Swinging for the Fences – Part 2

Long time no update.  I was a bit surprised to look back and see that it’s been over 2 months since we decided to try pushing our latest work to Science, and it’s almost maybe ready for submission.  Just to give you an idea of how long the process can take.

It doesn’t always take this long to turn results into a full fledged report, but an interesting snag in our analysis popped up.  The summer movie tagline: “What do you do when the peer-reviewed papers and rogue experts disagree?! – Starring Emma Stone and Idris Elba”.  Hey, a guy can dream.

Here’s a sample of the script, based on True Events:


[Protagonist emails preliminary copy of results and interpretations to a research group whose expertise is in transistor theory] 

Me: “Hey, we’ve got these interesting results, and are trying to match them up to the expected XYZ Effect in transistors.  What do you think?”

Them: “Nope, can’t help.  Because that effect doesn’t happen in polymers.”

Me: “Okaaayy…well I’ve got this pile of papers here on my desk that all say it happens.  All of them are kinda short on the details, but they all at least mention the effect.  Can you point me to some explanation for why it doesn’t exist in polymers?” 

Them: “Which papers do you have?”

Me: “Well there’s this review paper by Jane Scientist.”

Them: “Oh yeah!  We know that one.  Not gonna help you.  What else you got?”

Me: “Well there’s this set of articles by Joe Betherson.  But wait, what’s wrong with that review paper?”

Them: “Hah, Joe.  No comment.”

Me: “Wait wait wait, back up. Joe’s wrong too?”

Them: “Just look at Equation 4, yeah. No way.”

Me: “Ok, seriously.  Stop.  All these guys are wrong, sure, whatever.  Do you have any books or reports or anything that can explain this to me better than, say, a supposed group of transistor experts who sure as hell don’t seem to be able to explain it right now.”

Them: “Oh, you’re not gonna find any sources that refute it.  They’re not out there.  But if you solve these non-analytical sets of equations using our special model, you’ll see what we mean.”

Me: “Aaaand scene.”

Are these guys for real?  Could be.  Is the collection of other folks in the field misinterpreting the physics?  I’m actually surprisingly open to that idea.  All sorts of weird ideas get wrongly carried over when you’re adapting the ideas of one field to another (the supposed problem seems to stem from using electronics theory developed for inorganic materials with hydrocarbon materials).  But right now these guys are sitting around playing “Yuh-huh”/”Nuh-uh” which certainly isn’t helping us.

So after weeks of running in circles and getting nowhere, we’re sticking with our first interpretation.  The rest of the paper is pretty close to submittable, figures are prettied up (I’m always amazed at how long it takes to get your figures ready for the ball), and we’ll probably shoot it towards Science in the next week or so.