The way to be lonely

I don’t like to be alone. I like discussions and collaborations with other intelligent people, in particular, for scientific research. But the reality is that one will be forced to stay alone or feel lonely (scientifically) more often than not if one’s unusual ideas have not been widely accepted.

I do have times when I prefer to be alone or with family members only. It is when I am thinking or pondering on my own favorite puzzles. But I would be open to the world when I have thought through and come up with some concrete ideas. From that moment, I’d like to share and discuss my ideas with others and maybe even collaborate with them to further develop or test the ideas. I know all too well about my own limitations and I am always amazed with so many super-intelligent minds in humankind.

That is what has happened since I came up with my ideas on the mirror-matter theory. Starting early Feb., I was so excited and tried my best to answer every inquiry from other scientists, journalists, colleagues, and even unknown students. Not only passively, I have been also very actively reaching out to other relevant scientists via personalized emails, in particular, to some theorists who may go further with my ideas, and to many experimentalists who could test those ideas.

The end result is a pretty mixed, if not miserable, feeling. My family truly supports me no matter what. My friends and close colleagues also provide me good support personally but probably not for my theory. Out of tens of email messages sent to other scientists, half of them have never got any response and probably gone to their spam or crackpot folders. For the ones that indeed got replies, some of them just said they are too busy to work or collaborate on my ideas. Some of them said they will take a look and then never come back even after my followup emails. A very select few have indeed showed enthusiasm and interest in my work. The most enthusiastic has just retired making it very difficult to carry on the work. Others consider this is a very risky business and do not want to devote major effort just yet. I might have finally found the one who will break the ice. Let’s wait and see.

I could understand some of the young guys I have contacted being conservative. They probably wanted a safe route to get their tenure instead of risking their careers on crazy ideas. That is really the fault of the current faculty promotion mechanism and I can not blame them. But what about the other established and even renowned scientists? What’s on their minds?  healthy skepticism? personal fame? to avoid looking stupid if I am wrong in the end? or just pure arrogance? I still have not figured it out.

9 months after reporting feasible tests on the new mirror-matter model, I am still waiting for a major effort to join. In other words, I am still lonely in this research. I am very grateful to those who have listened to me, even though some of them turned away. I wish such a feeling of loneliness be gone when the spring comes to thaw me out.

Author: Wanpeng Tan

As a research professor at Notre Dame, I share my ideas and thoughts mainly about mirror matter theory and open science on this blog. Under the new theory, we live in the universe with a mirror (hidden) sector of particles. A perfectly imperfect (minimally broken) mirror symmetry is the key to unlock the beauty and elegance of our universe. Click on the menu links for a popular introduction, a technical summary, and list of my papers on the new mirror matter theory.