Fringe Physicists

May 8, 2012

Somewhere in the United States today, an envelope will arrive at a university math or science department, and in it will be some person's paradigm-shattering idea -- a novel theory that drastically violates or disrupts settled science.

The world is full of outsider physicists and rouge mathematicians. And, of course, one or two of them are basically correct about something. Einstein worked in a patent office. Michael Faraday did not have a university degree.

This topic hits close to home for me because my father -- who had dropped out of the University of Chicago as a young man -- decided much later in life that he had an aptitude for math and that he had succeeded in disproving Godel's Incompleteness Theorem. He was terribly worried that the world would never understand this. He periodically gave me copies of his proof, in case he was hit by a truck. He's gone now. I'm not sure I still have any of those copies.

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