Sometimes, things just don’t add up. Take this retraction notice, from the March 2011 issue of *Applied Mathematics Letters*:

This article has been retracted at the request of the editor as the authors have falsified mathematical findings and have made unsubstantiated claims regarding Euclid’s parallel postulate (Appl. Math. Lett. 23 (2010) 1137–1139. doi:10.1016/j.aml.2010.05.003). This article represents a severe abuse of the scientific publishing system. The scientific community takes a very strong view on this matter and apologies are offered to readers of the journal that this was not detected during the submission process.

There’s actually only one author, an M. Sivasubramanian, of Dr. Mahalingam College of Engineering and Technology, Pollachi, Tamil Nadu, India, but we’re not PhDs in math, so we figured we were missing something important. Fortunately, Ben Steinberg, a high school friend of one of ours — Ivan’s — is a bit of a math rock star and a professor at Carleton University. We asked him for his take:

I am not sure which is more amusing, the article or the retraction. I cannot understand how this could possibly be published anywhere. It seems like a practical joke to test whether articles are actually refereed. Not a single statement in the author’s “proof” makes sense. Continue reading Faked data, unsubstantiated claims, and spirituality add up to a math journal retraction