manchester physics department takes El Naschie seriously. He is far from gone.

  19. Jason

    I'm just curious really who is that member of U of Manchester physics department taking El Naschie seriously?

  20. aa, aab or simply Anonymous:

    you haven't answered my questions yet. Again: how did we offend Prof. Marshall? Maybe by finding his report on the internet and criticizing his "gentle view" in it about how a real scientist must behave with evident crackpots?

    As to your last funny comments:

    What makes you think we attack real scientists? Why do you apologize on behalf of Egyptians? Why do you think Marshall deserves an apology at all? Why do you think El Naschie is no longer relevant? Why don't you fight the mentioned jerks from Cairo yourself? Is it because you're closer to Illinois than Cairo at the moment? Are the folks at Nature and Prof. Arnold delusional about anything? Why do you think the creators and/or commenters of this blog lacks expertise in physics? How did you fail to discover the creator of this blog earned a PhD in pure mathematics? Aren't you smart enough? And how in the hell did you miss this post:

    Zahy finds a strange Marshall connection

    which answers your last question? Is it again because you're not smart enough? :D

  21. Dear folks, it is an assumption that I was offended. I wasn't and I certainly don't need an apology from anyone. And in any case I believe that it is a human right to be offensive when the need arises. I can be especially offensive but I save it for the deserving. I supplied a document for a certain purpose and I wrote it after considerable work. It is true that the document was made public and as far as copyright is concerned, there is no "copyright process" as such, anything written is the copyright of the author the moment it is written. You do not need to stamp it copyright as such, although some people do especially if they are concerned about losing income. Any public statements are free to be copied, that is the nature of life. It was a breach of courtesy, confidentiality and trust for anyone, and I mean anyone, to publish what was supplied in confidence (not in an e-mail) and it was a copyright infringement to copy it further after the original infringement. I am disappointed it happened but not offended. Yes it happens all the time, artistic work is widely pirated. It doesn't make it right. But I have the right to ask that material which I have written for one purpose is not published elsewhere especially where there is a history of friction between people and where what I have written gets used as ammunition in someone else's squabble.. I will do that even when it is likely that I shall be mocked. I did not seek a super-injunction, I just politely told the server operators that the document digitally signed by me was up without my permission, which I had the right to do, no matter what my motive. They did what was right.

    Stuart Dowker has been mocked here and he never hurt a fly in his life and as an honest scientist, does not deserve such mocking. I had no connexion with him apart from being paid by the same University for a few years. His work was almost on a different planet; hardly a single colleague understood it, certainly not me, but we respect him because he is an incredibly smart scientist.

    And I shall consider suing for libel if anyone suggests again that I live in Surrey. I am a Yorkshireman and I live in France. That makes the Surrey assumption especially libellous, even if not offensive.

    Now, can we move on? This is getting boring.



  22. Robin, thank you for commenting. Shrink was joking about Surrey because that's where El Naschie lives.

    One of my best old friends is a Yorkshireman, a mathematician, whom I met years ago in Edinburgh.

    You said "I believe that it is a human right to be offensive when the need arises" and I not only agree, it sounds like something I would say.

  23. Robin, your lawsuit threats are not a surprise at all (it was already clear that you urged scribd to remove the document).

    But it's just pathetic you are considering a libel lawsuit for a (clearly) joke statement. Anyway, I'm curious: under what jurisdiction would it be filed? Under UK jurisdiction? And why don't you consider libelous the "assumption" you're reading Arabic newspapers at breakfast? Isn't that more offensive than the place where you live "assumption"? LOL

  24. I am 97% sure Robin was kidding about a lawsuit, Shrink. The British are regionally chauvinistic but in a good-spirited humorous way. Robin as a Yorkshireman was only pretending to take offense at being accused of being from Surrey.

  25. It's a pity he didn't realize my comment was a joke as well.