I just got this scary notice from Scribd:
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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.
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.
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.