The Bogdanov Affair

John Baez

December 6, 2004

Here are PDF files of referee's reports for three of the Bogdanov's papers:

The latter two reports mainly confine themselves to summarizing the paper and correcting spelling errors, typos, and stylistic mistakes. The Classical and Quantum Gravity referee's report also demands many clarifications, which presumably the Bogdanovs provided.

Eli Hawkins also refereed a paper by the Bogdanoffs, for Journal of Physics A. He recommended rejection:

 From: Eli Hawkins 
 Date: May 13, 2003 1:54:12 PM EDT
 To: John Baez
 Subject: Old Controversy

   Journal of Physics A finally sent me a copy of the referee report I 
 definitely in contrast to the other referee reports you show on your 
 web page. Feel free to distribute this if you want to.
     - Eli

 This paper is built around the idea that "at the Planck scale, the 
 "space-time system" is in a themodynamical equilibrium state". It is 
 not quite clear what the author means by this, but on page 4 he seems 
 to be referring to a Friedman model of a homogeneous universe with 
 thermal matter. He may mean that when the matter is at the Planck 
 temperature, it is in thermodymanic equilibrium with the geometry. He 
 does not explain why there should not be thermal equilibrium at all 
 temperatures. It may be simply that the author does not know what he 
 is talking about.

 The main result of this paper is that this thermodynamic equilibrium 
 should be a KMS state. This almost goes without saying; for a quantum 
 system, the KMS condition is just the concrete definition of 
 thermodynamic equilibrium. The hard part is identifying the quantum 
 system to which the condition should be applied, which is not done in 
 this paper.

 It is difficult to describe what is wrong in Section 4, since almost 
 nothing is right. The author seems to believe that just because an 
 analytic continuation of a function exists, the argument "must" be 
 considered a complex number. He also makes the rather obvious claims 
 in eq's 6 and 7 that complex numbers should be the sums of real and 
 imaginary parts. The remainder of the paper is a jumble of misquoted 
 results from math and physics. It would take up too much space to 
 enumerate all the mistakes: indeed it is difficult to say where one 
 error ends and the next begins.

 In conclusion, I would not recommend that this paper be published in 
 this, or any, journal.

© 2004 John Baez