Sunday, July 15, 2007

Documenting an Article I Published on Usenet on 30 September 2002

I have been informed that it would be a good idea for me to document the following entry I made to usenet discussion forums on 30 September 2002, which I ask my readers to verify and record at:

My article of 30 September 2002 stated:

From: (Christopher Jon Bjerknes)
Newsgroups: sci.physics,sci.physics.relativity,sci.math,
Date: 30 Sep 2002 18:08:53 -0700
Lines: 71
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
X-Trace: 1033434533 3160 (1 Oct 2002 01:08:53 GMT)
NNTP-Posting-Date: 1 Oct 2002 01:08:53 GMT

I have written to Dr. Corry, Dr. Renn and Dr. Stachel, co-authors of
the article; "Belated Decision in the Hilbert-Einstein Priority
Dispute", _Science_ Volume 278, (14 November 1997), pp. 1270-173;
asking each:

"Would you please state for the record why you elected to avoid
mention of the fact in your above referenced article in the journal
'Science' that this document, Doc. Ms. D. Hilbert 634, is in an
incomplete copy, which has been mutilated at some point in its history
to remove the upper portion of one sheet, thereby removing the printed
matter atop printed pages 7 and 8, and with it, equation (17)?"

Dr. Stachel has since responded. He confirms that document 634 has
been mutilated at some point in its history--he knows not when. His
explanation for the failure to mention the fact is that the paper in
_Science_ was an incomplete and preliminary report. I pointed out to
him that his statement appears to contradict the face of the article
itself. My reply to his response states, among other things:

Your statement contradicts the face of the article, which makes the
following statements:

"Belated Decision"

which indicates, without further explication, that a final judgement
has been reached after

"[a] close analysis[.]"

This "Belated Decision" contradicts that which you acknowledge to be

"commonly accepted view"

"presently accepted. . . among physicists and historians of

You avow that

"Detailed analysis. . . of these proofs. . . enabled us to construct
an account. . . that radically differs from the standard view[.]"

I fail to see how you could not have noticed that the top section of a
sheet of this document had gone missing, while conducting your
detailed analysis. I could not find any statement in your paper that
it was a "preliminary and incomplete report[.]" On the contrary, you
style it as a "Belated Decision[.]" Surely, in four pages there was
room for a mention of the material fact that the document upon which
you relied had been mutilated to exclude text and an equation. I
suspect that the pages of "Science" would not have been overburdened
by a mention of this material fact in the intervening years.


Dr. Stachel has mentioned that he has since made mention of the
mutliation in "Hilbert's Foundation of Physics: From a Theory of
Everything to a Comstituent of General Relativity", Preprint 118 of
the Max-Planck-Institut fuer Wissenschaftsgeschichte, (1999). And he
states that he notes the missing portion of printed page 7 of document
634 with note 72, on page 33 and that of printed page 8 with note 40,
on page 17.

Dr. Stachel has also mentioned that he wanted to take the opportunity
of our correspondance to mention to me that he has been asked to
publish a review of my book, "Albert Einstein: The Incorrigible
Plagiarist". He wonders if the complete absence of any mention of
anti-Semitism in my book leaves me vulnerable to being accused of
plagiarizing the German media of Nazi-times. I must confess that I
fail to follow Dr. Stachel's line of thought.

Christopher Jon Bjerknes"