Another confirmation of the existence of dark energy.

Boud Roukema boud w
Pią, 12 Kwi 2002, 17:39:57 CEST

<cross-post to cosmo-torun & cosmo-media, please follow up to *cosmo-media*>

Cze¶æ Andrzej,
   Thanks for starting the cosmo-media list. :) This way we can
separate out public relations/marketing/propaganda questions from core
research questions...

On Tue, 26 Mar 2002, Andrzej Marecki wrote:
> > Instead of:
> > Wouldn't this have been more honest?

Good, we agree here :).

> But...
> although I have no interest in defending RAS I think it is always
> honest to tend to narrow down the responsibility to particular persons.
> In this case the person to blame is the *referee* who allowed the
> authors to ommit the reference(s) to other groups work.
> Now the good question emerges: who on Earth wrote that $&%@ PR??!!!
> The authors of the original paper themselves?

I don't think blaming individuals would be effective (supposing that
we were to "investigate" this particular case). I think it's much more
likely to be a systematic problem.

> [...]
> > Well, I don't know about in particular, but since
> > our research work does not directly threaten any large authoritarian
> > corporations or authoritarian governments or democratic governments,
> > except indirectly because it shows that people in a non-US/UK country
>                                           ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> > do good science, I think that if one or more people were willing to
>   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> > spend the time talking to journalists and explaining stuff to them,
> > e.g. via cosmo-media, then there's actually a fairly good chance they
> > would publish stuff.
> IMO the best way to show that is... to publish in US/UK journals.
> If Roukema, Mamon & Bajtlik paper were published in MNRAS and not in
> A&A then maybe... ;-)

I'm not convinced. My ApJ papers have barely been cited at all. But anyway,
this is about the research community, it's different to the general public.

> But OK, you're right, we have to talk to journalists and explain things to
> them. Preferably we have to talk to US/UK journalists... Because if we
> talk e.g. to Polish journalists then there is hardly any impact. Example:
> recently Udalski et al. discovered a few dozens of extraterrestrial plants
> in "one go". There was a large (front page) coverage of this discovery in
> the largest Polish daily newspaper. Now how about et al.?

There was a lot of impact in Poland - random people I met (e.g. on
the train) had heard about this. But apparently even you ;) have fallen
into the media trap of attempting to explain things in an easy way
and introducing errors...

I think this is the article you are referring to:

in which case *none* of these 42 multiple transit detection
Jupiters/brown dwarfs/M dwarfs are considered confirmed as planets!! So
even if the result is exciting, the Polish journalists jumped
ahead of the research results.

> NOTHING! So maybe there *is* an Anglo-American mafia censorship. But
> maybe not. If only Udalski et al. published in ApJ or MNRAS and not in
> Acta Astronomica.... :-)

Regarding this whole discussion, in case you didn't notice it ;), I
was offered a faculty position in a university in Poland, called UMK -
and I accepted it.

I accepted it because not only does Poland have a rich scientific and
cultural tradition, but it is also materially and socially a rich
country. By the financial exchange rate, Poland is a middle ranked
country, and it is simply wrong to say that Poland is poor. It is
poorer than the richest countries in the world, but is richer than the
poorest countries.

And I would prefer to support these local traditions and existing
structures (and their decentralised, networked evolution) rather than
contribute to their destruction. It is true that their are big
problems such as unemployment and the destruction of social services
etc., but I think that the underlying social fabric and infrastructure
is still very strong.

I think that accepting the idea that everything is centralised in the
US/UK would just be following the Soviet (ZSSR) tradition of
centralisation.  Poles had to accept the dominance of the ZSSR when
forced to, but I don't see why we should accept the dominance of the
US/UK any more than we really have to.

In terms of our scientific publications, I think that publication in
A&A is realistic and supportive of Poland as part of Europe, and since
it has a significant amount of cosmology articles, I don't see any
reason not to support it.  (I don't mind submitting a few co-authored
articles to MNRAS or ApJ, but it's a priority for me.)

For popular articles/press releases, if you really have time to
invest, then I think that local support should be a priority. That
doesn't mean that we should ignore UK/US popular magazines, but I
think that distributing our information locally in a way that locals
can directly support us makes sense. In any case, if I find a moment
to spare this is what I would like to do...  And thanks to the mailing
list cosmo-media, if the local magazines stuff up (convert correct,
clear explanations into confusing and/or wrong explanations), then at
least those people with internet access and curiosity can find
where/how the stuff-ups occurred...

[BTW, I happen to have had contact with a US magazine because they
contacted me, and I also happened to do a French->English translation
of a book on exoplanets for Cambridge Uni Press. So I admit
compromising here. ;) But I would prefer to balance this by local
publications if I have time...]

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