Guess Fake Physics Papers
    By Tommaso Dorigo | June 3rd 2010 09:06 AM | 10 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Tommaso

    I am an experimental particle physicist working with the CMS experiment at CERN. In my spare time I play chess, abuse the piano, and aim my dobson...

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    I just received by Matin Durrani, editor of Physics World, a link to a fun game, and thought I'd give it a try. The game consists in guessing which among two titles of physics papers is right, and which one is instead artificially generated by the snarxiv, a witty endeavour which aims at showing just how arcane and odd-looking may physics abstracts be.

    Try it for yourself here, it is not as easy as it sounds, but at least it is fast and immediate to play. I cannot avoid bragging about my own result here, which is more or less in line with my actual qualification as a professional physicist:

    The snarxiv actually is more than a game.  It is a creation of David Simmons-Duffin, and you can learn about it here.


    That was fun!

    I know absolutely nothing about your field.  Here's what I got using the WAGTM method:

    WAG - Wild-Ass Guess. :-)
    12 correct out of 17 guesses - Physics Major! Although I'm not. And at some point in the game, I was "as good as a monkey". Fun, fun.

    23 out of 30 (77%) — 1st year grad student. :-)

    Daniel de França MTd2
    2 out of 2 correct. Nobel prize winner. Just answer really fast, and even a monkey can get a prize 25% of the times.
    Johannes Koelman
    Indeed, key is to know when to stop... ;)
    Nice find Tommaso!
    So how are you guys inserting images? Let me try this:

    That didn't work, here's the source, 2 of 11, crackpot:

    Hmm. Cheating is possible. Just try search engine... The rest depends on how lazy you are. I've seen best scores results, and I'm sure most of presented there are obtained precisely that way!

    I wonder what would happen if Alan Sokal made a version for Social Text where "cultural studies" professors could guess between, for instance: "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity" and "Dialectic Precapitalist Theory and Libertarianism Relating to Biospectacularity and the Production of Post-Cold War Knowledge in El Salvador". Probably they would first accuse him of being intentionally deceitful and then try to sue him for defamatory trickery.