Talk:Luboš Motl

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Untitled[edit]

I removed the reference to "flame wars". Lubos/Lumidek, I've seen you in many Usenet debates and you know that I often don't like what you say and/or how you say it. But nothing has ever gone as far as what would traditionally qualify as a flame war. So don't be so hard on yourself! ^_^

-- Toby Bartels, 2004 May 10 (revised May 18)

i remember reading that lubos has an IQ of 150, which according to MENSA is "genius", and on sci.physics.strings he recommends strings over LQG
—Preceding unsigned comment added by 64.63.220.240 (talkcontribs) (Hawk Communications; geolocated in Chicago)
The average IQ of professional physicists is about 170. -- 68.108.253.185 (talk) 23:19, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
There is no way to reliably measure intelligence beyond an IQ of 130-140. Anybody quoting very high IQ numbers, ignore them. IQ looses any kind of significance beyond certain values. 79.237.146.104 (talk) 22:48, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Beliefs[edit]

See: http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A1ZDPQA6FLY8XM?ie=UTF8 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 134.139.24.131 (talkcontribs)

So he defines himself as a Christian and an Atheist. However, Category:Atheist scientists "is a category for scientists who identify as atheists and for whom being atheist is relevant to their public life or occupation." That doesn't seem to be true for Dr. Motl, does it? We shouldn't track down the religious beliefs of every scientist and stuff them in categories; that's silly. -- SCZenz 22:46, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
Prof Motl is also interested in politics. Like many people of his age from Eastern Europe, he is not a great fan of the left. Note that he called himself a "Christian atheist" in reviewing a political book by the late great Oriana Fallaci, not in discussing science.
I've added something about his blog, his politics and this label into the article, and removed the categories. My description of his politics is really bad; someone please improve it! CWC(talk) 00:39, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
Are we sure his political views are really notable? He has an article because he is a professor of physics at Harvard; if he blogged without that, I don't think he'd have one. -- SCZenz 03:06, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
Motl currently introduces his blog, "The Reference Frame", as being "... as seen from a conservative physicist's viewpoint". ErkDemon (talk) 16:52, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
"So and so has a blog, and calls himself an athiest christian in an Amazon review..." Encyclopedia Britanica it ain't. Some quality control, please.--GaeusOctavius 03:25, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
It's important to know about his religion, so it is going back in. 4.131.129.117 03:58, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
SCZenz makes a good point, but I still think it's good to have a brief mention of his blog (which is, in fact, mostly about string theory and useful to laymen like me). I wouldn't say it's important to mention his (non?)religious stance, but I think a brief mention makes the article a little more informative (as long as we avoid "undue weight") and linking to that Amazon review makes the article a lot more informative. I've edited the article accordingly. (BTW, GaeusOctavius's last few edits here are violations of WP:POINT. See User talk:GaeusOctavius for some of the background.) Cheers, CWC(talk) 08:57, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

From WP:LIVING Information supplied by the subject may be added to the article if (amongst other things) it is relevant to the person's notability. I think that has to be established here, and I think it has not been established here, certainly on religion, quite likely on politics. Charles Matthews 12:32, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

(<Wikilawyering>Um, doesn't that come from WP:BLP#Using the subject as a source? I don't think we're using Prof M as a source here.</Wikilawyering>)
I completely agree that whatever we say about the non-notable areas of someone's life has to be uncontroversial. However, I fear that the article already has something controversial about Prof M's writings on physics: the paragraph in this article about the Bogdanov Affair strikes me as giving undue weight to Prof M's belated and peripheral involvement in the Bogdanov mess.
I'm not certain what to do about this. Do other editors think this should be fixed? (If so, how?) Cheers, CWC(talk) 06:49, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

April 2007[edit]

I've just WP:BOLDly removed the text about "defend"ing the Bogdanov brothers (because that seems to me to mischaracterize the blog post in question) and trimmed down the politics/religion paragraph. Here's what we had before my edit:

Motl was one of the few physicists to defend the Bogdanov brothers' papers, though he did state about one that "the detailed structure of the paper (and very similar papers published elsewhere) probably makes no sense - at least no one has been able to understand the content of the paper in detail".[1]
Motl keeps a blog mainly about string theory but also discussing general science, politics and events at Harvard. In science, besides talking about string theory, he frequently criticizes research into global warming. In politics, he was one of few Harvard faculty willing to openly defend president Lawrence Summers's controversial remarks regarding women in science. In religion, following the example of Oriana Fallaci, he counts himself "as a Christian atheist" [2], [3] although he notes "how simple-minded and naive Christianity can be" [4] .

Here's the current version:

Motl keeps a blog mainly about string theory but also discussing general science, politics and events at Harvard. In science, besides talking about string theory, he frequently criticizes alarmism about global warming. In politics, he was one of few Harvard faculty willing to openly defend president Lawrence Summers's controversial remarks regarding women in science, and he admires the late Oriana Fallaci.[5]

I think the article is now much more balanced. Cheers, CWC 04:06, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Leaving Harvard[edit]

This really needs a source guys. And obviously a rewording, but the source comes first. --Theblog 18:53, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Deleted for the moment. No way WP can publish vague rumours about people's careers. Charles Matthews 19:36, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
Apparently one of LM's more bitter enemies has been trying to spread these rumours for months now. Sigh. CWC 01:50, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
LM is no longer listed on Harvard Physics faculty list [6]. I think this indicates that he has indeed left Harvard. I couldn't find any reliable sources on the circumstances of what has happened, though. Andris 05:17, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
While this: [7] is probably true, it is not a reliable source. I would say that a post on his own blog on the subject would be acceptable, but as a comment on another blog, that doesn't fly. --Theblog 06:12, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
There are a few blogs where commenters' identities are checked, but mostly it's easy to for a commenter to pretend to be someone else.
Some physics bloggers have mentioned the name Sarfati in connection with these rumours. Sigh. CWC 12:44, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
I have no knowledge of anything going on, I'm just trying to enforce WP:BLP policy, and as I said, the blog comment is not a RS. --Theblog 16:58, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
Clarification: Theblog is quite correct. Apologies if I seemed to be disagreeing. CWC 20:34, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm completely confused now. Motl's own webpage says "Assistant professor (*) of string theory (*) at the Jefferson Laboratories (*) Scholar in the Physics department (*) of Harvard University (*)". "Jefferson Laboratories" links to High Energy Physics group at Harvard which still lists him as an assistant professor and "Scholars" part of Harvard Physics website is not accessible from outside Harvard.
That web page has since disappeared. His name is still on the HETG group member page (but not on the department faculty page), but the link to Motl's webpage now gives a redirect to a 404 error. 128.118.174.92 15:52, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
I can't figure out what this means but he might still have an affiliation with Harvard. I propose that we keep any reports of him leaving Harvard out of the article, until someone presents us with a reliable source. Andris 18:52, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
I think someone is staging a hoax. CWC 20:34, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
Peter Woit has a blog at Columbia (http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/). He has posted that Lubos Motl is gone from Harvard (in a top level 'article (?)', not an anonymous post. Here: http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=573). Does this count as a source? --Mark Roulo
I don't think so. It's possible that Woit was taken in by Sarfarti (who is indeed the source of these rumors[8]). FWIW, (1) Motl is still in Harvard's phone directory and (2) a search for posts in 2007 containing "Harvard" on Motl's blog found no mention of him leaving. Cheers, CWC 11:03, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

That http://www.physicsbanter.com/particle-physics/79483-lubos-motls-forced-resignation-harvard.html is gone now (404'd). I came to the page about Dr. Motl looking for specifically information about his resignation from Harvard. Crasshopper (talk) 10:00, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

Motl isn't listed at the Harvard physics department list of faculty. What do people think about that as a source? -- SCZenz 12:10, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
(1) That's WP:OR, not a source. (2) I think he'd be classified as a Research Scholar (Page not accessible outside Harvard Network), not faculty. Sigh. CWC 23:29, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
(1) The official Harvard physics department list of faculty is the most reliable and authoritative source of who is faculty in the Harvard physics department. (2) Motl was classified as an Assistant Professor (here). He no longer is. As you note, a Research Scholar is not faculty. Academics are very picky about titles. It is possible that Motl is still employed by Harvard in some research capacity (though I doubt it, given the other evidence), but he is no longer an assistant professor or faculty member of the physics department. The entry should therefore note this (but not claim that he is no longer affiliated with or employed by Harvard). 128.118.174.92 15:38, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
I don't think it's original research actually; not if you used it as a source to state that Motl wasn't faculty at the physics department currently, at least. But I admit it's a stretch, and if different pages conflict, that's no good. -- SCZenz 05:16, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
Come on people, this is not so hard to believe. He's no longer listed on the Harvard physics faculty page, but the Internet Archive Wayback Machine shows that he used to be. This is not original research, this is a de facto statement by the department! Maybe they haven't gotten him off all the auxiliary pages yet (I know departments that still have remnants of employees lingering around years later), but universities don't screw around by "accidentally" removing professors from their official list of faculty. It's conceivable that he still retains some Harvard affiliation, but he's no longer a professor. On top of that there's also the Dorigo blog post above talking about leaving academia in 2 weeks, his own blog shows that a few weeks later he sold off his furniture and bike and returned to Czechoslovakia, and [Removed irrelevant comments and speculation. -- SCZenz 13:25, 10 August 2007 (UTC)] but being removed from the departmental faculty page is prima facie evidence which, if anything, is *more* authoritative than a blog post by Motl. Anyone would accept an official faculty department web site listing as sufficient evidence that someone is a professor there, you should accept explicit removal from such a page as evidence that they no longer are. It would go too far to say that he's no longer affiliated by Harvard, but it's perfectly acceptable to refer to him as a former professor. 72.72.203.216 12:15, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
He has not stated he is no longer a professor at Harvard on his blog, has he? Nothing else you mention is a reliable source. We need very good sources for biographies of living persons, period. Whether we believe it is irrelevant to the article. -- SCZenz 13:18, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
I have indeed given a reliable source: his employer, who demonstrably used to list him as faculty, but now no longer does (coinciding, of course, with all the other circumstantial evidence of his departure).
And why would his statements on his blog be a "reliable source" anyway? He can say (or refrain from saying) anything he wants, true or not. He could post on his blog that he's a distinguished professor at Caltech, but no one here would allow that to be reflected in his Wikipedia entry without actually checking Caltech's faculty list. And why is that? Because the latter is more authoritative than his blog. The official faculty listing of the Harvard department of physics is a reliable source of who, in fact, is employed as a faculty member of that department.
I submit that his employer is the most reliable source *possible* regarding his employment status. Why do you include Motl's web site as a "reliable source" concerning his employment, but discount the web site of his actual employer?
Note, too, that the vast majority of professors with entries on Wikipedia do not have blogs. If they have not stated on their (nonexistent) blogs that they are employed at that institution, how can any Wikipedia entry say that they work there? Because their institution officially lists them as faculty there, of course. Independent of any statements or lack thereof on personal blogs, the faculty listing of their institution is universally accepted on Wikipedia as a reliable source giving sufficient evidence who is employed there. One must conversely accept that if the institution does *not* list them as faculty, that is a reliable source giving sufficient evidence that they are not faculty there.
If any other faculty member left their institution, nobody would insist on a personal blog post as "proof"; the departing faculty might not even have a blog. Instead, Wikipedians would go by the institution's faculty list. You are demanding a higher standard of proof than is extant for any other faculty member on Wikipedia, for no justifiable reason.
If Motl had actually denied leaving Harvard, there would be a debate: you could ask whether his employer is falsifying his employment status, or whether Motl himself is. (And even in that case, his employer is still the more reliable source of the two!) In the absence of any such denial, there are no legitimate grounds to disregard Harvard's faculty listing as "unreliable".
Motl's silence on the matter on his blog is not reliable evidence of his continued employment there, and Harvard's explicit removal of Motl from their faculty list is reliable evidence of their termination of his faculty status. 128.118.174.92 15:17, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
You're missing the point. Removal from some (not all) Harvard faculty lists (as discussed above/below) is not the same as a direct statement from Harvard that his employment status has changed. The latter is a reliable source, while the former is speculation and original research done by Wikipedians using directory pages. University directory pages are unreliable, because they are intended for internal use, have glitches, and are sometimes updated slowly. Again, Wikipedia has the highest standards of verifiability with regard to the biographies of living persons.
Try reading the links; they'll shed light on what we're asking for. Our ideal source would be a newspaper article or official press release, not a blog at all. -- SCZenz 17:55, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
No, you're missing the point, which is that "a direct statement from the university, a newspaper article, or an official press release" is not the standard used by Wikipedia for verifying a professor's affiliation in any other case. In every other case, except for here, university directory pages *are* considered reliable enough to verify that a professor is or is not at a given institution. No one demanded an official press release from Harvard to verify his employment when Motl came there in the first place; there is no reason to demand it now when he's left. I'm calling for uniform standards here; you're making up new notions of "reliability" which are not used elsewhere on Wikipedia.
I reject your "intended for internal use" argument (the departmental web site is the *public* image of the department; deparments may have their own, different internal staff listings), as well as the "updated slowly" argument (which would explain an absence of his listing after being hired, but not the removal of his listing after leaving).
Departments do not generally offer press releases or statements when assistant professors leave. Given that, what reasonable procedure do you offer for removing a departed professor's affiliation from Wikipedia, other than verifiable objective evidence of his removal from the official public faculty listing?
You seem to insist that in order to change a professor's affiliation in Wikipedia, one must contact that professor personally. If so, why do we not similarly have to personally verify each professor's arrival? If that were the standard, affiliations would effectively never be added or removed from Wikipedia. The fact that Motl has a blog has no bearing here; what is sufficient evidence for a professor without a blog should be sufficient evidence for a professor with a blog.
I've read the links. The Wikipedia "reliable source", "original research" and "biographies of living persons" make do not support the standards you are claiming. Nowhere do they assert that departmental employee lists are unreliable sources of employment information; that is merely *your* assertion. To the contrary, they are primary sources of employment information, which are widely used in Wikipedia.
It doesn't matter what an "ideal" source is, it matters what a *sufficient* source is. Wikipedia does not demand press releases or personal statements to reliably verify an employee's employment status, within or outside of academia.
If Motl suddenly reappears on the physics faculty list, the Wikipedia entry can be amended. Unless that happens, you have no justification for why that list should be considered unreliable, and your interpretation of his removal from the list as a "glitch" is conjectural interpretation. What is not conjectural is the list reflecting the faculty of the department. 128.118.174.92 19:53, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
The statement (or implication) that Mr. Motl has left Harvard might be considered defamatory if it's false. Therefore accuracy is paramount. I've protected the page; you can click the link at the top to request unprotection if you think I've gone beyond policy. -- SCZenz 20:36, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
SCZenz's rationale is beyond weak as a justification for keeping a demonstrably false statement in a WP entry.
128.118.174.92 pointed out -- accurately -- that universities do not release statements to the press when they let their junior faculty go. Generally they do exactly what Harvard has just done: drop the name quietly from their faculty list.


SCZenz has failed to state when asked under what conditions -- barring a direct statement from Harvard that Motl has been terminated, which will never happen -- he would consider Motl's termination to be "reliably" established.
And SCZenz has failed to identify a single line in WP's rules that would indicate that a University's own faculty roster was not a reliable source for information about the composition of their own faculty!
At the same time, SCZenz has stated -- against WP rules and standards -- that an individual's own blog should be considered a reliable source (indeed, the *only* reliable source!) for information about their own controversial employment status.
Since SCZenz has failed to provide any remotely plausible standard here for keeping the article as is in the face of changing circumstances, I will wait a period of a few days and update Motl's entry to reflect the new situation.
Additionally: I have contacted the Harvard theory group directly and they have verified that Motl has indeed left the department. I would urge any Wikipedians to do the same -- the theory group's contact information, as well as that of the Physics department and the university provost, are easily available online -- before engaging in wild conspiracy theories.


One last thing: Since Harvard has decided to accept Motl's resignation or whatever events led to his no longer working there, it could be considered "defamatory" to the Harvard Physics Department to state that Motl is still employed by them! So SCZens's bizarre rationale for forcing WP to claim that Motl is still a Harvard professor is completely inoperative. --Authoritative Information Source

Motl is listed as "Ass. Prof" in the High Energy Theory Group at Harvard. [9] This was not hard to find using Google. RonCram 04:57, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

No - but notice that his profile page has been removed. It takes time to update everything. But i agree that its premature to conclude anything. --Kim D. Petersen 23:46, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

If the rumour that Motl has left Harvard gets confirmed (I don't view it as confirmed yet), shouldn't the appropriate text be "He was an assistant professor in Harvard from ... to 2007" rather than "He is a former assistant professor..."? We don't generally use the phrasing "former professor" in bios of other academics. Andris 16:30, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

There seems to be a faction here who is trying to game the system in order to protect Motl's precariously tottering reputation. The rules exist to guarantee accuracy of Wikipedia's articles -- SCZenz and the rest are using them to guarantee *in*accuracy. This is a blatant abuse of the rules. The Czech Got Bounced 22:04, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

No, this is not "abuse of the rules" or "gaming the system" - its exactly according to WP:BLP rules. Please read them. Personally the circumstantial evidence has me convinced, but i also recognize the importance of the WP:BLP rule - and why this cannot go into the article before its officially confirmed by a third party source (or Motl himself), and i can't say that i've ever agreed with anything that Motl has said that i've read - so i'm hardly out to protect "Motl's precariously tottering reputation". Find a good reliable resource, that states this - and it can go in. Before that .... sorry. --Kim D. Petersen 22:41, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

A lot of people who made claims back when about "hoaxes" and "rumors" should be ashamed. -- 68.108.253.185 (talk) 23:26, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Full protection[edit]

There appear to be an individual or individuals who are extremely keen to add information about Dr. Motl's employment status to the article as quickly as possible, without reliable sources. Whether I believe this rumor is true is irrelevant. My opinion on Dr. Motl and his reputation, which I have no interest in discussing here, is irrelevant as well. I will say, however, that I do not like Wikipedia being used by someone with a grudge, or with any motivation other than providing a high-quality encyclopedia. Policy tells us how to do that and, and the policy on the biographies of living persons is extremely clear.

I am blocking usernames which insult Dr. Motl as I see them, and the page will be fully protected until further notice. There is a link at the top of the article for how to appeal this decision. -- SCZenz 07:13, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

OK, so he has left Harvard - so what? Even if it's true it should be left out unless the reasons aren't trivial.

79.67.103.209 01:49, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Um, leaving it out amounted to not removing the claim that he was employed there. -- 68.108.253.185 (talk) 23:28, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as stub, and the rating on other projects was brought up to Stub class. BetacommandBot 09:59, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

co-founder of M-theory ?[edit]

I think the following sentence is at least an exageration:

Together with Robbert Dijkgraaf, Erik Verlinde, and Herman Verlinde, he is a co-founder of matrix string theory, a nonperturbative definition of string theory.

Please take a look at the M-theory wikipedia page: there is no mention of Motl's contribution ...

Moreover, most of Motl's publications on M-theory are in collaboration with his advisor Thomas Banks, who is a co-author of the seminal paper M Theory As A Matrix Model: A Conjecture (by Banks, Fischer, Shenker and Suskind ... none of them are in the citation !!!).

This is the reason why I am going to replace it by the following one:

He made an important contribution to matrix and nonperturbative string theory, under the impulse of his advisor T.Banks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.67.59.93 (talk) 11:04, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Moreover, it does not seem standard (and polite) to forget the names of co-authors in the bibliography.

You may have missed the distinction between "M-theory", "Matrix-theory" and "matrix string theory". These are different but related topics. "M-theory" was founded as an effort of several people including Witten, Townsend and other. Subsequently Matrix-theory was founded by Banks, Fischer, Shenker and Suskind in the paper cited above, but "matrix string theory" was a further development in which Motl was involved e.g. hep-th/9701025 which is prior to any of his joint publications wth Banks. 80.177.110.122 (talk) 21:15, 22 January 2008 (UTC). I am Weburbia (talk) 21:18, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Notability[edit]

Is it possible for the article to make this subject's notability clearer? At the moment it sounds like his main claim to notability was that he was once an academic, but that's not exactly sufficient (there is no shortage of academics out there). For starters, the article does not cite any of his scientific works (except via arXiv links; some of which seem unpublished), nor does it make clear which of them are his primary achievements, or indicate the significance of them for wider science. There's material about the areas that he worked on, but it needs to be clear that he was a significant contributor in these arenas. Comparison with Richard Lindzen, a fellow climate change contrarian scientist with whom he is occasionally linked, makes this subject's claim to notability seem pretty weak. At least judging from the article content at present. In passing, having as a reference a link to Amazon reviews really doesn't help. --PLUMBAGO 18:05, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

As much as I enjoy reading Luboš and reading about Luboš (and his expository writings on string theory and physics in general have been extremely useful to me), I think I would have some difficulty defending his notability to a determined wiki-skeptic. I think he is unquestionably interesting, but is he notable in an objectively demonstrable way? He wrote a few good papers on string theory once, but there are many other good string theorists who don't have wiki bios. Everyone in the physics blogosphere knows him, but is the physics blogosphere itself "notable"? At the level of blogs, it's hard to think of Peter Woit, who does have a wiki bio, without thinking of Luboš, the most militant defender of string theory, but Woit's notability derives more from his book and his role in the mass media as a string skeptic.
The other facts about Luboš - his political views, his skepticism about global warming, his opinions about this or that physicist (Bogdanov brothers, Lee Smolin...) - make him, as I said, interesting, but do they add up to notability? At present, Luboš is mostly a blogger, and the notability of what happens on blogs is often difficult to establish. There are thousands of blog-intellectuals out there. Some of them have an intellectual life that's visible outside the blogosphere; some of them have a blog fan base but will come to nothing in the long run; and a few of them really are doing culturally important "work", entirely independently of academia and mass-media recognition. It's possible that Luboš belongs to this last category, but it would be difficult to demonstrate. Consider, by contrast, Charles Johnson. LGF could be regarded as just another blog - a popular one, but just another blog - and its various trends and feuds as not worthy of specific attention, but there are at least two arguments for notability here. One is LGF's involvement in "Rathergate", and the other is the NYT article which uses LGF as a window on blog-politics in general. If I look for similar external validation regarding Luboš's notability, I'm not sure that the feud with Woit and Smolin qualifies.
I would like his wiki bio to stay, but it's true that his real significance may be for the future to decide. Mporter (talk) 09:52, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for taking the time to reply. I don't have any strong feelings either way, and while the subject does look notable, the article does a poor job of demonstrating this. Anyway, although I read the talkpage items above, I didn't notice that the page has been nominated for deletion before. Given that it's still a weak article, perhaps it's time to nominate it again? That might elicit some an effort to improve it and better document the subject's notability. --PLUMBAGO 10:15, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
This article has survived two deletion reviews -- if Motl was notable enough for inclusion in 2005 and 2007, then information about him remains useful and relevant. "Notability is not temporary". His blog is/was one of the most-read physics blogs online. Although I myself don't agree with his views on many subjects I think this article belongs in Wikipedia. betsythedevine (talk) 13:49, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
To be fair, the second deletion review was equivocal, and neither attracted much interest in any case. As it happens, I wasn't originally arguing for deletion, I'd just like the article to be clear on why its subject is notable. It's currently not at all obvious, since the subject's work is neither properly referenced nor contextualised within the scientific literature. Finally, WP:NTEMP does not shut the door on deletion if a subject is later judged to fail notability - mistakes can be made. Cheers, --PLUMBAGO 17:23, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

(Restarting the indent cycle) I agree that the article could use improvement, but finding reliable sources to attest to the notability of a blogger is always difficult. There have been many other influential writers of blogs such as Doc Searls whose bios were AfDed (is that a verb?) for exactly this reason. I am not at all qualified to assess Motl's scientific work, but it is my impression that as a science blogger he was unusually widely read and played a big role in provoking the heated public string-versus-antistring controversy that resulted in best-selling books by Peter Woit and Lee Smolin. I would see this influence as a substantive claim to notability in itself; future students of the history of physics will (in my opinion) be reading about Lubos Motl and wondering who he is. Here is a comment on Motl's role in the context of reviewing a book by Woit. betsythedevine (talk) 14:32, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Ah-ha. That's more like it. The link (and any similar material) would provide more of an indication of the subject's notability. It would also help your future students work out who he is! I would agree about blogger notability though, it's not at all obvious how to rate it. Persistence and appearance in other sources (especially reliable ones) seem reasonable criteria. Anyway, if I can extract my editing from talk-space to article-space, perhaps I'll get around to including this. Cheers, --PLUMBAGO 18:02, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
There is not enough evidence of Notability.

What makes Luboš Motl a notable blogger? All sorts of people are bloggers. There must be verifiable, objective evidence that the subject has received significant attention from independent sources to support a claim of notability. I find no credible sources such as an article in Time magazine that make him a notable blogger. Compare to Markos Moulitsas, who is an example of a notable blogger.  kgrr talk 14:30, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

This person is not notable, not even in the field of string theory. Articles on arxiv don't really amount to much unless you are Grigori Perelman. Any presence that he has is due to self promotion. It's very very hard to find anything significant from a 3rd party source. Another recommendation for deletion needs to occur.Captainspirou (talk) 05:02, 4 March 2013 (UTC)


No, he isn't notable. But you don't want to try delete the article. He'll fight that tooth and nails, claiming all kinds of unfair treatment and his (Conspiratorial) persecution. It isn't worth it. Let the article sooth his ego, it needs soothing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.56.28.204 (talk) 10:45, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Relevance?? Delete article[edit]

There are thousand of academics with more credentials than this person that have no Wikipedia article (and I am not suggesting thousand of articles should be created or are missing from thw Wikipedia). The relevance of this person is that "He has a presence on the Internet"?? Lots of bloggers have... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 190.188.0.22 (talk) 01:12, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

Well, LM is not just some blogger, dear Anonimous. His website is very frequent visited one, and it's actually a greate source of information. Isn't a fact of such big social/scientifical impact enough to keep Wiki article about the author?Goykhman (talk) 19:46, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Could someone please tell me which if any of the 9 criteria for notability of an academic outlined in WP:ACADEMIC Lubos Motl satisfies. Also i'm sorry Goykhman but I've got to dispute your 'greate source of information' about Lubos website. It is not a reliable source , it is self published.Hmcst1 (talk) 20:24, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

That is fascinating! Evidently you haven't read that list yourself. Consider e.g. point 3 and see List of Harvard Junior Fellows. Also please look at the number of citations of LM papers, e.g. hep-th/9701025. Observe that >250 citations means famous paper. That is about point 1 of the list. See also point 7, please, and comments to it. Finally, as for reliability of the source of information - LM provides links to other websites, in particular news websites. That means that his site is source of information by definition - you simply get information from that site about what is going on in the world. He doesn't describe some fantasy world - but the real one.Goykhman (talk) 10:17, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

OK he's notable. But his website is not a reliable source. You don't get to be a reliable source by linking to other websites. As I said above it is self published, that is specifically outside the terms of WP:RS Hmcst1 (talk) 14:19, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

This talk page is for discussing improvements to the article, but let me just clarify that the anonymous suggestion back in May that Lubos Motl is not notable was followed up by an official AFD filing, where it was once again concluded that he is notable and his article belongs in Wikipedia.betsythedevine (talk) 14:39, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Reliable source or no?[edit]

Am starting a new sec because the notability question is resolved imho, but the matter of of LM's blog's reliabilty will need to be looked at. As mentioned above it is self published, that is specifically outside the terms of WP:RS . Could we have a citation supporting the statement "and some of the statistical models used by some climate researchers on grounds such as incorrect prior probability distributions" please, or maybe it could be tidied to make it clear which blogpost it is referring to. ThxHmcst1 (talk) 18:07, 21 November 2010 (UTC)


Curious. Reliability of Wiki article material is about sources of that material which is presented in Wiki article. So if you e.g. write in Wiki article on AdS/CFT that there's a famous paper by J. Maldacena but don't provide exact title and hep-th number of it on arXiv or don't give link to peer-reviewed sci journal, then there're no reliable sources to that claim. In the present case you "just" tell that LM has weblog - and as for most of blogs it's self-published. Then you give link to this weblog - and automatically provide reliable source of information of Wiki material - empirical proof that LM indeed has a webblog. The claim of Wiki article was that LM has blog. You’ve proved it giving a link to this blog and that is it. The question of reliability of information on that blog is actually a different question but it may be addressed in quite a similar manner too. Indeed, again, majority of LM posts has purely news-type character. E.g. suppose LM says that Lee Smolin wrote a paper about this and that. He gives a link to arXiv - and therefore justifies the fact that Lee Smolin indeed published that paper. Then as it's supposed to be done on webblogs LM writes what he thinks about that paper (that is in particular why people create such things as webblogs). As another example – it was LM site where I first learned that S. Hawking (and L. Mlodinow) published his new book “The Grand Design”. The other category of LM articles (I won’t treat all of them) deals with discussion of physics things which are mostly very well known to experts and which LM tries to explain in a "slightly" less technical form. Well, you can be sure in reliability of that sort of information after reading textbooks (or via turning on logic). Well, there're definitely dishonest persons who try to sell their thoughts as truth while they are really opposite to the truth, and therefore people who are not enough familiar with physics are to be sceptical about all posts on unknown for them subject. But then common sense shall actually help to recognize trash or truth. That is how in science questions are supposed to be solved - by logic. There're many difficult subjects where respectful and otherwise smart persons may be confused and as a result tell false things. And you can't say that what that respectful persons say is a reliable source of information due to their authority. You always have to be critical. But as for settled scientific theories such as statistical mechanics, GR or QM you actually are supposed to be skeptical on the stage of learning the subject - this is normal to better understand what is going on - you consider the subject at different angles and in different applications to test it. The final proper result of such critical approach is anyway understanding of the validity of the theory. That is how learning works. I hope I’ve clarified (rather explicitly spelled) that evident issues.Goykhman (talk) 22:45, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

According to Wikipedia policy for personal blogs, "Self-published and questionable sources may be used as sources of information about themselves, usually in articles about themselves or their activities." So Motl's blog would be a good source for information about what aspects of climate research interest Motl. betsythedevine (talk) 23:13, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Lumidek is Luboš Motl[edit]

Why is this wikipedia editor allowed to self-publish his own wikipedia page? Self-published sources cannot be assumed neutral. WP:SPIP 22:38, 9 May 2004 Lumidek (talk | contribs) (1,425 bytes) (new stub added) http://twitter.com/#!/lumidek https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lubo%C5%A1-Motl/103107799729990 https://www.facebook.com/lubos.motl  kgrr talk 14:07, 15 September 2011 (UTC)


He will persist even if you blacklist or ban him, trust me. He may be good scientist and nice enough on the surface, but (if you know him personally and venture a hair to far - especially on some subjects - you will find out that) he is a nutjob. I think he will damage his career the way he is going, but its his decision (and hopefully his psychiatrists). Bottomline, dont bother, just display the appropriate tag in front of the article.

Highly POV[edit]

This article almost looks as if it's written completely by Motl himself. It doesn't include his sexist comments or insults in general, but proudly lists all his arXiv submissions. Disputes alarmism about global warming? Really? He refers to everything that doesn't fit with his opinions as alarmism, everyone who disputes his opinions as crackpots.88.243.161.173 (talk) 16:28, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

"In politics, he was one of the Harvard faculty who defended then-president Lawrence Summers after his controversial remarks regarding women in science." POV much? 88.243.161.173 (talk) 16:28, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

Removed paragraph (no secondary source)[edit]

He counts himself as a Christian atheist,[1][2][3] but this seems more to do with anti-Islamic sentiment, belief in Western values and the cultural influence of Christianity than with the tenets and content of Christianity itself.

I removed this paragraph; as always, it can be replaced if a WP:SECONDARY WP:RS is found that makes the claim. Self-published sources generally carry no WP:WEIGHT, with the exception of routine biographical details such as faculty job history. Rolf H Nelson (talk) 21:28, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Knowledge of Lubos Motl's religion is important, and it is worth mentioning in the article, particularly if it is peculiarly oxymoronic. Well, his blog is a credible source about his own views.75.140.66.148 (talk) 10:28, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
The concern isn't that the statement is untrue or unimportant (these are irrelevant for the discussion at hand), but rather that it lacks WP:WEIGHT. Per WP:BLPSPS an article cannot be based primarily on self-published sources. What's your current proposal? Your latest edit seems intended as a compromise, but since 'religion' isn't one of the scientist infobox parameters it doesn't show up in the page. I can live with something like "He counts himself as a Christian atheist." as a compromise, though if someone else objects to it now or in the future, or if it becomes a slippery slope to more trivia being re-added, it may end up being re-removed. Rolf H Nelson (talk) 04:36, 12 December 2013 (UTC)
"Following the example of Oriana Fallaci, he counts himself as a Christian atheist. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.140.66.148 (talk) 13:22, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
Never mind, looks like I'll have to delete the reference, as less than three months after the compromise, an editor is already using this as a slippery slope to add additional poorly-sourced content. Rolf H Nelson (talk) 03:41, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Reverted edit (no secondary source)[edit]

[10] Again, WP:BLPSOURCES applies; also, unlike the "Christian athiest" edit by a different editor, this seems to be more about advocating for Motl's position on the Ukraine than about Motl himself per se. Readers interested in Motl's opinions on the Ukraine can read his blog directly. If some particular opinion of Motl's is to be ascribed prominence or represented as indicative of Motl's overall worldview, we need a prominent secondary source, both to confirm that the opinion is a good representation, and also to establish that discussion of Motl's worldview receives enough independent press coverage to meet Wikipedia's notability standards. (It probably currently does not.) And, even in that case, WP:NPOV would have to be respected. Rolf H Nelson (talk) 05:47, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

Do we need to be that picky here? For example the claim that he's a 'Christian atheist' is also sourced by his blog [11]. Apparently, the article he wrote about himself survived a couple of deletion votes because he has notability as blogger, while not being notable as a scientist. So it seemed reasonable to summarize a few of his positions, esp. because the Ukrainian crisis is such a hot topic right now. Lokalkosmopolit (talk) 10:24, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree. This should not be changed. I will change it back. JoopVanFriesland (talk) 23:24, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm removing the Christian athiest reference then if it's causing confusion as to what Wikipedia policies are. He survived deletion because of WP:ACADEMIC, namely his position at Harvard and possibly his published papers; he has zero WP:NOTABILITY as a current-events blogger (though he does have borderline general notability from NYTimes coverage of how he originally used this new-fangled "arXiv" thing to come to the attention of prominent American researchers despite being in an relatively obscure Czech institution.) Feel free to ask WP:BLPN for another opinion if you don't like mine. Rolf H Nelson (talk) 03:41, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

He placed on his e-mail the slogan: "String/M theory is the language in which GOD wrote the world" He stopped doing this when I wrote him "Lubos this is not science but religion in the guise of science". But this is still much better than what a Mr. Gaijin42 writes who invokes the Holocaust in the physics of black holes, supporting Nelson in censoring the Wikipedia. F. Winterberg. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 12.72.186.167 (talk) 04:23, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

You being too strict with rules. VladIliescu (talk) 12:35, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
WP:SPS says: Living persons may publish material about themselves, such as through press releases or personal websites. Such material may be used as a source only if: it is not unduly self-serving; it does not involve claims about third parties; it does not involve claims about events not directly related to the subject. Therefore I feel it is OK to say in the article that Motl considers himself an Athiest, but his opinions about other people, events, politics etc. are non-notable (unless they receive significant mention in reliable secondary sources) and do not belong in the article per WP:SPS and WP:SOAPBOX.-- KeithbobTalk 18:25, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
Also, editors in this discussion should be aware that if an editor is found to be using multiple accounts on the same article, they may be subject to sanctions. Thanks for adhering to this WP guideline. Best, -- KeithbobTalk 18:44, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm personally fine with characterization as atheist, Christian atheist or conservative, as long as it doesn't become a slippery slope to becoming a soapbox like the current version and past versions of the bio before I cleaned it up have been. Rolf H Nelson (talk) 19:23, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
That very funny. You accuse us of having multiple accounts? I accuse you of meat puppet. I know this because he ask you to come here in your talk page. We all have right to edit here not just him. He act like he own this page and only his opinion count. You don't like what I say then file complaint or have me banned. VladIliescu (talk) 22:17, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
No, you are wrong on both counts but this is not the place for such a discussion so I will respond on your user page. Meantime, any comments from anyone about the content and the applicable guidelines?-- KeithbobTalk 15:48, 17 March 2014 (UTC)