Another book that I picked up in Paris is Lubos Motl’s L’Équation Bogdanov: Le secret de l’origine de l’Univers?. It’s a rather weird document, a mish-mash of defense of the Bogdanovs (partly by comparing their ideas favorably to loop quantum gravity), generalities about cosmology, and promotional material about string theory. Among the odd features of a book entitled “The Bogdanov Equation” is that there is no “Bogdanov Equation” in the book (or anywhere else, as far as I know). In a comment on his blog posting about the book Lubos writes
If there is an equation written by the twins that can be shown to explain the origin of the Universe, you will read about it in the book. If there is none, you won’t find such big statements. But I can’t tell you and others the punch line here. Wink
I don’t think it’s hard to guess which alternative is the right one…
One of the great mysteries of the book is that of its authorship. Supposedly it was written by Lubos in English, then translated into French. I don’t doubt that large parts of it were written by him, although in a style somewhat different from his blog, and then passed through the filter of translation. Some parts of it though, especially some of the details of the endless defense of the Bogdanovs I can’t believe were written by him. For instance, pages 187-189 are taken up with a translation into French of this internet mailing list posting by “Osher Doctorow Ph.D.”, and the author is described as “Professor Osher Doctorow, mathematician at the California State University”, which appears to be misinformation of a Bogdanovian rather than Lubosian sort.
Another commenter on the same blog posting by Lubos gives a long and detailed list of dubious things in the book and states that “To make it short, I have the impression that you are not the sole author of the book.”, asking him to clarify this issue. The response is
Sorry but I have neither time, nor desire, not the full rights to answer ten kilobytes of such questions, some of which are well-informed observations but most of which are not.
The book is created not only as a blog but also to satisfy a contract with the publisher. So I was okaying some proposals from the publisher. It is essentially good if you can identify these places.
Theoretical physics in recent years has produced some very odd things, this book is one of the most bizarre.