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Shmoits face a German competitor

Book market flooded with garden-variety cranks

In 2010, a German conspiracy theorist and high school teacher named Alexander Unzicker released his anti-physics tirade that was reformatted as a book. The title was "Vom Urknall zum Durchknall" which I would translate as "From the Big Bang to Their Big Butts' Being Banged" but that was translated as "Bankrupting Physics" by the unimaginative translator. The English translation will appear tomorrow. You may pre-order it.

Most of the 21 chapters have titles saying things like "something is rotten in the state of physics", "why cosmology is going the wrong way", "how physics became a junk drawer", "branes, multiverses, and other supersicknesses: physics goes nuts", "string theory: how the elite became a sect and mafia", "what's wrong with the physics business", "get ready for the crash". You get the point.

I haven't read and I won't read the book because I consider the table of contents to be fully sufficient to know what's inside the book. It's surely not the first time when most of the 20th century physics is being trashed by an aggressive stupid asshole who has no clue about science. But a review of the book written by a TRF reader may be published later.




Alexander Unzicker is undoubtedly the most accurate German counterpart of his U.S.-based "colleagues", especially Lee Smolin and Peter Woit. I am totally confident that well over 95% of the readers of these two hacks agree with this assessment. That's why the readers of the U.S. crackpot – the one who is the grandson of a top Nazi official in a European country – had to be stunned when they saw this review of Unzicker's book.




We learn that Unzicker is a garden-variety crank and his book is depressing, tedious, nonsense, worth ignoring, unpublishable, and (which is most damning) parroting Woit's crackpot blog and book. Well, yes, it is parroting it very well, indeed. The only problem with Woit's criticism is that he is attacking his intellectual twin brother. We learn that Woit is sometimes aware of this fact:

Well, maybe he does get something right… I have to admit that one of the things that every so often makes me wonder if I’m completely misguided, and maybe there is a lot more value to strings/SUSY/branes/extra dimensions etc. than I think, is reading rants like Unzicker’s.
However, Woit always forgets that he's the same dull pile of feces as his fellow garden-variety crank from Germany and continues to do what he is best at – polluting the intellectual landscape by hateful lies and demagogy.

A difference between Unzicker and Woit is that Unzicker rejects about 20-30 more years of modern theoretical physics than Woit does. However, if I compared Unzicker and Smolin, even this possible difference would largely disappear because Smolin hates much of the 1900-1950 physics as well while Unzicker has a positive attitude to some of it, too. They're more or less exact equivalents in this respect.

Concerning the Woit-Unzicker difference, I have mixed feelings about the question which of these two crackpots is worse. On one hand, Unzicker must be even more stupid than Woit because he misunderstands – and slings mud at – old and therefore more elementary physics insights than Woit. On the other hand, Unzicker is more internally consistent than Woit. He distributes the "initial moment" when physics allegedly began to move in a wrong direction over much of the 20th century. On the contrary, Woit loves to create the picture that theoretical physics took the wrong direction exactly at one moment in the early 1980s, just when the physics job market determined that Peter Woit, incapable of even learning string theory, is – diplomatically speaking – a worthless pile of stinky shit who hasn't contribute anything and who probably won't contribute anything (this prediction remains as rock-solid today as it was 30 years ago).

Such an abrupt change of the direction of physics research, moreover one that is so exactly correlated with the events in Woit's life, is a remarkable claim. Everyone who actually understands physics knows that there has been no "existential" discontinuity or conceptual change in the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s. Modern physics has been steadily marching and doing remarkable technical progress but it has continued to build on the spirit and philosophical foundations that have been around for a century or so. Moreover, the AdS/CFT and other developments have taught us that string theory as the only consistent theory of quantum gravity is really physically equivalent to gauge theories, the key addition to theoretical particle physics from the 1960s (at least when both sides of the equivalence are applied to some specific classes of problems), so it is utterly ludicrous to say that one of them is right and one of them is wrong.

It means that Peter Woit is displaying some shocking inconsistency when he tries to talk positively about the physics of the 1960s but negatively about physics of the following decades. The actual facts don't allow any such inconsistency.

Moreover, Woit hasn't sold a single copy of his own rant by his occasionally positive words about gauge theories etc. The hardcore crackpots who read his book and blog – and yes, all these people are just stupid scum – tolerated and suffered through the positive words about gauge theories. These positive words – something that could have been copied from every relevant undergraduate course or a popular presentation of the physics developed 50 years ago – were the "necessary evil" for them. What they bought the book for were the hostile dishonest rants against physics from the 1970s through the present. And when it comes to any of these topics that really matter for the ability of the books to be sold – and influence imbeciles, including those employed in the media – Woit and Smolin are exactly equivalent to Unzicker. That's also why Unzicker's book was praised by German counterparts of those who have praised the two American Shmoits' books, e.g. by the incompetent journalists in the German edition of Scientific Americans and maverick astronomers such as the Czech-German anti-dark-matter warrior Pavel Kroupa (Kroupa is surely in a much higher league than Unzicker but he just agreed to endorse the Unzicker jerk).



So I urge Mr Woit to stop his breathtaking hypocrisy. If he admits that Mr Unzicker and his "work" are dirty garbage, then it is completely obvious that the very same statement applies to Mr Woit, Mr Smolin, and their "work". All the readers of "Not Even Wrong" know this much as well as I do. Germany is able to compete in most industries and as we can see, the industry of hardcore anti-physics demagogues and populist crackpots addressing their "work" to the ultimate bottom of the human society is undoubtedly among those in which Germany is competitive.

And that's the memo.

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reader Jack said...

Is there a way to understand recent developments in string theory (F theory , Dualities ,Compactifications etc ) without having to go through CFT and worldsheet string theory ) ???? Or do I have to work through polchinski first ???


reader Eugene S said...

LOL, a creative translation of the title of the first book by the Munich crackpot! However, this newest book of his is not a translation of the first but a co-production (see my comment under another blog post of yours earlier this year.)

The mistake was Woit's and your mistake was to trust anything said by the king troll in his lair on the Hudson, be it even so innocuous as the time of day :)

Yes, as I said also on TRF last year, the leeching and plagiarizing between W. and U. is all one way, as we found out when the Munich loudmouth went onto his American idol's blog expecting to be applauded for his groos boorishness at Strings 2012 but got a cold shoulder for his trouble.



I hadn't heard that Kroupa endorsed Unzicker's book, are you sure? That would count as a big black mark against Kroupa.


reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Eugene, thanks for your corrections! Concerning Kroupa, I am referring to this paragraph posted at the amazon.com page:

"Bankrupting Physics is a blunt, but entertaining account of the current state of fundamental physics. The reader may not necessarily have the same opinion as the authors, but they will bear witness to some of the field's unchallengeable high priests in action, and question whether the system itself is now in a period of stagnation. How does the struggle for power and money among modern scientists compromise the quest for uncovering the true secrets of nature? This is a worthwhile book to read that is guaranteed to raise some controversy, and is likely to receive a critical reception by the very actors it is reporting on."--Pavel Kroupa, University of Bonn


reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Jack, it depends how well you want to understand it. ;-) Like in most developments, a genuine technical understanding requires one to know the previous state of the field, too.


How "recent" do you mean by "recent findings"? Otherwise the research focus may shuffle, especially in favor of the newest types of findings, but otherwise if it's ever been correct, it never gets "obsolete". ;-)


reader lucretius said...

Thanks this link I just watched this Witten talk at Strings 2012 for the first time. I take it that the first questioner was the Unzicker who is the main "hero" of this post? If so, I certainly agree that he showed himself an obnoxious boor but I also think that Witten dealt with him in exactly the right way.

I have heard Witten several times at maths conferences (he was a key-note speaker at my former supervisor's 60-th birthday conference) and was always been very calm and methodical. Of course it is much easier at math conferences where there so called "trolls" are virtually unknown, but I think Witten's approach is exactly the right way to deal with them. In my opinion, this talk and the clearly silly questions is likely to make most neutrals think better of String Theory and worse of its critics. (By the way, I don't think the other questioners were "trolls", they just did not seem to know much about modern physics - that alone does not make one a troll).

In fact nothing will produce a worse impression that loosing your temper in public in the age of youtube. Blogs are perhaps a different matter, a few invectives may add to the entertainment value. But I am sure you all realise that all these posts about Unzicker, Woit etc. on this blog make them far better known than they would have been otherwise? I certainly would never have discovered Woit's blog if I had not read about it here and I get the impression that this is also true of quite many of its readers.

I won't bother reading Unzicker's book since it is quite obvious that it's all nonsense and what's even worse, the boring, derivative and repetitive sort of nonsense. I have not read Woit's book either but I might do so out of sheer curiosity. However, I am not interested enough to pay for it.

By the way, I am sure it is a very naive question to ask here, but who is "the king troll in his lair on the Hudson"?


reader Eugene S said...

Dear lucretius, as this fellow is a professor at Columbia University which overlooks the Hudson River and is kind of an über-troll, I hit on what I thought is a catchy phrase to describe him :)


reader Luboš Motl said...

Sorry, Eugene, but Woit is surely not a "professor".


reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Lucretius, yup, I also do think it was Unzicker at Strings 2012 and it was mentioned here:

http://motls.blogspot.com/2012/07/strings-2012-few-words.html?m=1


reader Dilaton said...

Ha ha ha, I could not avoid following the link to the stunning review (did not know what was behind it ...) and scrolling shortly through it made me LOL :-D

To me it looks like the German Chief-Troll tries to snatch the title of the Trollking of the World from the actual Americon holder of this position and the current Trollking of the World is vigorously defending his position ... :-D D D

http://www.alces-alces.com/vermehrung/brunftkampf/kampf1_t.jpg


The first attempt of the German Chief-Troll to usurpate the title in summer 2012 amusingly failed (yes he was the first "questioner" after Witten's public lecture), and I find the rivalry between these bigmouth Trolls very funny ;-)


Of course I fully agree with the TRF assessment of the about 300 page hate speach, I already wrote a review on the German Amazon page which halds for the first, the second, and every future new tirade the Unzicker-Troll may write at the same time :-P


Cheers


reader lucretius said...

After listening again to this Springs 2012 question time I have concluded that Unziker’s question was indeed quite exceptionally stupid, even if its purpose was only “trolling” .

Not only does it not make any sense but also the only embarrassment it caused to Witten was having to answer in public a ridiculous pseudo-question posed in a ludicrously pompous tone.

Unziker’s very first words are comically patronizing: “I am sure that with your work you are making the best out of your extraordinary capabilities” Good grief! He is saying this to the guy who won The Fields medal, The National Medal of Science, The Fundamental Physics Prize and a host of other awards and Unziker kindly adds to all that his own personal prize “for making best use of one’s capabilities”. What generosity!

He then follows that by kindly explaining to Witten what “Science” is (quoting Newton ) and then wonders aloud that Witten might not know about his “responsibility to Science”. Finally it turns out that (even though “he is making the best use of his capabilities”) , Witten is worse than Socrates, who was only accused of being a “corruptor of youth”, while Witten turns out to be misguider of "the concentrated intelligence of 7 billion people on the planet", who are presumably all so preoccupied with watching Witten talk on strings on youtube that they forget about to attend to far more important business. Which of course explains the awful state the world has been in in recent times.

Of course Unziker never explains what Witten should be doing instead of “playing mathematical games” except for the helpful advice that he should be predicting “numbers” (perhaps astrology would qualify). But of course, as we now know, Witten is not entirely useless, for after all he has provided Herr Unziker with the chance of becoming an author and maybe eventually a little side career as a “Witten criticizer”. Unfortunately this job has already been taken by Dr. Wolin, who naturally does not want to share it with such plebs.

I must say that from what I have seen and read, Lee Smolin appears very honest. The bulk of his arguments against String Theory seems to translate into something that goes like this: you guys have got all the best jobs, grants, fame etc, and we want our share now!

A clever troll would have put this point directly to Witten and he might have had a harder time answering it.


reader Michael said...

So, let's coin a new term to update "Shmoit" or "Wolin".
At first, I really liked "Unwolin", but on further inspection it just sounds too positive, for the new prefix seems to negate the original "Wolin". Same goes for "Unshmoit" or any other variant starting with the new prefix.

Instead, it is natural to consider the additional suffix "-zicker". Playing with the obvious possibilities along these lines, my choice falls on "Shmoitzicker".
Perhaps you want to put up a public poll offering all permutations, Lubos?! Even Shmoitzicker may participate. ;-)


reader Gordon said...

I don't know how a high school teacher, as valuable as that profession is, can be called a theoretical physicist and neuroscientist. Also, Sheila Jones, is described as a scientist. She is a Canadian journalist.
A huge problem is that the general public will not
discriminate the difference between what Sheldon Cooper calls a "real scientist", and a self-described scientist-crank. (His other book in Germany won some award or other.).
IMO, science has grown beyond having to have extensive direct experimental evidence. If a theory has marked explanatory power and enfolds older theories that were subject to tests as limiting cases and predicts results that tie together disparate fields, and that unexpected things fall out of the theory (ie graviton from string theory)

then this adds confidence in the truth of the theory.
It may simply be that, for example, energy levels to test the theory are, in practice, unobtainable.


BTW, Alexander Unzicker's father, Wolfgang Unzicker was one of Germany's best chess players and a grandmaster who had a win over 17 year old Bobby Fisher among others.


reader Gordon said...

Sort of OT: How German Sounds Compared to Other Languages:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_xUIDRxdmc


reader Luboš Motl said...

Funny, my nephew was showing me the very same video on Sunday.


reader lucretius said...

I remember Wolfgang Unzicker. Indeed, he was of Germany's strongest players during my early childhood (the only other one I remember was Lothar Schmid). What a come down in just one generation.

Off topic (but I can resist it): I just found a great video of Mikhail Tal (whom I once saw in real life) playing young Bobby Fischer (with a brief commentary in Czech):


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gI7TCZ4cLa4


reader Dilaton said...

I am for Shmoitzicker, because this almost sounds like the German word "Schmarotzer" which has the meaning of an ugly parasit ...:-D


reader lucretius said...

If I may be allowed a little heresy, I think that Peter Woit's blog is sometimes worth reading, mostly for the comments that some people post on it. This time there is a comment by someone who calls himself Matt - which (as far as I understand these things) goes to the heart of the matter. In fact, to me it sounds like one of the best brief and non-technical defences of string theory against the standard objections that I have read… (It certainly convinces me…). Woit doesn't really answer any of Matt's questions ( he says things like “Yes, there’s an interesting structure there, but no, it’s not one useful to construct a unified theory, as far as anyone can tell”) and then declares the matter off topic.


reader Giotis said...

Sorry off topic but I couldn't find a more recent post:

Lubos I was reading something recently and I was wondering whether you could shed some light on the relation between (2,0) SCFT and (2,0) LST in the context of 6d RG flow. We know that (2,0) SCFT is the low energy limit of (2,0) LST and after some scale (M_string) we expect new degrees of freedom, namely the strings of LST, to become important. On the other hand (2,0) SCFT has no scale and no UV divergences; it lies on a fixed point and thus my understanding is that you can take the energy to infinity.

So how this behavior is consistent with (2,0) SCFT being the low energy limit of (2,0) LST?

Also (2,0) SCFT has tensionless strings. How these are related to the tensile strings of (2,0) LST?

I'm not sure if you can perturb it with irrelevant deformations in order to break CF invariance and then move to LST at some point.

Anyway as you can see I'm confused:-)


reader Dilaton said...

Yeah Matt is great, I have once seen some of his comments too :-).


The Trollking can do nothing else but declare the matter as off topic. Only ranting about ST is on topic there, but defending it from a physics point of view is off topic, in particular as the defense is very successful and the Trollking has no argumetns left to counter it ...


This well known behavior makes the Trollking look like the great a*****e he is indeed to anybody who randomly clicks on the site and who is not a complete idiot ..


reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Giotis, the total low-energy limit is always a scale-invariant theory - the infrared fixed point - so the case of the low E limit of the (2,0) LST is no exception. Of course that it has to be scale-invariant, too.


On the other hand, what happens at higher energies isn't completely decoded by the low-energy limit. In general, you can't guess the whole theory from its low-energy limit just like you can't reconstruct f(E), the whole function, from the value f(0) and perhaps a few derivatives at zero. And if the limit is consistent by itself, it doesn't mean that there's no new physics at higher energies.


You surely know it would be a mistake to think otherwise. You may find much less exotic examples of the same thing than 6D theories. For example, QCD is valid up to arbitrarily high theories. That changes nothing about the fact that the "right" high-energy completion is either the Standard Model or GUT or a string theory vacuum.


The tensionless strings of the (2,0) SCFT are related to the tensile strings of the LST but they're not the limits of the actual same objects. The tensionless strings are coming from "open membranes" while the tensile strings are from "closed, wrapped membranes" if you represent the (2,0) SCFT and LST as theories living on M5-branes or type IIA (= M-theory on a circle) NS5-branes (M5-branes localized in an extra circle), respectively. The tensile strings come from the fundamental IIA strings, they have a fixed tension, and the IIA strings are M2-branes wrapped on the 11th circle regardless of the fixed location of the 5-branes in this circle.

If you were thinking about the stringy representations of these theories, you could easily answer all such questions.


reader Luboš Motl said...

This Matt's comment is very wise.


reader windwheel said...

I wonder if 'new Left' waffle like that of Roberto Unger has been programmatized and is being cross-promoted? Smolin works with Unger.

http://socioproctology.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/roberto-unger-humes-cat.html


reader Gordon said...

Tal, IMO was one of the very best---very interesting games, very aggressive---he was one of the very few Russians that Bobby Fischer admired.


reader Gordon said...

Surely "honest" and "Smolin"
is an oxymoron. Smolin is one of the chief snake-oil salesmen and media whores around.


reader lucretius said...

I am not sure how to represent "irony" on the Web or in e-mail ;-)
I meant that he is "very honest" in the sense that he makes his motives pretty transparent. You don't have to read much between the lines to notice that he would be very happy to "make a deal" with the string theorists, if only they would let him have a share in some of the glory and things that go with it.


reader lucretius said...

As much as you can call a Latvian Jew a "Russian". For Fischer, of course, Russian was the lesser evil (in spite of himself being 100% Jewish himself).


reader Gordon said...

Well, at the time Latvia was part of the evil empire :)
BTW Fischer was the only competitor in a tournament where Tal was hospitalized for kidney problems who visited him. (not to defend Fischer and his virulent anti-Semitism, but Fisher's def. of a jew was basically if you were a good person, you were not jewish even if you were, and if you were a bad person, you were even if you weren't.


reader Luboš Motl said...

Well, at least, it wasn't a Russian empire but the Soviet empire. The Baltic states are very unhappy to be linked to Russia in this way - you would ignite much less opposition in Czechia, for example. ;-)


Viktoria Pilsen (soccer) is just playing in Tallinn, Estonia - it seems easy so far, 0:1 after 10 minutes.


reader Gordon said...

Here is part 2 if you haven't seen it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YQAYEmwBvs


reader lucretius said...

I seem to remember that Fischer became friends with the Polgars and agreed to play a blitz match with Judit, but then cancelled it and as the reason stated that "they are Jews".


Mikhail Tal is the only person in my entire life that I asked for an autograph. I was a kid then (of course) and it was at a blitz tournament in which he took part (and won). It was in the dark days of communism and I asked him to sign for me a Russian "Chess Dictionary" (Шахматный Словарь). In addition to all kinds of useful chess information it has such fascinating topics as "Marx and Chess" and "Lenin and Chess". After all these years I still have it. However, my own favourite Chess player was Paul Keres, an Estonian. I never got a chance to see him live. I admired his style, it was attacking but not as risky (and sometimes unsound) as Tal's, with a perfect balance between offensive and defensive skills, strategy and tactics. The only thing Keres lacked was the sort ruthless drive to win one needs to become a world champion, although his ambivalent position in the Soviet Union might have contributed to it. It was rumoured that a decision was taken at the highest levels that Keres would not become a world champion.


reader lucretius said...

One of the things that I don't understand about Woit and people who argue like him is whether they are trying to say that "string theory is not the right unified theory" and some other theory should be found (whatever "should" means) or that there is no need for any unified theory and everyone should give up and be happy with the Standard Model. They seem to be implying both of these statements without actually committing to either. One can of course always say, "I don't like the extra dimensions and hope someone will find some way to get rid of them" but unless you have some idea yourself how to do it, you can only hope in the same way as you can hope for eternal life after death. You can't demand that others should find such a theory for you. If you say, the Standard Model is fine, we need no stinkin' unified theory - than fine, but then you should stop writing about it: it's not a problem whether it is the "right one" or if you think it's not needed anyway. Obviously he knows that the demand for new experimental results supporting String Theory (at this time anyway) makes no sense and never did. In the end, as far as I can make it out, is that he accuses string theorists of having once promised much more than they have delivered - but what exactly was promised I can't gather from his blog. Maybe it is in his book, but it sounds like he is blaming sting theorists for the kind of hype that popular science journalists tend to create. I do think that people like Hawking (claiming that M-Theory has finally dispensed with the need for God) damage the reputation of science with the general public but certainly can't imagine Witten ever saying anything of this kind. So I have been tempted to ask him what exactly were those unkept promises, but I suspect he will just refer me to his book.

I am also unsure of the relation between Woit and Smolin. Of course Woit can't endorse LQG since all his objections to String Theory apply equally (or more) to LQG. However, he seems to avoid criticising it - perhaps because he does not consider it important enough or wants to remain on good terms with Smolin.


reader jefferery fay said...

Yes indeed.

Woit is a two-faced, spineless coward. Lenny Susskind explained, "Well, for example, there’s one fellow who failed as a physicist, never made it as a physicist, became a computer programmer, has been angry all of his life that he never became a physicist and that physicists ignore him, so he’s now taking out his revenge by writing diatribes and polemics against string theory."

One must realize that he is an untenured computer admin who doesn't ever publish physics research. His only claim to fame has been his attacks on String Theory and talented scientists.



But it does not stop there.


Woit is also supremely jealous of anyone who might steal some of his anti-String spotlight, and so, anyone else who writes books saying the same thing is, by definition, a crank and crackpot, even though they agree with and parrot Woit's words.


Such is the deranged, miserable, hateful mind of Peter Woit, seething at physics, physicists, with his hate for physics and physicists being manifested in his books which are diatribes against talented working physicists, and his even greater self-hate being manifested in his hatred for his very own ilk and fellow crackpots.


Peter Woit's supreme hippocracy is only exceeded by his supreme hate and lust for revenge on physics for having ignored his supreme lack of talent and nonexistent contributions.


reader Shannon said...

Lol! Some British call the Germans "box heads" ;-)


reader greg steve said...

have smolin and woit ever come up with one useful, novel idea? the cranks are in their 50s, and their only claim to fame is garrett lisi's wikipedia page. why don't they just step down already? Oh and Woit once saw Ed Witten in a hallway, so by Woit's definition, that makes Peter Woit a mathematical physicist, as opposed to the glorified computer admin, and basher of string theorists and attacker of cranks like himself.


reader Giotis said...

You are right of course; there is no contradiction with the appearance
of new physics above a certain scale. The problem is that I was trying to understand the situation from field theoretical point of view and RG flow. I was confused by the fact that (2, 0) SCFT is an isolated UV fixed point of the 6d RG flow (the IR fixed point is the corresponding free 6d SCFT) and I was trying to understand how you can break CF invariance by adding local irrelevant
deformations. I’m not sure if this kind of deformation is even possible…

The stringy representation is clearer; I found a nice description on page 6 of this classical paper http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/9704089,
where LST was identified for the first time.

BTW John Schwarz on page 11 of his latest paper http://arxiv.org/pdf/1307.5795.pdf,
he writes about the (2,0) SCFTs:

“These theories, which have an ADE classification, are in some sense the most fundamental of all nongravitational theories.”

I guess then he should have said: the most fundamental of all *local* nongravitational theories :-)

Anyway thanks…


reader John Archer said...

Hold the horses there!

Most of those other god-awful languages have far too many vowels-a. Very effeminate. Most unattractive — especially for a man.

Indeed, if one's natural first recourse to simply speaking LOUDER IN ENGLISH doesn't do the trick and one is actually forced to speak the local tongue then I'd say that that German chappie comes closest to my idea of how an Englishman should speak foreign, only far less timidly. Yes, his delivery needs to be somewhat more assertive. I'd recommend him the Bomber Harris Course in Personality Projection.

A nice thing about the Germans though is that they do do a cracking line in snappy tunes to lift one's spirits: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDs0g1oTLhU

Incidentally it was bad enough being forced to sit through all those tiresome English lessons at school—a total non-subject of course—let alone all that hideously foreign nonsense.

Pip pip!


reader Gordon said...

Fischer lived with the Polgars for awhile while he was trying to stay off the Americans' radar after playing the match in Yugoslavia. Apparently he only played them "Fischer Random Chess" where the first row pieces were randomly placed in order to nullify book learned openings. He was most interested in Judit's older sister (and also grandmaster)

Zsuza.

Here is one of the most remarkable games I have seen played by 13 year old Fischer against Donald Byrne:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M624T3PTggU


reader lucretius said...

I know this game and it is certainly a very brilliant one. Still, I think it is a bit of an exaggeration to call it "the game of the century" since Byrne's play is rather mediocre (unless you take into account Fischer being 13 year old). Unfortunately this sort of brilliant combinatorial style no longer works against the strongest computer programs ;-)


reader Gordon said...

Well, Fischer must have agreed with you--he didn't even include it in his book--my
60 best games. It was the sheer guts and the surprise of the moves that was memorable. Byrne was likely gobsmacked by the 13 year old.
One last comment---Valentina Lisitsa was on her way to becoming a professional chess player, but instead went for concert pianist--she has many vids on youtube and used youtube to bootstrap her career.
Also, Fischer blanked Mark Taimanov 8-0 in a candidates match in Vancouver.(and then blanked Bent Larsen 8-0--vindication because Larsen had been trash-talking him) I heard Taimanov and his wife give a duo-piano recital as a teenager.
OK, back to physics blogging and slagging crackpots :)


reader lucretius said...

I also have this book ("My 60 Memorable Games") and also checked that it is not there ;-) But I also noticed that it only contains games played during the period 1957-67. But that game was played in 1956. There is also an earlier book "Bobby Fischer's Games of Chess", which I haven't got :-( and which contains 34 earlier games and I think it must be in there.
Happy crackpot hunting ;-)


reader Flavio said...

Woit feels uncomfortable because he's seeing himself on the mirror... :-)


reader darrington said...

woit is something far worse than a stinky crackpot.

he is a two-faced, characterless bastard.

and too lubos, does not woit have a tendency to attack women? google Laura Mersini-Houghton and peter woit and you can find him ranting and raving against her brilliance because she is a woman who has tenure while he is a talentless hack computer admin.



and the coauthor of the current book BANKRUPTING PHYSICS is a woman too, and one can see woit RANTING AND RAGING against her for doing nothing more than SAYING THE SAME THINGS AS WOIT!


one can see a pattern here.


reader Santosh seo said...

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reader misterL said...

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