In the comment section of the last post, Lubos Motl points to the story of Billy Cottrell, a young string theorist at Caltech accused of being involved in the vandalism of SUVs. Evidently he has now testified against others at his trial, so the “Free Billy Support Network” (which was asking people to send string theory papers to him in prison) has been disbanded and he is being referred to as a “police informant”.
Despite being a string theorist, Cottrell seems to not be the brightest bulb around, having supposedly used a Caltech computer he was logged into to send an anonymous e-mail to the media claiming responsibility for the SUV vandalism.
The local Pasadena newspaper’s report on his testimony at his trial says that he corrected Judge Gary Klausner “when the judge asked if string theory, Cottrell’s focus at Caltech, is “an area of physics.’
“It’s the area of physics,’ Cottrell said.”
His lawyers “attributed his odd behavior in testifying to Asperger’s syndrome”, a mild form of autism.
Funny, Cottrell isn’t the only one who goes on like this about string theory. Maybe there’s a lot of autism going around.
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