Tuesday, October 15, 2013 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Alexander Unzicker: The Higgs Fake

While browsing random websites, I was offered an ad promoting a new book by an author we already know well. It's no one else than Germany's answer to Peter Woit and Lee Smolin, Herr Alexander Unzicker.

He released a new minibook (160 pages, available both in Kindle edition and in paperback) on October 6th,

The Higgs Fake: How Particle Physicists Fooled the Nobel Committee
Cool. I must praise him for being able to predict that the Nobel prize would be awarded for the Higgs boson in 2013.

Unzicker has created a special website of the book and if you click at the amazon.com link on the left side, you may be the first person in the world who buys the book.

The advertisements say that Einstein would have hated the Higgs mechanism. The 2013 prize makes him turn in his grave.

You may see that even when it comes to übercrackpots, Germany is more than competitive. Unzicker gives the physics haters exactly what they need: low-brow attacks against some of the most important and most safely established insights of modern physics.

American counterparts of Unzicker, crackpots like Lee Smolin and Peter Woit, could also publish an anti-Higgs book like that because their skulls are the same stinky cesspools as Unzicker's skull. But they're also cowards. They don't want to reveal that they really hate everything about modern physics, like Unzicker does, because their strategy is to maintain a layer of would-be moderate imbeciles who keep on listening to the lies and other junk that they produce and who provide the Shmoits with a protective layer. Peter Woit are imbeciles and liars and opportunist cowards at the same moment which is why they aren't publishing books against the Higgs, quarks, electron, or the round Earth, for that matter.
For Czech readers only: My article about the IPCC report in the October 2013 Václav Klaus Institute Newsletter is now out: PDF

The second edition of The Elegant Universe (in my translation) will be out in 2-3 weeks. More info about the book.
If someone buys and reads the book, he or she may guest blog about it here.

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snail feedback (44) :

reader Vladimir Kalitvianski said...

I think your explanation why they do this and do not do that is wrong. I think all of them are sincere. You should know that opinions vary from one person to another. It makes us richer in opinions unlike clones of one person.

reader Dilaton said...

Our local Chief-Troll can afford such dumb low-level and completely uninformed attacks on the Higgs (and Prof. Higgs certainly, the Nobal commitee, etc), because he has conversely to the American leading trolls, less ambitions to pose as a serious theoretical physicist in the popular media everywhere. He contents himself with being an ignorant and agressive asshole ... ;-)

Thanks for the offer to write a more detailed review as a guest blog here, but to not endanger my health (blood pressure etc) too much, I must politely decline ... :-P

reader Dilaton said...

-1: You are completely wrong. Conversely to soft fields such as philosophy, arts, etc what is right and what is wrong in physics is not decided by "opinion", personal preferences, what one likes or dislikes etc, but by (experimental) facts and correct mathematical and physical reasoning.

Slogans like "the more diverse the better" are completely inappropriate in physics.

reader Kimmo Rouvari said...

Maybe that experimental word shouldn't be in parentheses ;-) It gives more freedom so to speak.

As long as we don't have the accepted and testable TOE/GUT more diverse is the better.

reader Vladimir Kalitvianski said...

It's not a slogan, it's a necessity to progressive development of any field, especially development of physics. Try to understand that the physical description is not unique and unambiguous.

reader Dilaton said...

Yep, I see on a second look that the parantheses are not really needed ... :-)

Can not edit the comment now, as I am still not able to log in @work ...

More diverse is ok, however it does not automatically mean more correct too ;-)


reader Dilaton said...

A well meaning colleague once gave me "Vom Urknall zum Durchknall", but seing that it was nothing but a several hundred pages long tirade against modern (starting in the 19th century) physics and full of personal insults of well known enough physicists, I could not read a single page coherently from the top to the bottom ...

Hereafter, I will call our German Obertroll Alexander the Great crackpot ... :-D

International purchasing does not always work, for example when trying to order something selled in the US, neither my adress from work nor my home adress gets accepted ... :-/

BTW have you seen my test question at astronomy :-P ?


At least it is still open ...

reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...

I hadn't seen the question yet (I don't usually check Astro.SE, except when you post links here), and it's nice to know it at least has positive votes (+1ed too, by the way).
I'd also be curious to know the answer to that, so favourited...

reader Luboš Motl said...

Wasn't your grade school teacher Unzicker himself? I can't believe that people with opinions about science like yours aren't being kept in psychiatric asylums.

reader Dilaton said...

Alexander the Great crackpot should urgently get fired from his job as a teacher, as he obviously too successfully convert his students into uninformed trolls, instead of educating them about physics ...

reader lucretius said...

Surely we should all be very happy and proud of the fact that at least three geniuses, far more deserving of a Nobel prize than the impostor Higgs, deem us worthy of the honour of reading their views on this very bog.

Two of them, Kimmo Rouvari (who I think must be eagerly awaiting a sensational announcement by NASA) and Vladimir Leonov are both authors of “unification theories”, that prove that the world have been misled by the charlatan Higgs and his cronies. Vladimir (who unfortunately seems to have been driven away when I told him that our quota of geniuses was exactly 2 and that it had already been reached) is the author of a 745 page long Theory of Superunification, published by the world renowned Cambridge International Science Publishing.

By comparison Kimmo’s work is unimpressive as far as size is concerned but much richer in potential applications since it offers the joyful prospect of everyone being able to bow up the Earth with the tools one can easily purchase on eBay.

Finally, there is our other Vladimir (I wonder if this is a mere coincidence?), whose claims are somewhat less impressive since he so far he can only offer us an approach to QFT that produces the same results as the currently standard one but in a "better" way. But there is no doubt that if only Vladimir is given a sufficiently large grant, he will also come up with a Mother of All Unification Theories.

Unfortunately, of course, all three of our geniuses can’t be right. I already once suggested that the most efficient approach would be for all three of them to carefully read each other’s work, decide among themselves which of them was the real new Einstein (unfortunately that would make the other two “crackpots” but life is not fair and we can’t all be winners) and let us know the result.

By comparison with our own crack… I mean geniuses, this Unzicker guy is just a boring kind of crackpot who does not even have his own unification theory.

reader anna v said...

Vladimir, sincerity does not stand in for mathematical ability and expertise. On can accept a 't Hooft hoeing his own row because for sure he is examining his proposals with correct mathematics. One may not agree with him on his basic goal or conclusions but one cannot deny that he is rigorous in the maths.

For example ost of the proposers of perpetual motion setups are very sincere. I had an uncle :) trying to do it with wheels and gears. When I came back with my physics degree he collared me trying to convince me it should work. Very sincere and impossible to see the light as his mathematics stopped at algebra and conservation laws seemed to him voodoo.

Also from the amazon blurb in the quote by dimension10 above, to come up saying and

" 6) the data analysis in its complexity cannot be overseen by anybody."

is small minded and short sighted, when from the 3000 physicists in each experiment that found the Higgs maybe 80% checked and rechecked the preprint for mistakes. Let alone the hundreds that went into the mathematical nitty gritty.

reader mf said...

no, you see, you think it is perfectly understood. If you can point me to a single experiment that produces energy out of nothing, please do. I need money for retirement.
My physics teacher taught me, that physics is an empirical science. What did yours teach you? That physics is what you and your buddies say it is?
Here is one more thing you may reflect on Lubos. Global warming theories that you like to talk about on this site did not arise out of nowhere. They are a product of a culture in which what matters most is what a bunch of guys with tenures say at a conference. Empirical observations, not so much. It bugs in climate science, why not in the rest of physics?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear mf, physics is an empirical science which in practice is what particle physicists in particular and other scientists in general are doing.

Empirical science is *not* the low-brow demagogic philosophizing that stupid aggressive monkeys on steroids like you - and apparently also your teacher - are practicing.

reader mf said...

and climate science, is what climate scientists do.
Sounds familiar?

reader lucretius said...

I am curious when, according to you or your High School teacher (I am not sure if we are not unfairly attributing your state of knowledge to his influence, perhaps you just had a poor attention span) did physics start to go wrong? You stated that you think the Big Bang “violates all known laws of physics” but what are these laws and what does not violate them?

Obviously you must think General Relativity preposterous, for reasons pointed out by Lubos, and probably the same applies to Special Relativity equally so: after all, nobody has ever produced two identical twins of different age.

I won’t even mention Quantum Mechanics, and stuff such as entanglement, that’s just crazy, man.

How about Newton’s theory of gravity? All these forces acting at arbitrary distance according to the inverse square law: who does the calculating? So I think Newton must also be out.

It sounds like we have to go back to Aristotle. One Aristotle’s key concepts was that everything had its natural place. When I read posts like yours I feel that in at least some sense he was right. Yes, there is a natural place for people like yourself, but I am too polite to name it here.

reader Mephisto said...

You misunderstand physics and science in general. No serious scientist ever claimed to have an answer for everything (unlike many imams). We do not know what caused the Big Bang or why there is anything rather than nothing. The Multiverse is just an untested hypothesis, an idea. Nobody claims that is must be so. There is another idea or hypothesis that claims that it is possible to create something out of nothing. Watch this lecture by Lubos's favorite physicist Lawrence Krauss


There are many unanswered questions, unsolved problems, unexplained mysteries. And the best scientists are drawn to science by these mysteries and by the desire to read the mind of God by trying to uncover these mysteries. Read a quote of Einstein

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed. The insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.”

Concerning what your teacher said "a society for mutual admiration". He has in part truth. Exept for real scientists motivated by the search for truth, there are second rate scientists motivated by their ambitions. They enjoy all the priviliges of academia, like to call themselves "doctors" and "professors" and go to conferences. It is all this academic snobism and narcissism and careerism and ambition. I am myself in academia and I see this a lot, but I am in medicine which is sociologically different from physics. But I am sure that in a lesser extent this problem exists also in physics.

reader Dilaton said...

The bare particles are NOT what we observe at the accessible low energy scale ...

By looking at things at the experimentally accesssible scale, coarse graining is done automatically, if you like it or not ;-)


reader Vladimir Kalitvianski said...

Coarse graining done experimentally or in our equations? I partially agree if experimentally, although to me coarse graining (averaging) is done differently than to you, I am afraid. I understand averaging as an inclusive picture that includes all different inelastic processes with real particles. As well, I do not anticipate any discontinuity in QED as a model at any distances, so there is no need in coarse graining in your sense (no physically meaningful cut-off). Finally, if bare particles are non observable at our available energies, then how do we know their equations? How do we know their unknown interactions?

reader Peter F. said...

We can't all be equally right and relevant (nor equally clear, or confused, about What Is going on)!

To be more specific, my usual feeling and perception that most people are not quite 'sane' emotionally, perceptually or 'theoretically' is not aggravated by any of the friendly TRF-followers you refer to.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed your satirical style. :-)

Mind you, I don’t have the same easy going attitude toward this Unzicker. ;-|

P.S. Aside from the categories of flaws I just mentioned (or clumsily and incompletely listed) we folk can also fall short in neurohormonal, smooth muscle metabolism increasing, and joint-moving neuromuscular, ways of meeting our lifetime Life's lifetime challenges; Not to mention other likewise natural ‘lackings of luck’ that affect our "staying alive" and/or our prospects of contributing to a lengthening of our lineage.

reader Kimmo Rouvari said...

Thank you Peter! Even though I knew that lucretius was just satirical his post hurt me deeply ;-( snif.

Not! :-) Quote from Arthur Schopenhauer, "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.". In that light, one needs a thick skin if (s)he's going to prevail.

reader Peter F. said...

Maybe we Nordic people are extra prone to _try_ to 'see the light'; And and this for real (not just metaphorical) reasons!

reader Peter F. said...

Compare it to sifting or panning sand in search for gold (or some other known to be valuable element/- containing mineral).
More sand/diversity will tend to bring about more valuable gold but sifting sand in known to be non-gold carrying locations is not going to pay off - though it may still be pleasurable work for some addictively hopeful and workaholic prospectors. ;-)

reader lucretius said...

I was always sure, Kimmo, that you would take it in this spirit. This is, after all, why I was ready to give you 30 points start (+ the initial 5, of course) on the CP index.

I would like to add that, while I still think your TOE is (probably) most aptly described by Lubos favourite c word, I would personally miss your absence here.

There is, of course, a minuscule chance that you will be proven right and all us sceptics will have to “eat crow”. Since I am very fond of historical examples I will use this opportunity to tell one here.

At the end of the 16th century, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was at the hight of its power. It still had not descended into the hind of anarchy that destroyed it in the 18th century and in the persons of the king Stephen Batory (a Hungarian from Transilvania, from the same family as infamous Elisabeth Bathory who is believed to have been one of the models for the vampire Count Dracula) and his chancellor Jan Zamoyski, had two of its greatest political and military leaders. Russia, ruled by Ivan the Terrible, had long been an enemy of the Commonwealth and had in recent wars captured a lot of territory from it, so the King and Chancellor decided to settle the problem once and for all. They collected a large and for the times exceptionally modern army and embarked on a war whose aim was nothing short of complete conquest of Russia. Batory’s ultimate aim was to create the greatest power in Europe that would be able to drive the Ottoman Turks out of Europe and in the process liberate his country of birth - Hungary.

The Commonwealth armies inflicted a number of defeats on the Russians and advanced until they reached the giant fortress of Pskov.

But in spite of all their military skill and the most modern technology for the times, they could not capture it. The siege is well described here:


In the end a peace was signed, favourable to the Commonwealth, which regained all its lost possessions but Batory’s great ambitions could not be fulfilled.

Two decades later both Ivan the Terrible and Stephen Batory had died. Russia was in turmoil. Ivan’s young son Dmitri had been murdered and the new tsar, Boris Godunov, was widely suspected of having been implicated. A young monk, Grigory Otrepyev, escaped to the Commonwealth and started passing himself of as Ivan’s son Dmitri (very much alive) and the rightful heir to the throne of Russia.

A group of Polish noblemen decided to support him with a small private army, made up mostly of Cossacks and set out on a “private enterprise” conquest of Moscow, something that the full might of the Polish-Lithuanian state was insufficient to accomplish only 20 years earlier.

The old chancellor Zamoyski was still alive and, as a sensible man, completely opposed this mad enterprise. He publicly declared that “if this madness succeeds, it will be necessary do destroy all books on statecraft and the art of war - for they will have been proved useless, all men that were considered wise will have been proved fools and the fools will have to be considered as great men”.

And, yet the madness did succeed, a group of Cossacks did what a huge and heavily armed army failed to do and Dmitri did became Tsar - be it only for a short time.


reader Dilaton said...

To describe the experimentally course grained physics observed, the fundamental microscopic questions have certainly to be course grained too, such that the overall effect of the interactions happening at the smaller scales / higher energies are just "parameterized" in the coarse grained equations.

The standard model equations are just effective equations that describe the physics at the EW scale, but at higher energy scales (GUT, Planck, with luck lower) additional/different terms may become important. As I understand it nothing has to be cut off, just the important terms in the effective equations may change ... (?)

reader lucretius said...

Actually, I almost completely agree with you. I like Kimmo and I think his 'cracpoterry" is completely harmless and can even be entertaining. I can't speak for Luboš, but I suspect his feelings are not very different, since he has explicitly rejected the calls to ban Kimmo from this blog.

Vladimir Kalitvianski can be a little irritating, particularly when he insists that he is a victim of some sort of conspiracy involving a peculiar combination of `t Hooft and Luboš, and that someone (Mankind? The French taxpayers? Who?) "owes" him financial support in order so that he can “prove” that renormalization and most of the recent physics is wrong. He never explains whether he thinks everyone else who makes claims of this kind should also receive financial support and if so where is all this money supposed to come from? Should Kimmo and Vladimir Leonov also receive the same kind of support?

Vladimir Kalitvianski is also very upset that people refuse to read his paper in which he “demolishes” ‘t Hooft and renormalisation, but he has never expresed himself any willingness to read Kimmo’s quite short account of his TOE or Vladimir Leonov’s over 700 page long Theory of Superunification (http://leonov-leonovstheories.blogspot.com ). Why? Presumably because he thinks that they are “cracpots” while he is not. Sorry, this may be just bad luck, but I don’t find the evidence in his favour.

Vladimir Leonov is a rather different case since he is not a regular participant in these discussions and has only written once to announce that his Nobel prize was stolen (his words) by Higgs. So I think he case does not need any further discussion.

As for Unzicker (and also Woit and perhaps Smolin - although I know almost nothing of him), personally I don’t think they are actually crackpots in the strict sense. I see them as some of many individuals who, frustrated in their own ambitions and suffering from hurt pride, discovered that they while they cannot hope for a career in physics, they can do quite nicely as its “critics” - appealing to simiilarly frustrated but less enterprising and even less well informed but equally frustrated individuals. Of course these guys, unlike the other kind, can do some real damage, although I think Unzicker can do much less than Woit, since the latter is a lot more intelligent, knowledgeable and better connected (and this is even more true of Smolin). So I am pretty sure that my description of Unzicker as a “boring crackpot” is almost certainly correct and I almost certainly would not read his book even if I could get it free, since I think it would be a total loss of time. But I am a little curious about Smolin’s book (probably because I no so little about him).

reader Vladimir Kalitvianski said...

No, you did not answer my questions. First, about existence and interactions of non observable particles. How do we know them? Second, I spoke about a specific model QED, not about a theory pretending to cover all particles.

reader Kimmo Rouvari said...

Completely harmless... I'll ask again after the results ;-)

reader Kimmo Rouvari said...

I updated a bit my prediction http://www.toebi.com/blog/applications/juno-flyby-anomaly/

I'm not totally sure if my predicted 1.111 mm/s is at perigee or total anomalous speed increase. Forgive my poor modeling.

reader kashyap vasavada said...

Lubos; I enjoy reading your blog and also comments by other readers. A request: is it possible to arrange comments in chronological order i.e. oldest comments at top, most recent at the bottom. This would be much more convenient if people read comments and then later in the day or next day they come back again to read some more comments. Right now many comments seem to be in random order. Some blogs do have them in chronological order. So I suppose it is not hard to redesign the website like that. I do not know if other people have asked for this. Thanks.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Kashyap, at the top of the DISQUS comment section, there is "Best - My Disqus - Share" etc. Click at the Best and change it to Newest. The replies are still organized under their parent comments but the parent comments are sorted newest-up, oldest-down. You may also choose "Oldest" which means "oldest-up, newest-down".

reader kashyap vasavada said...


reader Gordon said...

I suggest that the same experiment be replicated for the 3 geniuses that was performed on "The Three Christs of Ypsilanti"


reader Newtspeare said...

Just imagine if Lubos had been at the trial of Galileo: “Recant? No way, the man is a heretic, and must be burnt at the stake. Everybody knows the earth is stationary, the theory of epicycles proves this to extraordinary degrees of accuracy. Crackpots like Copernicus and Galilei will surely burn in hell-fires for their lies.”

reader DuckDuckGo said...

Brian Greene explain some math behind the higgs boson etc

reader Asmilwho said...

Unzicker had an unintentionally funny radio spot this morning in Germany, spouting the same old nonsense:


(It's in German)

Still, he sounds very serious ( or being German, just glum) so what he says must be true ;-)

reader -1/4FµvFµv+iYDY said...

Unzicker has nice comments but can't prove standard model of particle physics wrong. he is jealous

reader Eugene S said...

Chapter 12 of that "book" written by the nasty crackpot schoolteacher in Munich is online (in English) at Telepolis.de. In the comments section there (in German), several people including TRF reader Dr. Christian Gapp nicely demolish the crackpot's "argument" (if you can call it an argument). I won't lie to you, however. A significant number of commenters defend the pamphlet and its author. Well. as P.T. Barnum knew, there's a sucker born every minute.

reader Eigenstate said...

The BEST book I ever read! Extremely well written.

The counter-offensive by Cheerleeders for the Standard Theory become ever more Puerile.

Ad hominen attacks against Unzicker himself are their only recourse, having no rational counter argument.

Sadly Pathetic

reader Dilaton said...

Hi @Lumo, the TRF anti-spam firewall obviously has again a security leak, can it be fixed ... :-/?

This kind of agressive low-level spam is so self-similar (maybe it is even conformally invariant) that a good programmer should even be able to write a script which automatically filters such things out ;-)

Maybe I should ask Polarkernel :-P

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Dilaton, I don't do general censorship on this blog. This crackpot's comment appeared in my moderation queue, I checked it didn't look like Unzicker himself, unless he is visiting Sweden now, I said "what a stunning imbecile", and I approved the comment.

reader Dilaton said...

Hm ok,

one of the advantages I liked about TRF was that it used to be relatively free of such agressive spam ...

Anyway, seems I have enough to do looking that things go in the right direction in my own online living room...

reader Ofer Comay said...

I also have read the book. It contains quite a few mistakes, but it's a good book, and much of the Unzicker's criticism is correct. The aggressive language that Unzicker uses is not appropriate, but he did that in purpose, as he wrote in the summary of his book.

Regarding "offensive language" - I'm quite amazed by the blatant language that you and your friend "Dilaton" use in this blog. The "imbecile reader" (as you called him) is right - the only way to defend the standard model against valid arguments, is to attack the victims personally.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Thanks for your comment which was helpful for me because I could settle the question whether it is realistically possible that you will ever contribute a sensible or insightful observation about anything. The answer to that question is No which is why you were placed on the blacklist. I just don't want this blog to become another cesspool where the likes of you pretend how wonderful they are.

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