Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How a Fake Word From The Simpsons Ended Up in a Perfectly Cromulent String Theory Paper

It is no secret that I'm not a fan of how String Theory is done. To me, it is more hype than substance. Still, even I didn't realize this. It seems that a made-up word from one of the episodes of the Simpsons made it into a String Theory paper. The word in question is "embiggen". If your spell checker didn't like it, it is with good reason since the word doesn't exist.

Still, it didn't prevent some string theorists from using it in their paper. What were the referees doing? Snoring through the paper? But then again, considering that a "paper" in String Theory probably means uploading it onto the e-print ArXiv, there were no referees and no journal editor to actually monitor such quality control issues. And considering that none of these things can be verified to be correct or valid in the first place, what difference does it make if the paper is full of made-up words?

I don't know about you, but this whole thing can't be a positive image for String Theory.



Anonymous said...

appears to be all in good fun:


ZapperZ said...

Yeah, I'm beginning to agree with that. After re-reading it a bit, this could easily be an April Fool's joke.