Wikipedia: Encylopedia of Ignorance-1. Just accusations?

The Wikipedist says: Raju has repeatedly accused Einstein and Newton of plagiarism. The citation is a report by the Hindu.  Let us take just the case of Einstein.

First, what I did was a lot more substantial. I pointed out a mistake made by Einstein, and overlooked by most researchers in the last century, and suggested a new system of equations. This went well beyond Poincaré in (a) pointing out the need to use mixed-type functional differential equations, (b) solving functional differential equations in a key context, and (c) relating it to quantum mechanics. Compared to the difficulty of suggesting an alternative physics, an accusation is something any one can make: even a Wikipedist! This is typical of how a Wikipedist interjects opinion, by trivializing achievements which are beyond his or her comprehension.

It would be more accurate to put things like this: “Raju pointed out a mathematical error made by Einstein, and overlooked by other researchers over the last century. He has explained the corrected equations in detail,  solved them in special cases, and argued that relativity compels a further major reformulation of physics.”

Secondly, I provided proof that Poincaré had earlier postulated the constancy of the speed of light in 1904 (and had derived and published the Lorentz transformation) in 1905 before Einstein submitted his paper. Thus, Poincaré had published every bit of the theory of relativity before Einstein. In the last 16 years, no one could contest in print a single point I made. An accusation is one thing, solid proof that the theory of relativity existed earlier is another. But checking out those facts presumably calls for too much effort; so the Wikipedist goes by the common stories, setting aside the evidence, just like the devotees of godmen. 

Matters would be better put thus: “Raju brought out a mass of evidence that every bit of special relativity was published earlier by Poincaré during 1898-1905. In the last 16 years no one has contested an iota of this evidence, first published in 1992.”

All that pro-Einstein experts could say in defence of Einstein was that Einstein made an “independent rediscovery”. Is there any evidence that Einstein saw the earlier work of Lorentz and Poincaré? It is on record that Einstein read Poincaré’s 1902 book. What he has denied reading is Poincaré’s and Lorentz’s 1904 papers. We have only his word for it. On the other hand, it was Whittaker who pointed out in 1952 that the very term “principle of relativity” was first used by Poincaré in his 1904 paper, while in his 1902 book he only spoke of “principle of relative motion”. So Whittaker said that Einstein repeated the theory of Poincaré and Lorentz, using their words for it.

I have added to Whittaker’s argument by pointing out the casual use of the term “longitudinal mass” by Einstein, in his 1905 paper, as if it is an established term, which peculiar term was carefully used for the first time in a 1904 paper by Lorentz which Einstein denied seeing. There is more, but the faithful can always believe in coincidences (and even miracles). 

Lastly, let me set the record straight. The evidence I have brought out is undoubtedly damning. And it is not just the case of special relativity alone. However, I would be interested in a citation from any of my published works where I have actually called Einstein (or Newton) a plagiarist! (That’s a challenge.)

Here is what my press release of 2003 actually said:

“Was Einstein a habitual plagiarist?

“Einstein’s ideas were remarkably similar to those earlier put forward by the leading minds of the time: Poincaré, Hilbert, Boltzmann, Gibbs, and Bose. Since those ideas were either published earlier, or communicated to him, Einstein knew or ought to have known about this earlier work, which he claimed to have independently rediscovered. Does that make him a plagiarist? Or is it a case of great minds repeatedly thinking alike (even though Einstein’s earlier and later life gives no indication of such greatness)? As a patent clerk, Einstein had to know the patent law: copying ideas is not plagiarism, unless one copies also the exact expression of those ideas. Therefore, he already well knew that the legal answer to the above question is: No.”

The Hindu report, however, says that I called Einstein a “habitual plagiarist”. Journalists obviously have no time or space for such nuances. (The Hindu report even gets the spelling of Poincaré wrong.) The Wikipedist seems one notch below that, for the Wikipedist learns from the journalist but does not bother to cross-check by reading what I actually said in my books or even in the press release (which was archived at just to facilitate such cross-checking.)

By setting aside the major correction to physics I have proposed, setting aside the mass of evidence I have brought out, and by focussing on an accusation which I never made explicitly, what the Wikipedist has done is to offer an opinion which is very poorly informed—excessively so.


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