The story in detail...
In 1994 I proposed (a) a new paradigm for physics (b) based on functional differential equations. (c) I proved that this could explain key features of quantum mechanics.
Knowledgeable people understood my point, and my book Time: Towards a Consistent Theory was published by the foremost scientific publisher in the area. Reviewers praised it. Many scientists still did not understand why a paradigm shift was needed, so the idea was also fiercely debated in conferences. As a fallout of these debates, I clarified these ideas in a paper for the specialist, and even explained them for the layperson in another book.
In 2005, Sir Michael Atiyah, winner of two awards at the level of the Nobel prize, and former President of the Royal Society, repeated my claims during his Einstein lecture: proposing (a) a new paradigm for physics (b) using functinal differential equations. (c) He conjectured that this could explain quantum mechanics.
Atiyah was immediately informed about my work, and he acknowledged the email. However, through a "second oversight" his claim to my ideas was reported in the June-July 2006 issuse of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 8 months later. The Notices is a widely read journal, so Atiyah's claim to my ideas received very wide publicity. My work again went unacknowledged. Had my work been acknowledged, the article could hardly have been published. To drive home Atiyah's claim, it was catchily named "Atiyah's hypothesis". Atiyah certainly knew about my work at this time. He had also seen a draft of the article in the Notices before its publication.
Belated acknowledgment
After a prolonged protest, my earlier work was briefly acknowledged in an inconspicuous letter in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society, April 2007. But the letter did not mention or explain the peculiar "second oversight". (Atiyah had admittedly seen a draft of the article prior to publication.)
I wrote a letter "Is this ethical?" to the Notices of the AMS, explaining how this procedure of belated acknowledgment without an apology set a faulty precedent contrary to the stated ethics of the AMS.
According to the AMS ethics it is unethical to not acknowledge past work, and unethical to plead that this was done on grounds ignorance. But if someone does something unethical, at least there should be a public apology. Allowing a belated acknowledgment without an apology would encourage plagiarists. Everyone can have a try at claiming independent rediscovery, and then acknowledge the past work only when compelled to do so. (The claim of independence can still be kept intact.)
In fact, on the precdent actually set by the AMS, everyone gets two chances to claim someone else's work as his own, once by himself, on grounds of ignorance, and once through others!
This is hardly the sort of precedent that a learned society like the American Mathematical Society should encourage.
In my letter I advanced a third argument to show that Atiyah knew of my work even at the time of his "first oversight" during his Einstein lecture. The onus of proof is not on me to prove copying. However, I gave such proof.
The idea of the proof derives from my experience as a teacher. While grading the answer sheets of students, one often comes across a situation where two answer sheets are remarkably similar. How does one determine whether one student had copied from another? The method I use is to call the students and ask them questions. If a student does not fully understand what he has written, that is proof of copying. Thus, the idea is that, in a situation of suspect copying, lack of understanding is proof of copying.
Later I applied this test to the cases of purported independent rediscovery in the history of science. How to determine whether a claim of independent rediscovery is genuine or dishonest? The same principle applies: those who copy do so without full understanding, so they tend to make conceptual mistakes.
A conceptual mistake is proof of lack of understanding. On my epistemic test, such a conceptual mistake is, therefore, proof of copying, in the context of a claim of "independent rediscovery". Atiyah had made such a conceptual mistake, and I pointed it out. (See more details below.)
However, the AMS refused to publish this letter.
Why did it do that? There are deep suspicions surrounding the case. The AMS itself is involved. It should have admitted its error. If there was something wrong with what I said, the AMS could have set suspcions to rest, by publishing my letter, and publicly defending its actions. It did not do that, because it has no solid defence but is guilty as charged.
A number of academics, including many leading academics from India, protested, that in this whole matter, which concerned me so deeply, the AMS had not given me even a single chance to express my side of the matter. Doing things in such a one-sided way is itself an indication that something is seriously wrong.
The AMS has stonewalled this protest so far---another implicit admission of guilt.
What makes this whole blatant episode even more extraordinary is that even Atiyah's "first oversight" already involves a fantastic coincidence.
To understand this fantastic coincidence, one needs the following background about Einstein.
In the popular imagination, today, Einstein is associated with the special theory of relativity. In fact, however, the French mathematician Henri Poincare was working on relativity well before Einstein, and Einstein was certainly aware of Poincare's work up to 1902. However, Einstein denied having read Poincare's 1904 and 1905 papers which gave a full account of relativity.
So, we have another unpleasant case of purported independent rediscovery associatied with Einstein. My epistemic test, however, applies to this case as well.
My key point was that Einstein, unlike Poincare, had made a mathematical mistake about functional differential equations. Therefore, Einstein's claim of independent rediscovery was not genuine. (More details about Einstein's mistake may be found here.)
My other key point was that by correcting Einstein's mistake, one could carry relativity to its logical conclusion, and explain quantum mechanics.
This was the point that Atiyah copied, and advanced as his own suggestion, although without mentioning the part about Einstein's mistake.
This involved a fantastic coincidence of timing: "Atiyah's" suggestion "accidentally" corrected Einstein's mathematical mistake during his Einstein lecture, exactly 100 years after Einstein's relativity paper! Atiyah would like people to believe that this happened "accidentally" without him knowing (a) that Einstein had made a mathematical mistake in the matter, or (b) that Poincare had not, or (c) that I had pointed out the difference.
Instead of believing in this fantastic coincidence, there is a simple and natural explanation. Atiyah heard about my stand on Einstein, and read my book while preparing for his Einstein lecture. He could have easily found the book in the library, or have heard about the talks I gave. He could have heard of the related debate or paper, either directly or from a colleague. He could have heard of my work through citations, or found the book's website. He could have come across other web references to my point about Einstein's mistake or the press release that I put out for my next book, or to news items relating to my claims about Einstein, or to links to the news items. As a scholar speaking on Einstein, Atiyah should certainly have been aware of my work.
Therefore, it is easier to believe that Atiyah already knew of my work, and hid the fact, than to believe in the fantastic coincidence involved in the claim of even the "first oversight".
Atiyah is, of course, well aware of the Poincare-Einstein matter, and commented to the local press about it on that very day. He said that Einstein was no mathematician ("he needed help"). He also said that although "most [but not all] people" credit to Einstein for relativity, Poincare was "very close". So Atiyah certainly knew that there are some people who do not credit Einstein with relativity.
Thus, Atiyah's claim of "independent rediscovery", during his Einstein lecture, was an ironically fitting tribute to Einstein's claim of "independent redisovery" a hundred years ago! If one plagiarist succeeds so well, there will be a thousand cynics who will try to imitate this success.
Equally ironically, in the process, Atiyah himself made a conceptual mistake as Einstein had done. Atiyah proposed using functional differential equations as a hypothesis, later called "Atiyah's hypothesis", though no hypothesis was necessary. (My point was that this was the matheamtically correct way to do physics after relativity.)
Even a layperson can understand Atiyah's mistake. How? Watch the video of Atiyah's second lecture. His mistake was repeatedly pointed out by David Gross (2004 Nobel laureate in physics), but Atiyah did not understand. That is proof for persons who understand authority, not physics.
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