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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Math paper retracted because some of it makes “no sense mathematically”

with 25 comments


What do you do when a math paper that contains some “constructions and arguments [that] make no sense mathematically” gets published?

If you’re Applied Mathematics Letters, you retract the paper, “For the origin of new geometry.” Here’s the notice:

This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy).

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher.

This paper does not meet the minimum research and mathematical standards of Applied Mathematics Letters; for example, some of this paper’s constructions and arguments make no sense mathematically. Though handled by the previous editorial office, the available records lead us to believe its publication was the result of an administrative oversight and apologies are offered to readers of the journal that this was not detected earlier.

We know a bit about the journal’s “previous editorial office.” As we wrote in an April post titled “Math paper retracted because it ‘contains no scientific content,’ the journal’s editor, until last year, was Ervin Rodin. During his tenure, the journal

retracted two bizarre papers last year, one of which was written by one of the co-authors of this latest retracted paper, and the other of which cost the publisher $10,000 when the author — an intelligent design advocate — sued. Rodin has also been replaced at Applied Mathematics Letters, by Alan Tucker.

The author of the newly retracted paper is S. Kalimathu, who is also the author of the paper that “contains no scientific content.” His email address, we note, changed between papers; it used to be “ohm@budweiser.com.”

The paper — which, perhaps not surprisingly, has not been cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge (they don’t track citations from The Onion) — is quite something. Its discussion begins:

Our constructions and proofs are consistent. We have not introduced any new hypothesis in this work. So, the author’s findings are consistent. As we have already mentioned Eq. (2) deduces the parallel postulate of the Euclidean geometry. But we have pointed out in the abstract that the fifth Euclidean postulate problem is one of the most famous mathematical impossibilities. So, although our finding is consistent, it poses a very serious question about the foundations of geometry.

In other words: There’s nothing new in this paper, so it’s consistent with something, we’re not sure what. But we have raised a very serious question! OK, people have been raising that question for centuries, but this is important, dammit. The fact that we haven’t actually added anything to the discussion of that question? Please move along, nothing to see here.

The December 2012 issue of the journal includes one other unrelated retraction notice, for “Oscillation of integro-dynamic equations on time scales:”

This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy).

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief and Authors.

The article was found to contain errors which will be corrected in a revised version to be submitted to Applied Mathematics Letters.

The journal’s new editor, Alan Tucker, tells Retraction Watch there are no other retractions planned.

Update, 6:50 a.m. Eastern, 12/6/12: Author S. Kalimathu — whose full name is Acharya Sennimalai Kalimuthu, we now learn — responded to our request for comment, invoking Einstein and a logical fallacy about Nobel Prizes:

Please and please note that I do NOT agree with retraction of this relevant paper.Can you tell me WHAT IS THE FLAW? AND WHERE IS THE FLAW? A result is a result,A result is a result,A result is a result, and A result is a result.

Let us recall what Einstein told about simplicity:


Who is expert? We are all so called experts.Only God is expert.

I am going to re write this particular paper in 20 long pages and get published. Kindly note that papers rejected by referees and editors have won the NOBEL PRIZE.

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Written by Ivan Oransky

December 5, 2012 at 2:17 pm

25 Responses

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  1. Just as a dumb dumb question, how does something that “makes no sense” get through peer review?

    e-Patient Dave

    December 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    • I wouldn’t interpret “the available records lead us to believe its publication was the result of an administrative oversight,” from the retraction notice quoted above, to mean that this got through peer review.


      December 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      • LOL, in my earlier quick reading, I didn’t dwell on that long enough to think about the implications – did they *accidentally* publish it??

        e-Patient Dave

        December 5, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      • Maybe it got published through the same mechanism described in the example below:



        December 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      • Hibby, I doubt it is a similar case to that one – instead, I think it’s just an editor who got senile. The author of this paper has no influence in the field, and both of his papers are pure nonsense that doesn’t even superficially resemble a research paper.

        ben lund

        December 5, 2012 at 8:07 pm

  2. Keep in mind that the word hypothesis in mathematics refers to the assumptions that are needed for a conclusion to be true (rather than a testable hypothesis in the scientific sense), so not introducing any new hypotheses is a good thing. Having looked at the paper, though, it’s not clear to me whether the author was aware of this point.

    Adam Merberg

    December 5, 2012 at 6:33 pm

  3. But what on earth was Elsevier playing at to publish such drivel. Once was bad enough but twice??? I note that Kalimuthu threatens “Further studies will certainly unlock this mathematical mystery”.
    No doubt the further studies will be first published and then retracted by Elsevier.


    December 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm

  4. Akhlesh

    December 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm

  5. “By applying siddhas mathematical models of biology we can cure each and every human complaints and give birth to a particular sex of baby.”,
    The ultimate high in the prankster community is to deliver a plenary lecture comprising pure gibberish at a respectable conference.


    December 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    • Does WSEAS organize “respectable” conferences?


      December 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      • WSEAS seems a bit off the mainstream. Hilarious comment on their website:
        “We repeat that WSEAS does not request and will never request payment for journal publications. Any attempt to associate WSEAS with the long list of open access journals that use an author-pays-fees registration model is unfair and slanderous and possibly serves the interest of other organizations or even certain libraries.”


        December 7, 2012 at 6:09 am

    • Chirality – the next line in the lecture abstract is even better: “The master piece of this field is the beautiful application to coitus.”

      Kenrod Bodine

      December 10, 2012 at 8:38 am

      • Kenrod Bodine – I noticed that but I assumed RW was PG-rated despite covering hardcore fraud.


        December 10, 2012 at 8:48 am

  6. Good luck getting that Nobel Prize. In mathematics.

    The Iron Chemist

    December 7, 2012 at 9:46 am

    • No big deal. The physics prize is almost in hand!
      See: http://www.sciencepub.net/nature/ns0712/05_2012_easy_ns0712_31_32.pdf
      These guys don’t show up on the Dr. Mahalingam College website.
      They seem to be some species of professional fraudsters or comedians!


      December 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      • I wrote to Dr. S. Ramakrishnan, Prof. and Head of Department of Information Technology at the Dr. Mahalingam College. He replied: “S.Kalimuthu is not a faculty member of our college but M. Sivasubramanian other author of the papers was a faculty member in our college. M. Sivasubramanian left our college 2 years ago. “


        December 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      • Wow. I’m in the process of reading this. This is classic. Want to find dark matter? Turn off the lights!

        The Iron Chemist

        December 11, 2012 at 9:32 am

      • This paper was published in Nature and Science. Probably, the manuscript had been rejected by Nature and Science and Cell.


        December 11, 2012 at 9:45 am

      • “These particles may be dark matter or dust particles. Future studies will decide this.”

        I know where I’d put *my* money!


        December 11, 2012 at 9:56 am

      • Yes, this is hilarious! To me the ‘comedians’ hypothesis seems more likely. If I were a professional fraudster wanting to publish bogus science, I would make sure that at least a 6-year old would not be able to see that it’s nonsense…


        December 11, 2012 at 10:52 am

      • “Acharya Sennimalai Kalimuthu”. “Acharya” means “teacher” in Sanskrit. It is also the equivalent of a doctorate awarded by traditional universities in India. It also is the Sanskrit/Hindi translation of “Doctor”
        (as in PhD). It can also be a self-awarded title.


        December 11, 2012 at 11:00 am

  7. If these guys are comedians, then what does that say for this ‘journal’? The paper comes complete with a PACS code and all that. See: http://www.aip.org/pacs/
    What should we make of this “Marsland Press” that publishes ‘Nature and Science’? I for one am glad it’s on Mars!


    December 11, 2012 at 11:24 am

    • Marsland Press may be on Mars, but it still accepts US dollars. See: http://www.sciencepub.org/


      December 11, 2012 at 11:58 am

    • The MO is simple. Once you have published in this journal, you can add a line to your biosketch that reads “I have published extensively in international journals, including Nature and Science”.


      December 12, 2012 at 3:15 am

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