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An Odd Paper?

Nanoparticles came up around here the other day, and now a reader sends along a new paper in the field that’s. . .a bit odd. Maybe more than a bit.

It’s been accepted at ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, and you have to wonder what the referee reports were like. It’s titled “Earthicle: The Design of a Conceptually New Type of Particle” which is admittedly no stranger than a lot of other chemical titles, but the abstract then goes on for about as long as a blog post – it is, I think, the longest one I’ve ever seen, and it just keeps on scrolling down the page. Fine, you think, this is apparently a paper about multilayered nanoparticles with an iron core, and the authors are drawing an analogy with the layering and composition of the Earth.

But then you start reading the body of the paper, and here’s how that goes:

“As above, so below”, Hermes Trismegistus inscribed on a piece of emerald stone known as Tabula Smaragdina five millennia ago, defining the central motto of alchemists all the world over. Correspondingly, the idea of a direct correlation between microcosmic and macrocosmic relationships inspired the experimentation of chemists before the days of atomistic empiricism to a great extent. Albeit largely neglected in the present times, here we wish to revitalize it. . .

Alchemy. OK, Newton went in for it, as John Maynard Keynes discovered to his consternation when he read a collection of Newton’s papers from his Cambridge years that had been mostly sealed until 1936. But it’s unusual, to say the least, to lead off a materials science paper with a nod to Hermes Trismegistus. The rest of the intro is a bit-odd sounding as well (Kipling gets brought in as well), but then there’s the experimental section and the results section, which are more reassuring. Here are multilayered iron/silicate particle, sure enough, and here’s how you make them and here’s how they behave. Fine. Their physical properties are described, with a good amount of analytical data, and then their effects when different cell lines are exposed to them are shown, in rather detailed fashion.

I did wonder, while reading, why this much trouble was being taken – “What’s the hypothesis here?” was the question in the back of my mind. As it turns out, there isn’t one:

Like most scientific ideas of the present and past, the idea of the earthicle was derived by pure analogy. The path we took to implement this idea contravenes the standard approach in the development of medicinal nanoparticles, which is to define the clinical needs first and then accordingly design the particle structure and properties to address those needs. To that end, reverting the paradigm, we have worked on creating a particulate system based on a fancy idea, anticipating the inevitability of its therapeutic potentials. The future work will explore the latter to a greater detail. For now, we have simply played, believing that imaginative play devoid of purpose is a path to findings of unforeseeable practicality. 

“The inevitability of its therapeutic potentials”? I’ve set up some fairly blue-sky experiments in my time, but I never thought that they were inevitably going to lead to something because my starting idea was so neat. The head-scratching intensifies as the paper winds up:

To sum up, here we pioneer the idea of an earthicle, a conceptually novel type of particle, which we see as endlessly modifiable in analogy with the structure of planets or other astral bodies and utilizable in unforeseen applicative contexts. At this point we stand at the earliest beginnings of the development of the idea of the earthicle, having merely conceived it and made a couple of rudimentary steps toward its synthesis. As of now, for example, we have yet to derive conditions under which uniform populations of earthicles in a sample will be obtained. In that sense, there is a stochastic similarity between the formation of earthicles in our three-neck flask reactors and the formation of earth-like planets in the Milky Way and perhaps elsewhere in the Universe, albeit with a greater synthesis efficacy of the former process. The goal of the future work will be to improve the uniformity of the yield, elucidate the physical and biological effects of the fine structural differences at a single particle level and test the capacity of the earthicle to be used as an ultimate drug delivery vehicle – a multimodal, navigable, theranostic “spaceship” for the next generation of nanoscale biodevices.

This is starting to cross over into worrisome territory. Your manuscript should not, as a rule, be hard to distinguish from the work of someone who is beginning to lose their grip on reality. This may be enthusiastic prose, or it may be something else, and that’s the problem with including so many flights of fancy. At the very least, it can give your readers a reason not to take you seriously. I’d be interested in hearing reader reactions: am I overreacting, or not?

88 comments on “An Odd Paper?”

  1. Madicinal Chemist says:

    good googly moogly…

  2. MoMo says:

    Ye Gods! Break out the tin foil and colander hats. And its Great Googly Moogly. If you are going to quote Frank Zappa, get it right.

    1. Madicinal Chemist says:

      Who is Frank Zappa?

      1. Chairman Mao says:

        Only the greatest and most talented rock musician that ever lived. GTS, or Google that sh$%, as you blastulas with lips say.

        1. Me says:

          Lest you get a visit from Billy The Mountain

          1. William Martin says:

            Ethel was a tree growing off of his shoulder

        2. NJBiologist says:

          “Blastulas with lips”? I am plagiarizing the hell out of that.

        3. Vuk Uskokovic says:

          Hail to Frank Zappa. Not that I think that my eloquence and success in conceptually questioning one’s art are close to his, but the fact that a connection has been made is itself gratifying and motivating.

    2. R Gould-Saltman says:

      It’s not Zappa’s, originally. IT’s in Langston Hughes, as early as one of the “Simple” books, and before that, it’s in Howlin’ Wolf’s “Goin’ Down Slow”.

  3. SirWired says:

    The only way this makes any sense at all is if it were in the April Issue with a stern warning at the top that it is only to be read on April 1st.

  4. John Wayne says:

    I’m surprised the author didn’t mention that you can create a whole universe of diverse nanoplanets in the lab, then explore them without having to worry about the delays of traveling at the speed of light. Bazinga.

    1. Richard says:

      Maybe this could be a breakthrough for battery technique. Or did nobody ask for a Microverse?
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_CyMqQBO8w

    2. Vuk Uskokovic says:

      I do mention that other planets and astral bodies in general could be used as models for nanoparticles toward the end of the paper, if I remember correctly, but I did not go as far as to hypothesize about the little probable defiance of one of the basic premises of the relativity principle. Still, as crazy as it seems, I would not count against its being a productive analogy for someone else.

  5. Mad Chemist says:

    Yoda! They seek Yoda!!!!
    “Dangerous and disturbing, this is.”

    1. myma says:

      you meant to say “Yoda, they seek”.

      1. Vader says:

        If Yoda so strong in the Force is, then why in the right order can he not his words put?

    1. Vuk Uskokovic says:

      It’s like in the story about the Little Prince: only the thinnest surface about a human being can be scraped off the CVs. If you wish to dig deeper into my world, my critical reviews, scientific research articles and books, some of which can be found at uskokovic.yolasite.com, can be a better starting point.

  6. Uncle Al says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01NO-0lASUw
    …Ellen Ripley commenting upon Liberal Arts’ operative relevance to science.

    https://netwar.wordpress.com/2007/07/03/feminist-epistemology/
    …Consider the alternative.

  7. Druid says:

    The sad thing about this is its lack of novelty (other than the Xmas cracker variety). Iron-silica and graphitic core-shell nanoparticles have been around for a few years as has magnetic hyperthermal cell death. You might be surprised how many centers are working on similar things. If anything about this is new, it is the “pyrolysis of citric acid in the solution”. The apparently random cytotoxicity is not new.

    1. Vuk Uskokovic says:

      Literature surveys we conducted as a part of this study did not show any prior reports of these exact core/double-shell particles composition-wise, meaning iron core, silica/silicate shell and carbon crust. You seem to be breaking down this composite particle into components and arguing that there is nothing novel about them. If that is so, then countless groups’ works on composite nanoparticles can be classified as insufficiently innovative just because they utilize familiar individual components. This is not to say that the research of already reported compositions in new synthesis and characterization regimens is not innovative per se. One of our other main projects in the lab aims at exactly that: trying to take on a material that has been in use for centuries and discover what subtle tweaking of its structure and/or composition can do and how we could harness these new properties for various medical ends.

  8. Isidore says:

    I am very disappointed with the reviewers: Hermes Trismegistus was likely a fictional character and the Tabula Smaragdina, if it did exist at all, was written in the second century AD, not five millennia ago. These are factual errors that should have been pointed out.

    1. tangent says:

      As shown by philological analysis in the 17th century! Ya gotta cite Isaac Casaubon here.

  9. Wavefunction says:

    Clearly we all misunderstand this paper: It’s meant to be literary, not scientific.

    1. tangent says:

      Sculpture. It is quite literally a sculptor’s work (a highly modern sculptor granted).

      If you squint a lot, it’s not different in principle than a chemistry paper showing that you can synthesize a macrocycle tied in a trefoil knot. More beautiful than practical. They’re both molecular sculpture. The difference is a matter of artistic taste, the trefoil knot is better.

      Now whether this was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts I doubt…

  10. MoMo says:

    The ACS is wasting our time and money again. The slow death spiral of the once great Institution continues.

    1. anon the II says:

      Those were my same thoughts. There are now tons of ACS journals and, of course, by appealing to the fringe, you bring out the fringe. There are now some 60+ odd journals published by ACS. Why is there an ACS journal on infectious disease? Shouldn’t somebody else be doing that? Let’s face it, ACS is a publishing house that has conned a bunch of people into sending it their money so they can still feel part of some tribe. I send them my money every year. I belong. And I’d be outraged if Elsevier sent me a bill just to keep calling myself a chemist. Amazing! Sad!

      1. SSG says:

        Bull’s eye! Result of mindless proliferation of journals and hence accumulation of fly-by-the-night type of research to fill up the number of papers required to complete an issue. Just check how many journals ACS has now on the theme “Nano”. ACS Infectious Diseases has barely half-dozen papers per issue in its 3rd year. Since academic research is still a public funded domain, publishing houses are making merry funnelling tax-payers money to their kitty via bozo-research.
        My two cents: Fire the Editor/Assoc Editor for entertaining this day dreaming article.
        The current issue of Angew now has an Editorial raising serious concerns on the viability and reproducibility of nanomaterials in drug delivery research http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201709002/full
        Have anyone reproduced any nanomaterial? Everyone seems to have his own nanomaterial.
        About time they have a Nanomaterial Synthesis patterned after Organic Synthesis.

        1. Vuk Uskokovic says:

          I do equally disapprove of the predominant publication model of the day and many of its quirks, including its financial aspects and the blind peer review, but science would benefit more from “firing” the editors who enforce conformity and stylistic uniformity across a discipline rather than those who are willing to publish bold ideas, even though they may not be technically smooth. The problem of reproducibility is immense and it will become ever more critical as we descend deeper into the nano realm and I wrote about it in one of my prior reviews (e.g., Challenges for the Modern Science in its Descend towards Nano Scale, Current Nanoscience 5 (3) 372 – 389 (2009)).

  11. TMS says:

    The abstract is the longest I can remember reading.

  12. tt says:

    Wow…is there a correlation between this paper and the legalization of weed in CA (or maybe he’s just really into Iowaska ceremonies). I’ve certainly seen many egregious examples of academic “salesmanship” and hype, but this one takes it to a whole new level (or plane of existence).

    1. Mad Chemist says:

      Yeah, I’ve got to agree that the authors were smoking something. . .

    2. Augusto Cesar Lobo says:

      What is an Iowaska ceremony? Something to do with the good state of Iowa?

      1. Pennpenn says:

        If I was being un-fun I’d say it was probalby supposed to be “Ayahuasca” ceremony.

    3. Vuk Uskokovic says:

      If this was supposed to mean that the train of thought in this paper is quirky, otherworldly or plainly crazy, I would take it as a compliment. Wasn’t Albert Einstein the one who criticized a student for his ideas not being “crazy enough”? I think we forget today that creativity and craziness are delicately entwined.

      1. Pennpenn says:

        Some crazy is good, but it’s a fine balancing act. Too much and you just get completely disconnected from reality and end up spouting gibberish.

  13. Billy says:

    Thanks for sharing, Derek. I guess everyone’s looking for their 10s of fame and you probably gotta make a lot of stuff up when you work at Chapman, in the shadow of real universities (e.g., Caltech).

    1. Vuk Uskokovic says:

      It is always saddening to hear of a bias against certain entities solely based on the soundness of their names. I wonder how many people are being disparaged or put aside just because of the superficial reasoning like this. Isn’t it unfair? Why do we, as scientists, who should give other professions the example of deep and comprehensive reasoning, engage in such surface evaluations, measuring the quality of one’s work using such shallow criteria as the workplace reputation, a PhD institution name, a postdoc advisor’s name, the journal impact factors, et cetera?

    2. Vicente Marvin says:

      I would study activation of sympathetic nervous system in humans when they utter names like Caltech, Harvard, Berkeley out loud. I think they get a little jolt of pleasure which turns into an overwhelming fountain of bliss if they ever were affiliated with any of the institutions.

  14. Wile E. Coyote, Genius says:

    Yeah, I don’t know about this either. Sounds like a risky proposition as a therapeutic agent. Since it is an extrapolation from the macrocosmic to the microcosmic, does it undergo earthicle warming, and would that induce uncontrolled fever in a patient?

    1. Vuk Uskokovic says:

      I like this global warming parallel, especially in the context of hyperthermia as one of the intended applications for these particles.

  15. Isidore says:

    You’ve got to give them credit for their candor, though. Unlike many who stumble into something and then make up some rationale for their discovery, usually with some therapeutic consideration, and pretend that that was their well thought out plan all along, these people did this work just because they felt like it and are making no bones about it.

    1. Pennpenn says:

      Being determined to wear your pants on your head doesn’t make it any less undignified.

  16. Me says:

    All the way through I was giving them the benefit of the doubt….’it’s basic science’…’they’re seeding the area’ etc. But the last bit, i.e. ‘we can’t reproduce our results’…..?!?

    To heck with the journals, if ACS didn’t publish it, it would end up in some other gutter-trash journal.

    Who on Earth (real one, not nano) PAID for this research?!?

    1. Ken says:

      Yes, that’s a very very important question. Someone willing to shell out dollars for this can probably be hit up – er, approached for funding – for other projects.

    2. Bob Michaelson says:

      “Who on Earth (real one, not nano) PAID for this research?!?”
      From the acknowledgement in the full paper:
      “Acknowledged for funding are the intramural UIC funds and the NIH grant R00-DE021416.”
      (Uskokovic was an Assistant Professor at UIC before moving to Chapman University, also as an Assistant Professor).
      The grant doesn’t seem to mention “Earthicle” or his analogy. Of course research often goes in unexpected directions, but what is expected is that the researcher arrives at some interesting results before publishing, which isn’t the case here, I think.

      1. Vuk Uskokovic says:

        Majority of funding for this study was graciously provided by the University of Illinois at Chicago. My lab had a wonderful time being a part of its department of bioengineering for two and a half years. We, however, used lots of equipment provided to us through the mentioned NIH grant, so I acknowledged the active federal support as well in this study.

  17. It might be a little nutty, but I think it’s also a bit refreshing to see someone admitting to using metaphors and analogies in their research. Surely you (for pretty much all values of you) do that a bit more than you care to admit?

    Surely there’s a bit of “well, it’s sort of poetically similar to that so maybe..” and then when it works, you do a bit of back patching to make your reasoning sound more rational? Just now and then?

    1. Vuk Uskokovic says:

      Of course, admitting to the use of analogy is still a heresy in science, even though we know that some of the most groundbreaking ideas, from Cartesian coordinates to Bohr’s model of the atom to theory of relativity to Tesla’s electromotor and so on, were derived through analogies with real-life phenomena as well as that “logic alone could never create anything”, if I were to paraphrase Henri Poincare.

  18. dearieme says:

    Kipling was rather good on Materials.

    http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_strain.htm

  19. me says:

    I enjoyed it. I would prefer more of this than the equally useless but traditionally snooze-worthy nanoparticle paper we’ve all seen a thousand of.

    That said, I don’t think we need more of either. Just to say that I don’t think this is evidence of post-modern feminism destroying our scientific institutions as some posters above would have you believe.

    Look at Woodward’s papers. His language was similarly bizarre by today’s standard (albeit the ideas were more mainstream).

    1. tlp says:

      well that’s _maybe_ because mainstream picked up his ideas

    2. Vuk Uskokovic says:

      I also prefer reading papers that excite the fancy and spark imagination over papers that are dull and prosaic and that are, stylistically and methodologically, indistinguishable clones of each other. However, the latter present the great majority of papers in any natural science field today. Still, science evolves through questioning the dominant practices and styles, but then again most scientist unquestioningly embrace them, which is a paradox that must be dealt with at many different levels, one of which includes the form of expression, be it in “technical” journals, conferences, blogs, etc. Otherwise, a metalogical fallacy is committed if we talk about creativity using a language that is all but creative (not saying that I am not committing this fallacy right now). Through these aspirations to create something that inspires, alongside being practically significant, and to provide an impetus for the revitalization of scientific thought at the level of the form of expression is how this study came to life.

  20. Hobbes says:

    I’m a design engineer, and as much as I learn from you, I’m only enough of a chemist to make a baking soda volcano… But this made me wonder if the authors made this as a practical joke…

  21. tlp says:

    I think it’s just a professor – a hobbyist fiction writer (and a composer!) – having fun. Don’t take it literally.
    http://uskokovic.yolasite.com/

    1. Vuk Uskokovic says:

      I agree, don’t take me literally. Let us not take anything literally, in fact. Everything is an analogy as well as the result of a partially subjective construction of meaning, implying that nothing is, really, the way that it appears to our senses. For more elaborate critiques of objectivism (and solipsistic idealism too), one is directed to my books and philosophical articles.

  22. Sophist says:

    I sincerely hope that the patent applications were timely filed to avoid the prior art effect of this disclosure!!

  23. Druid says:

    It is easy to sneer, but (aside from the paper in question) there are theory and practice behind this technology. Ferromagnetic iron nanoparticles will penetrate cells and in a 1MHz alternating magnetic field they will generate heat inside cells. The iron is unstable unless protected with a silica, graphite/ene or polymer coat. This much is known. All that remains is to: show that they can be manufactured to GMP standards, injected safely into a patient, find their way unerringly and completely to a solid tumor, the location of which is so well known that a coil can be placed directly over it for the alternating magnetic field to do its work of heating the tumor to death without any colateral damage to healthy tissue. Around the world, there must be 100+ research groups (almost all academic) trying to do the same thing. In the world of nanomedicines, so many teams have piled into the field that they are all infringing each others IP and have no freedom to operate. Funding will dry up eventually and there will be little to show for the expenditure unless some of the players forget the science/technology and work together on a better business model. The science/technology cannot fail – there is always something to publish – but at present the business cannot win.

    1. Vuk Uskokovic says:

      As a matter of fact, the silica deposition step has oxidized a portion of iron in our systems, so its protective effect can be questioned. In our modified method, which we currently investigate, we move to a less geomimetic system, using maghemite core instead of zero-valent iron. The particles live less up to their original analogy with the Earth, but they do have significantly better magnetic properties. We have considered trying to tweak the silica deposition step so as to preserve the zero-valent character of iron, but we believe that this would require more robust processes and technologies than those that my lab currently has access to.

  24. ANtibac says:

    Notice that he is not listed as a faculty at UIC but puts that association on the manuscript!!

    1. Vuk Uskokovic says:

      Here’s the reason: every experiment reported in this study was performed at UIC and current criteria dictate that the author’s affiliation on a paper is the institution at which at least a portion of the work has been done by the given author. If an affiliation should be questioned, it should be Chapman’s, but since the paper was written during my appointment with Chapman, it made sense to include my present institution too.

  25. Electrochemist says:

    Maybe it was ghost written by Archimedes Plutonium?

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      You’re showing your age, at least in Internet Years!

    2. Anonymous says:

      You beat me to it. One just needs to make some Pu-231. Then, according to Plutonium Atom Totality, you do not merely have the whole world in your hand, you have the whole universe in your hand.

      Someone posted RIP. I find no reference to the passing of Archimedes Plutonium. Is he no longer with us?

      When Alexander Abian (who promoted time – mass equivalence) passed away in 1999, his death was observed with a gram of silence.

      1. tangent says:

        Apologies, I confused the two of them.

        (In checking that, I found that Robert “UN-altered REPRODUCTION and DISSEMINATION of this IMPORTANT Information is ENCOURAGED” McElwaine died in 2008.)

    3. Vuk Uskokovic says:

      This is a funny remark. Although as a philosopher I do ask myself how real is real, every person who worked on this study, be it included among the authors or acknowledged in the acknowledgment section, is classifiable as a real, tangible human being. You can talk to them, you can touch them, hug them, spin them around, anything you can do to any other living creature.

  26. milkshake says:

    as long as their nanoparticles rhyme with popsicles and testicles, they are inevitably therapeutic. I think it is a prank or a bet among the authors that they can get it published with Hermes Trismegistus complete with a piece of emerald stone known as Tabula Smaragdina

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      I thought of that one. It’s not quite to that point, but you wonder, after a few more years. . .?

    2. Uncle Al says:

      A good idea need only be testable and not contradict prior good observations. It is believable afterward. 21st century social justice discards “testable” in favor of “natural, elegant, beautiful” as in 50 years and over a million pages of quantum gravitation and SUSY, all of it being empirically sterile.

      Physics can crawl up its own distal vent to few others’ displeasure. JACS’ years of stupid DNA tricks were mostly harmless. Pushing false pharma (holistic cancer clinics) or withholding real pharma (terbinafine; topical aqueous micelled lanosterol uncreating cataracts) hurts or kills people. That is not social intent olly olly oxen free.

    3. tangent says:

      I wonder if Erik Andrulis ended up okay. I don’t see any publications since 2012, one patent but that could have been in the pipe for years.

      He seems to have rather changed his look since his photo in Google Scholar.
      https://joindiaspora.com/people/cd769be60d2aa257

  27. Ted says:

    Finally, a homeland for the NanoPutians…

    -t

  28. Barry says:

    Sounds more like mercury poisoning than cannabis intoxication. Right up Newton’s alley.

  29. J Severs says:

    I loved “utilizable in unforeseen applicative contexts”. I read this as “We don’t know what it does, but it is gonna be great!” If I wrote grant applications (which I do not), then I would definitely include this in the next one.

  30. Derek Freyberg says:

    “Your current credentials do not allow retrieval of the full text.”
    Pity, as I was hoping to amuse (or horrify) myself by reading more; but I’m not going to pay fo the privilege.

    1. Vuk Uskokovic says:

      There is a free copy on my private webpage, uskokovic.yolasite.com, if you wish to read it.

  31. HaRRyDoGs says:

    It’s refreshing to see someone not thinking outside the box but not seeing the box in their thinking in the first place. Would like to see a follow-up.

    1. Vuk Uskokovic says:

      In one of his latest works, Wittgenstein correctly recognized that perfect doubt, meaning doubt freed from any solid presuppositions, is impossible and that questions can be asked only on the basis of specific answers presupposed. In other words, one must confine oneself to a box in order to question some other boxes and think outside their limits. Or, I might say that one must agree to limits to push some other limits. This echoes this beautiful line from Kahlil Gibran: ‘Your freedom when it loses its fetters becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom’.

  32. Milosz says:

    Hmm
    Does the paper properly cite

    The Outer Limits S2:E8, 11-7-1964 “Wolf 359” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0667852/

  33. FastAsPossible says:

    What’s the surprise here? This sort of nonsense has been received with reverential head nodding over in the social science herds for decades.

  34. Paul van den Bergen says:

    if you take all the mumbo jumbo out, is there anything left? Is it new? does it contribute to the sum of human knowledge and extend the frontiers of science?

    for what it’s worth, not having a hypothesis isn’t in and of itself a deadly failing…. stamp collecting is still a vital tool in the pursuit of knowledge, but it’s usually practices when you don’t know what the hell is going on…

    There is also a good case to be made that replicating techniques (I wanted to practice making multi-layered nanoparticles to see how they work out) is also a legitimate technique, and should be worthy of publication, but for other reasons…

    so what does the mumbo jumbo add up to? advertising? window dressing? clickbait?

    1. Vuk Uskokovic says:

      I do hear these positivistic calls for prosaic, purely technical and heartlessly mechanized scientific presentations, but what my lab strives to do is to counter these calls and produce something on the diametrically opposite side of the spectrum – something poetic, something proving that expensive techniques matter not if you nest great ideas inside you and something that has a heart and is not a machine, that is, something that trips and falls every once in a while. This paper is in some respects a testimony to these ideals.

  35. MrRogers says:

    How long until this paper is cited in advertising for a nonsense cancer cure.

  36. David Edwards says:

    Is this the nano-materials field’s own Sokal?

    1. Vuk Uskokovic says:

      No, this paper has nothing in common with Alan Sokal’s Social Text hoax. One can say that it does question some of the stale aspects of the current state of affairs in natural sciences, but it does so by providing a veritable account of an attempt to create something innovative and potentially of lifesaving importance.

  37. Vuk Uskokovic says:

    Dear Derek, this thread was brought to my attention today and since I am the first author and the conceptual creator of this study, I feel I should clarify some of the claims made in the earlier comments. I do not remember that I have ever left a comment on any blog before and I have so far limited my opinions regarding my or other people’s works to either published articles or my books, which someone gave link to earlier, so I am not very accustomed to the style with which this is to be done. In any case, I am flattered that this study has caught the eye of the public as well as that it has been garnering mixed reviews – a very optimistic sign.

    It is understandable that people who may have devoted their entire lives to following a particular paradigm may feel threatened or disillusioned by works like this, works that aspire to be both artistic and scientific in nature and that aim at satisfying different conceptual purposes. However, this work illustrates the direction in which I believe science should grow and will grow, that is, away from the track that it is currently on, where it moves toward becoming ever more industrialized in mindset, and back to its Renaissance roots. Perhaps this work is a radical way of announcing the necessity for science to realign its course with indie zeitgeist or else all these ancient qualities that scientific creativity has benefitted from throughout the history, from imagination to artistic senses, are bound to be put to sleep. This is, of course, not to say that this work does not satisfy a practical purpose – it does report on a material that, we believe, has a huge practical potential. The reason why we report on it is because we believe that people will pick up on the idea and perfect it or branch it out in one of many potential directions of growth that are mentioned in the conclusions section. If we wanted to pioneer the concept itself, we may not have published this in such a format at all. But here we openly provide steps made in the attempt to produce a particle designed based on an intriguing analogy. We report steps where we failed and steps where we succeeded and all this information may be essential to other scientists in the field who may wish to work on refining this concept. This is a brief description of the basis of this study, both conceptual and methodological, and only time will tell if it made sense.

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