Sunday, March 10, 2013

Failure in physics

There is a great article in the New York Times about the trial of the theoretical physicist Paul Frampton. He was arrested in Buenos Aires with a suitcase with cocaine hidden in it

Although it could be that he was very naive and  stupid to try to a take a suitcase from a stranger on a plane. He gives the impression of being unworldly, but the text messages showed he knew more about the drugs than he claimed. Also, doesn't he have a credit card? He didn't seem to be able to pay for his airfare home.

He has written a lot of papers, but in the news paper article he notes that he has not managed to predict anything that exists, so he will not get a Nobel prize unless that happens. Given that the LHC has not found any evidence for BSM physics so far, there will be many Profs in the same situation.

It is a bit sad that at 68 he wants a family.

I remember watching a film based on Chekhov's the cherry orchard or perhaps it was Uncle Vanya.
Here is a great summary of the end of an academic career.  There was an even better speech about the Professor character that dripped even more of failure.