Monday, March 2, 2009

Dark Matter?

Every time I read back over my list of publications, I am struck by how most of the good ones seem to have sunk without a trace. Most of the ones where I thought I had discovered something interesting and novel about the universe, or had hit upon an interesting and novel way of looking at something we already knew about, have very few citations, or none at all. Perhaps I should do a series of posts on my top five papers with no non-author citations? Hmm, I have been neglecting this blog lately, and a theme like that might help.

Anyway, a few years ago a colleague gave me a weighty chapter he had written, entitled A Quantum Approach to Dark Matter, which I was slack (It is 63 pages long) and never got around to reading (It *is* 63 pages long). Remembering it today, I thought I would first check to see what other people thought of it- I am a mere chemist, and can only identify very dubious theoretical physics as dubious at a glance. I found my colleague had four published articles in the area over the past half-decade, and none of them had been cited at all. This is a tragedy. It is dreadful to spend years wrestling with an idea, to hone and shape it into a form you think is fit to present to the world, expound it with all the energy and clarity at your command, shepherd it into print, and then see it be ignored completely. Hence, I thought I would put a link to the chapter here. And I really will read it myself, I promise. And put an ignorant chemist's critique here on the web, at the very least, so Google can find it.

1 comment:

Chris Fellows said...

Well, I did read through it, but I still can't think of any intelligent comments to make. The basic idea is that bound gravitational quantum states with very high values of n - sort of galaxy-sized molecules - provide the hidden mass.

And I may have been overstating the case with my own work- there aren't many at all without any non-author citations, except the ones that are rubbish. The only two that leap out at me are:

“Reactivity of Maleic Anhydride toward the 1-Phenylethyl Radical”
C. M. Fellows and E. Senogles, Eur. Polym. J., 34(9), 1249-1254 (1998)

...which I think can be attributed in large part to my inexperience in that stage in abstract writing, since the abstract doesn't mention 'alternating copolymerisation' or 'styrene', making it hard for people interested in styrene/maleic anhydride copolymerisation to find.


“Molecular weight distributions of poly(vinyl neo-decanoate) formed at low conversions”
R. Balic, C. M. Fellows and A. M. van Herk, Macromolecular Research, 12, 4, 325-335 (2004)

...where my role was chiefly in shepherding Rob's work toward publication, and perhaps I should have been less timid and tried for a higher profile journal. Macromolecular Research *does* have a decent impact factor, but I don't know how widely it is read outside of Korea- and I can't think of anyone working on fundamental free-radical polymerisation kinetics in Korea.