Memoirs a Hayseed Physicist by Peter Martel

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 12.54.31 PMwith permission of the author.

Part 75:

It turned out that one of the referees refused to accept  our measurements because he/she had recently found that the shape and volume they determined in a dry single crystals by another method (x-ray diffraction) were not in agreement with ours. The type of measurements they’d done, employed a method devised by a Nobel laureate, called M.F Perutz, way back in the 1930’s. A large cabal of biophysicists have carried out measurements by Perutz’s method right up to the present day.

Advertisements

Memoirs of a Hayseed Physicist by Peter Martel

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 12.54.31 PMwith permission of the author.

Part 74:

On the other hand, the present refereeing system is not perfect by any means. It tends to be overly critical of new discoveries and new knowledge. As an example, I recall an experiment where I and my collaborators  had measured the shape and volume of a molecule caked transferrin, which transports iron in human blood. The technique we used was “small angle scattering”, which permitted measurements on dilute aqueous solutions of the molecule.

Memoirs of a Hayseed Physicist by Peter Martel

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 12.54.31 PMwith permission of the author.

Part 72:

A poor little nobody like me probably has more conventionally published papers than either of these competent physicists who have spent much of their time arguing with editors and referees. By going to Google and typing in “R.E. Pugh” one finds many important papers published in refereed journals like Physical Review . If one types in “P. Martel neutron” one finds many less important, refereed papers that will never shake the world of science.

Memoirs of a Hayseed Physicist by Peter Martel

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 12.54.31 PMwith permission of the author.

Part 71:

In reading Maguerijo’s book one learns that Maguerijo and Moffat were kindred spirits in that they had considerable difficulty in publishing their ingenious ideas. That is because papers submitted by conventional physicists have very little weight if they are not secretly refereed by several unidentified fellow physicists who are experts in the field.

Memoirs of a Hayseed Physicist by Peter Martel

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 12.54.31 PMwith permission of the author.

Part 70:

One of the areas of expertise that Professor Moffat specialized in was relativity as applied to the study of how the universe came into being and developed. In one of his studies he proposed that the speed of light has not always been the value it has today; in the early days of the universe it was different. I believe he said “slower”, according to the book by Magueijo cited earlier.   

Memoirs of a Hayseed Physicist by Peter Martel

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 12.54.31 PMwith permission of the author.

Part 69:

As a matter of fact many postgraduate candidates at Cambridge are often admitted to a special intellectual group called “wranglers”. These sharp wits spend most of their time arguing like sophists. Needless to say, they do not very often achieve greatness of the type necessitated by hard work.

Memoirs of a Hayseed Physicist by Peter Martel

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 12.54.31 PMwith permission of the author.

Part 68:

The thing is that by the time you reach the end of your Ph.D. research at Cambridge your intellectual powers have been stringently checked.You may know as much physics as a graduate from M.I.T. (where you must pass many advanced graduate courses)  but your prowess for incisive thinking is beyond doubt.

Memoirs of a Hayseed Physicist by Peter Martel

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 12.54.31 PMwith permission of the author.

Part 67: 

When these three giants of physics and cosmology decided amongst themselves that Mr. Moffat deserved a Ph.D, the powers that be at Cambridge acquiesced.This was not an extremely unusual event I have even heard of Ph.D. candidates at Cambridge who were examined by a selected expert in their field of research with their supervisor the only witness present.

Memoirs of a Hayseed Physicist by Peter Martel

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 12.54.31 PMwith permission of  the author.

Part 66:

On recently reading a book by Joao Maguerijo entitled Faster Than The Speed Of Light, I learned that Mr. Moffat did actually have a Ph.D. in physics from Cambridge. According to Dr. Maguerijo, Dr. Moffat had been accepted into the Ph.D. program at Cambridge on the basis of his profound knowledge of physics acquired without even going through the baccalaureate stage. He was “adopted” by three of the most prestigious profs at Cambridge who proposed him for a Ph.D. The three profs in question were D. Schiama, Fred Hoyle and A. Salam, either Nobel laureates or at the very least, candidates for the honour.