Sunday, November 02, 2008


JSH: How village idiots took over number theory

If you've followed the discussion at all where I've been arguing with sci.math'ers where things have now degenerated down to who introduced various terminology when, you may wonder how can such stupid people have killed a freaking math journal and blocked a major research result for years. Well I'm going to raise the stakes for you by showing how my research impacts physics and specifically materials science (and you may understand a wry joke) more directly.

Turns out I worked as a health physicist while in the U.S. Army so I have worked as a physicist though I only had a B.Sc. which is one of those great things about the military, you can work a job for which in the civilian world you'd be required to have a higher educational level. My official title was Nuclear Medical Science Officer.

In any event at one point I wondered if modern problem solving techniques might be useful against hard math problems with enough history that people might be in a rut following what was done before so I wanted to start from scratch. Yes it was arrogant but I was a young hotshot lieutenant. Why shouldn't I be arrogant?

And I picked TWO PROBLEMS. Not one. I picked TWO PROBLEMS.

I picked the spherical packing problem, and Fermat's Last Theorem.

The truly bizarre part of this story is, I solved them both.

I found simpler solutions for both, where I found the spherical packing problem solution, FIRST.

Google, in quotes: "spherical packing problem"

Then you can read my solution, or what I remember of it, as that was back in 1996. Over 12 years ago.

The approach I used could revolutionize materials science allowing scientists to kind of dial-up compounds and substances of whatever structure they wish and mathematically test for stability, and properties, from the computer.

It may be one of the greatest advances in human knowledge, ever.

So what happened to the mathematical field that such research could be blocked as they blocked my spherical packing problem solution FIRST, and instead trumpeted a complex claim of proof to the problem that I think may still be being checked by computer scientists looking over output from a complex computer program meant to solve it?

Here's the best explanation: after Gauss with gaussian integers, mathematicians came across the idea of using monic polynomials with integer coefficients, which they called algebraic integers.

Seemed like a good idea but the ring has a subtle flaw, which if you do not know it exists allows you to convincingly appear to prove things mathematically not true.

Maybe good mathematicians felt something was wrong, but the error allowed MORE people into the field who clearly did not. As time went by, a critical mass developed of people with no real mathematical ability, able to "prove" things completely false because of the subtle error.

Over a hundred years went by.

Today the mathematical field is overtaken by people who do not know how to really do mathematics.

The village idiots took over number theory because of this subtle error, which is why what they call "pure math" has never, and will never, be useful, for physicists.

It's not pure. It's just wrong.

They've moved from the mathematical field to trying to take over the physics field, which is why "string theory" is all the rage. If they succeed there can be a lot more "physicists", but what they do will be wrong, but they will deny it, like the "mathematicians" do today.

The village idiots took over number theory, and they're coming for the physics field next.

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