Annals of Physics is a journal owned by Elsevier whose current editor-in-chief is Brian Greene. The name sounds just like Annalen der Physik where Einstein sent his most famous paper(s) but I think that they have nothing to do with each other.
Joy Christian is a crackpot (see TRF blog posts) who has primarily claimed – for a decade or two – to have "disproven" Bell's theorem. He's been telling everyone that entanglement doesn't exist and Nature is local realist, after all. His "disproof" is based on trivial conceptual mistakes, Joy Christian's utter stupidity, and too complex quaternion- or octonion-related notions that are obviously too difficult for him to be understood properly.
People who have interacted with him gradually learned that he is a hopeless crank and idiot and even some "softcore harbors for cranks" such as the Perimeter Institute have abolished all links with him some years ago. But he keeps on trying to spread the idea that he has found some amazing results.
Annals of Physics became the latest victim of his assaults – which were childish and creative at the same time. Everyone who has watched the literature on foundations of quantum mechanics a little bit must already know Joy Christian and the fact that he is a mental cripple. Referees in journals belong to this set so they just say No.
But Joy Christian wants the publications so badly. Is there a way to get your paper published in a refereed journal if all the people working in your field have basically learned that you are a hopeless idiot and your work is a pile of šit?
Well, the answer is Yes and Joy Christian has found the creative solution. The solution is that you must make sure that your paper will be sent to referees from another field. So in 2014, he wrote a paper named
It has worked for him. The paper must have been sent to some loop-quantum-gravity-type subpar physicist(s) who doesn't (or don't) actually understand quantum mechanics well (or at all). And the "paper" looked OK according to this person's (or these people's) šitty standards so the paper was accepted in October 2016. As soon as some real physicists read the "paper", they notified the editors and pointed out that a pile of pure šit has been published. These readers probably told the editors how Joy Christian managed to do it, too, because it's obvious once you look at the "paper".
So the paper was obviously removed immediately and the abstract at the Annals of Physics web page of the "paper" was abruptly changed to
This article was erroneously included in this issue. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.Well, the publication of this pile of šit hasn't caused any inconvenience to the readers. It has only caused an inconvenience to the journal because many readers have noticed that the referee process in Annals of Physics is pretty lousy.
See the Retraction Watch for a text on this story – and some absolutely insane additional claims by the crook Joy Christian who says that the journal has on the contrary deceived him and he wants to sue them and lots of stuff like that. Retraction Watch finds one thing to be important – that Brian Greene's journal hasn't notified Joy Christian about the removal. When you get caught by a Nigerian attack and send them your first $1,000, will you send them an extra notification that "you will unfortunately not send another $1,000" once you realize that you are being deceived? From a common sense viewpoint, it's absolutely ludicrous. Unfortunately, the legal viewpoint has the capacity to occasionally contradict common sense.
I have this story from Florin Moldoveanu who primarily tries to repeat an explanation why Joy Christian's claims are wrong. I don't think I want to study it in detail – I've done it several times in the past and I don't think that Florin explains anything about quantum mechanics quite correctly (even if he's basically right about the main claims, like in this case). See a 2012 blog post to see the main "flaw" in all repetitions of Joy Christian's argument.
You know, the fact that Brian Greene et al. were fooled by a crook is absolutely obvious but this crackpot aßhole may have studied some technicalities in the law so one can't quite exclude the possibility that some lawyers or judges will agree with him that it is him who has been deceived.
Just to be sure, as far as I can say, if someone slaughtered Joy Christian, sold the stuff as pork, and claimed that it was just a pig who was threatening them on the road, the explanation would be OK with me. Obviously, it is very likely that as an editor-in-chief, I would immediately discard a "paper" submitted by Joy Christian unless there would some very special new reasons to act otherwise. This man is a complete šithead and any referee process etc. is a giant waste of time and resources because the probability that he may find something true yet important is much lower than the probability that you will be hit by an asteroid. Moreover, I am pretty sure that everything he wrote in the recent 10+ years are just small variations of the very same wrong thing he keeps on repeating all the time.
If Brian Greene had seen the name of the author before the paper was published, and I think that the editor-in-chief should have, I think it's simply been a blunder for Brian not to stop the publication process much earlier.
The fraudulent title wasn't the only aspect in which Joy Christian was cheating in a very childish, Nigerian way. Open the arxiv.org page of the preprint and you will see that the author is
Joy Christian (Oxford).So you will probably say, OK, he's been fired by the Perimeter Institute but he keeps some affiliation with Oxford University (much like anti-complementarity Shahriar Afshar affiliated himself with Harvard University once he was the official visitor of a Harvard janitor or something like that). You always find crazy people somewhere so what's the big deal. But if you have reacted in this way, you have been deceived as well. If you open the PDF file, you will see that his actual affiliation is
Einstein Centre for Local-Realistic Physics, 15 Thackley End, Oxford OX2 6LB, United KingdomHave you heard of the center before? You may use Google Maps and Street View to decide whether it looks like a scholarly institution. The building looks like some apartment building with a messy minivan and two illegal immigrants stealing the windows at the second floor in front of the Google minivan.
It's clearly his own name of an "institution" that Joy Christian has created for himself. "Einstein" is there to make it cool and impressive and "local-realistic physics" is the stuff that this crackpot is obsessed with. And he shortens the name of his private "Einstein Centre for Local-Realistic Physics" as "Oxford" because that's the town that has embarrassingly allowed him to live there in an apartment. He must know what kind of "Oxford" most readers will have in mind.
I think that if this piece of šit is really going to sue Brian Greene or his journal, and if Brian Greene has allowed that crackpot "paper" to be published because Brian is "nice", it may be quite a lesson for Brian teaching him how dangerous it is not to destroy similar aggressive cranks and their attempts as soon as possible. People like that are a genuine threat for any kind of high-quality, honest scientific process, especially if they team up with some rogue or immensely stupid lawyers.