The worst physics book I’ve ever skimmed
Imagine, if you would, me just browsing libgen for a bit. All kinds of books are on there—from multiple different publishers I can read works on just about anything, by just about anyone. Some books caught eye because they seem interesting, and they cover topics I’m interested in; some have a catchy title; some cover topics that sound potentially cool. It was then I saw one book with a really catchy title, The Math of Body, Soul, and the Universe. Plenty of books, especially popular science books, have titles like that—I thought to myself that I would just be looking at a popular science book, or maybe at worst a weird new-age word-salad.
Fuck no—just looking at the table of contents made me want to puke.
It’s important to recognize, first, that The Math of Body is a continuation of another work, The World Formula, by a single author, Norbert Schwarzer. I’ve seen cranks before—physics is chock-full of them—but none quite as strangely compelling as Norbert. It’s not often that some random crank has a book released by Jenny Stanford, a publishing company with a distribution deal from Taylor & Francis.1
Knowing that, I delved into The Math of Body, and then quickly decided to look at The World Formula first, and it is where I will focus most of my attention, because they’re both relatively similar—I could really give a shit about whether or not one is a sequel or prequel, they’re both practically the same, except for one aspect: Math of Body includes a full copy of another book self-published by Norbert’s friend about his daughter dying of cancer, and his attempt to explain the world—with Norbert’s bullshit theories, mind you—to that suffering child, who just decided to stop receiving cancer treatments because of the immense suffering they caused.
Both books begin with a chapter called “some fundamental motivation,” which can only be described as an utterly unhinged screed about either climate change or, in the case of Math of Body, COVID-19 as well. The rants aren’t really revolutionary by many stretches of the imagination—both are standard-faire Fox News bullshit, peppered with remarks about quantum gravity or some other mumbo jumbo.
Clearly this isn’t just any bad physics book, what I’m looking at is advanced bad—the kind that makes me want to puke, again. Both Math of Body and The World Formula are indecipherable, following the same general theme of ranting about politicians and dying kids, then moving into talking about some incoherent, and bad physics. Unlike youtube channels such as Professor Dave, I’m not interested in debunking the minutiae of the author’s work—I think anyone that says that human behaviors can be calculated, as has been posited in both the books I’m writing about, with a simple equation should be laughed at.
What is really concerning, however, is the publisher. Jenny Stanford has published some decent books, such as Introduction to Quantum Transport in Semiconductors, by D.K. Ferry. I do my best to not constantly think to myself to limit myself to just reading a few journals—like Nature, Physical Review, etc.—but Norbert’s book sheds light on just how lax editing policies can be. Who the hell would publish something like this? Does Jenny Stanford let people pay to publish their books?—or is it like an APS conference sort of thing, where they’ll publish some crank shit so that the rest of the world can keep going about their daily lives?
No god will forgive whatever editor allowed Norbert to publish his books.
Sorry if this was incoherent, I’m tired and my brain is fried from reading that piece of shit book, like a pillowy mound of mashed dicks.
Of course, many large publishers have crank journals—Elseiver, Springer, Taylor & Francis, and Wiley focus on quantity over quality, so publications—especially journals—are often of extremely variable quantity. ↩︎