This year’s Nobel Prize rumors were rife with the name of Professor Sir John Pendry, FRS of the Imperial College, London. The guy probably waited for that fateful call that would change his life forever. But it never came. Not this year.
John Pendry is a Brit who did some stuff on propagation of light (electromagnetic waves) in structured medium. He came up with “metamaterials” that display unexpected optical behavior. Basically, what he did was to force light to follow certain paths – perfectly within the laws of high school physics when you get down to it – in the geometric structures he designed. Interesting engineering-wise, but there is hardly any physics contribution here. Speaking of structures, one of his British physicist colleagues designs some patterns to go on TP!
But a tremendous promotional campaign was organized behind Pendry – the kind of campaign that generates sufficient momentum to propel you to Arlanda Airport. The campaign goes like this: The person being groomed is showered with one accolade after another. He is made very visible on the world stage. He is in the media. The activities reach a crescendo. Subliminal suggestions are conveyed to the Nobel folks. Here is one: This item posted on 28 July 2009 in an Imperial College web page is the latest twist in that campaign, and it suggests that the final momentum has been achieved, and the next step should be the Nobel Prize. It even seems to suggest (symbolically) that Pendry will be in Copenhagen in November, and could easily pop over to Stockholm in December to pick up the package from the King of Sweden.
Professor Sir John Pendry, FRS
The race has been joined.
As America builds the Teleporter and the Time Machine, Britain is fielding the Invisible Man and the Lost Platoon.
Then the Time Machine will go in the Teleporter, the Invisible Man will go in Time Machine, the Lost Platoon will fight the Morlocks …
(Watch the oxdung artistes galore!)
It has just been announced that John Pendry has been awarded a UNESCO-Niels Bohr gold medal. This prestigious award is made annually by the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen for outstanding contributions to Physics and John will receive it at a ceremony in Denmark in November for his “ground-breaking contributions to meta-materials”.
This comes hot on the heels of an honorary degree bestowed on John by Duke University last month and notice of an honorary degree from the University of Erlangen to be awarded next year.
The phrase “hot on the heels” seems to be a signal to the Nobel folks to get on with it and fulfil their destiny, pronto! Does Pendry deserve the Physics Nobel Prize? If the prize were given on promise of great achievement, certainly. For Sir John’s promise is far beyond the realm of the visible universe. How? Let me ‘splain with a scenario.
It is a leisurely Sunday morning inside the cave in the Tora Bora mountains. Deep in the bowels of the rugged and stony mountains, there is this comfortable, carpeted and warm living space where UBL sits and holds court. He is secure in the knowledge that he is protected by many layers of security. And any attacks from air will not affect his stronghold.
So UBL and his lieutenants are sipping milked sweet tea and laughing and talking. But suddenly , out of thin air, there materialize, in that cave, several uzi submachine guns waving in the air, pointed at UBL. Just the guns hanging in he air, nothing else.
How?! Thank Professor Sir John Pendry, FRS. (Ta muchly, Sir john!) He has invented nothing less than the Invisible Man, along with invisible war materiel of all kinds. Seriously, no joke. The UK Defense establishment is spending serious money on this.
That is the promise. It certainly deserves a “promisory” Nobel Prize. If not, then the year the Invisible Man walks the Earth, is the year Sir John will get that Swedish-accented call from Stockholm. All he has to is make sure is that he is near a phone, and visible.
John Pendry – Fellow of the Royal Society and a Knight of the Realm – is a very fine example of a within-establishment science scam artiste.
From Pendry’s lab to the invisible charging battle tank is as great a distance as from his American colleagues’ labs to the Beam-me-up-Scottie Teleporter and the intergalactic travelers’ Time Machine. It is not that these academic blighters are smoking some high-grade potent stuff. It is that they are peddling this nonsense with great level-headedness and calm deliberation. Great moneys are flowing their way from the national coffers. Bernie Madoff’s got no finesse!
Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann tried to do the society some real, down-to-earth good. They did some ingenious research, but got it wrong. Now the hype-busting zeal of the establishment became so intense that they nailed the two to the wall. If one percent of that zeal were applied to the aforementioned actors today, they would be seen plainly as the scammers they are. Instead, they are being lauded as superscientists of the establishment.
What Pons and Fleischmann wanted to do is most mundane: They wanted to contribute to the solution of the energy crisis (which had not yet become so starkly evident.) What the above actors are doing is most sublime and most thrilling: The are promising to take the society to a science fiction world. They are selling advance E-ticket rides.
Reader, you may wish to read also the exploits of Sir Bilkis “Sgt. Bilko” Pendragon:
Tags: When the nobles scam you