Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The shortest article ever

I'm pretty sure I've posted it somewhere about 3-4 years ago, but anyway. This is the shortest article I've ever seen, it was published in Physical Review:


Guys involved in the 'variation of fundamental constants' business always show it in the talks. But I wonder whether it was a joke or not...

9 comments:

eparticular said...

Is it just possible that any rational number with finite precission can be expressed as m*a^n, where m and n are integers and a is any irrational number (e.g. Pi)?
There's this beautiful idea in Borges that since Pi contains an infinite sequence of numbers it is possible to find in it any sequence of numbers, so that if we code a book (or a whole library, for that matter) using some number-letter code, every book written or to write is already contained in Pi. Isn't doing m*Pi^n somehow moving a window that finds the appropriate sequence of numbers (in the case of this short paper, the mass of the proton)?

Lemeshko said...

well, eparticular, it looks like that :-)

julian echave said...

Yes, but I tried to find m and n using other irrationals (sqrt(2)) and I couldn't do it.

Anyway, the point remains: It'd be nice to go back to the good old times where a paper could be that short! (may be twitter will help).

Lemeshko said...

The thing that's puzzling me is whether it's a joke or not. Somehow the author convinced the editor and the referees that the article is worth accepting...

julian echave said...

Editors and reviewers might have a sense of humor too. I don't think that article will be accepted today: it lacks an abstract.

Lemeshko said...

Anyway, we can give it a try. But it should be something really new and unexpected :-)

zyxo said...

There should be more like that : stripped down to the bare essentials in stead of all the pointless blabla we see nowadays in all those video's.
It is a lot more time-effective.

EastwoodDC said...

This one is shorter ...
http://improbable.com/airchives/classical/articles/peanut_butter_rotation.html

... but I'm not sure it counts. ;-)

Lemeshko said...

Thanks, EastwoodDC, that's great! It probably deserves another post.

Misha