The Case of M. S. El Naschie

November 9, 2008

The Case of M. S. El Naschie

Posted by John Baez


Zoran Škoda recently brought our attention to the case of M. S. El Naschie.

El Naschie is editor in chief of the journal Chaos, Solitons and Fractals. This journal is published by Elsevier, one of the biggest players in the science publishing business.

But here’s where things get interesting: this journal also lists 322 papers with El Naschie as an author!

For example, El Naschie has five sole-authored papers in the most recent issue, which will appear in December. Here they are:

  1. M.S. El Naschie,
    Fuzzy multi-instanton knots in the fabric of space–time and Dirac’s vacuum fluctuation, Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, Volume 38, Issue 5, December 2008, Pages 1260-1268.

  2. M.S. El Naschie,
    An energy balance Eigenvalue equation for determining super strings dimensional hierarchy and coupling constants,
    Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, Volume 38, Issue 5, December 2008, Pages 1283-1285.

  3. M.S. El Naschie,
    Anomalies free E-infinity from von Neumann’s continuous geometry
    Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, Volume 38, Issue 5, December 2008, Pages 1318-1322.

  4. M.S. El Naschie,
    Eliminating gauge anomalies via a “point-less” fractal Yang–Mills theory,

    Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, Volume 38, Issue 5, December 2008, Pages 1332-1335.

  5. M.S. El Naschie,
    Fuzzy knot theory interpretation of Yang–Mills instantons and Witten’s 5-Brane model,
    Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, Volume 38, Issue 5, December 2008, Pages 1349-1354.

Together with the rate at which El Naschie is publishing these papers in his own journal, the bizarre blend of fashionable buzzwords in their titles instantly made me suspicious. To see if my suspicions were correct, I examined some.

Let’s look at just one: ‘Anomalies free E-infinity from von Neumann’s continuous geometry’.

This paper consists of undisciplined numerology larded with impressive buzzwords. It starts with a reference to von Neumann’s continuous geometries and the work of Alain Connes, but it makes no use of these ideas. ‘E-infinity’ is apparently the name of Naschie’s ‘theory’, but he doesn’t describe this theory. In short, the title and abstract have little to do with the actual content of the paper.

As for the content, let me quote a bit, so you can see for yourself:

It may be a rather well known fact, at least for all round educated mathematicians, that there are 17 and only 17 distinct types of wallpaper patterns in terms of their symmetry groups. Many of these patterns were known and used by the Arabs in Spain to decorate their palaces, for example the world famous Alhambra in Spain [9,10]. Less well known however is the fact that there are 5 Dirichlet domains corresponding to these 17 groups and that there are exactly 17 two and three Stein spaces with a total sum of dimensions found by the Author to be exactly equal to [14]:

5α˜ 0+1=(5)(137)+1=685+1=686

where α˜ 0 is the integer value of the inverse of the fine structure constant of electromagnetism.
In Fig. 1 we show examples of wallpaper patterns corresponding to the said 17 groups while in Fig. 2 we show the corresponding Dirichlet domain [10].

It is well known that without symmetry groups, in particular SU(3), SU(2) and U(1) Lie groups, we could not formulate a rational standard model for particle physics, but what could be the connection between the wallpaper groups and high energy physics? Part of the answer to this question has already been given implicitly in the identity [11]

∑ 1 17Stein=(4α˜ 0)+1=685+1

To follow this matter deeper still, we have to recall some topological and mathematical facts. First, the Nash Euclidean embedding of a two dimensional manifold, i.e. an area is given for n=2 by [4]


Next we think about each area as being a Bi-vector with 17 dimensions attached to them. However this two dimensional tiling should be thought of more as a Penrose fractal tiling which we can divide again into smaller areas with again 17 dimensions attached to them and so on. The remarkable thing is that for two such fractal iterations, one finds

(2)(2)(17)=(2)(34)=68=(α˜ 0/2)−1/2=1/2(α˜ 0=1).

In fact (68)(8) = 544 is short of the four dimensions of classical spacetime to give us the total sum of exceptional Lie symmetry groups hierarchy [11,12].

To me it’s clear that this is total baloney. Let me explain a bit:

I know there are 17 wallpaper groups, and that many of patterns with these symmetry groups appear in the Alhambra. In fact last summer I went to the Alhambra and checked this myself! But I don’t know if there are “exactly 17 two and three Stein spaces’” with total sum of dimensions equal to 686 — I know what a Stein space is, but I don’t know what “two and three Stein spaces” are, or if that even makes sense. The reference he gives here is to one of his own papers in the same journal, ‘Kac–Moody exceptional E12 from simplictic tiling’. I know that ‘simplictic’ is not a word.

More importantly, even if some calculation leads to the number 686, he gives no indication of why it might be interesting that


where 137 is the nearest integer to the reciprocal of the fine structure constant (which is actually closer to 137.035999).

Instead of attempting to explain this numerical coincidence, he moves on. First he claims that


but let us hope this is a typo.

Then he hints that the Nash embedding theorem says that any n-dimensional Riemannian manifold can be embedded in a Euclidean space of dimension


The Nash embedding theorem does give a bound of roughly this sort, but I don’t know if this particular formula is correct. Regardless of that, he then applies the formula to the case of a surface (n=2) and gets the number 17. I have no reason to believe that 17 is the optimal bound in this special case, or of any special significance, but anyway: he seems to be claiming the reappearance of the number 17 is important here — but without saying how.

Then he really goes wild:

Next we think about each area as being a Bi-vector with 17 dimensions attached to them. However this two dimensional tiling should be thought of more as a Penrose fractal tiling which we can divide again into smaller areas with again 17 dimensions attached to them and so on.

This is vague, dreamlike imagery. A bivector is a mathematical structure related to area, but imagining a 2d surface as a bivector with “17 dimensions attached to it” means nothing, nor does the idea of iterating this to get a “Penrose fractal tiling”.

He then suggests quitting at the second stage of this iteration and getting


of something — but it’s not clear what, nor why the number 2×2×17 should show up.

But never mind! He then notes that 68 is
1/2(137−1), where again 137 is a rough approximation to the reciprocal of the fine structure constant. Of course, can always find some formula linking any two numbers, and the possible meaning of this formula linking the numbers 137 and 68 is not discussed.

He then takes the number 68, multiplies it by 8 for some undisclosed reason, and getting 544, which is “four short” of some other number: the “total sum of exceptional Lie symmetry groups hierarchy”, whatever that means. Presumably he calculated some number for each of the 5 exceptional Lie groups, added them up, and got 548: he cites two of his own papers published in the same journal for this calculation!
Coming up with a number “four short” of another number might not seen very impressive, but he ‘saves the day’ by pointing out that 4 is the number of dimensions of spacetime. And if it were 3 short, doubtless that would be the number of dimensions of space.

In short: this paper is even less sophisticated than what the Bogdanoff brothers wrote. And all the other papers I’ve read by El Naschie are of a similar quality.

Now, I get crud like this in my email every day. I delete it without comment. What makes this case different is that El Naschie gets to publish these papers in a superficially respectable journal that he actually edits.

The fact that Elsevier would let Naschie edit this journal and publish large numbers of papers like this in it shows that their system for monitoring the quality of their journals is broken.

The fact that this journal costs $4520 per year would be hilarious, except that libraries are actually buying it — at a reduced rate, bundled in with other Elsevier journals, but still!

This case raises plenty of other questions:

  • Why did Elsevier let El Naschie become the editor in chief of this journal?
  • Who is El Naschie? What’s his connection with getCited?
  • Why does he have such adoring fans? -people who say things like:

    “Our Chinese Scientists on Nonlinear Dynamics are in infinite love and admiration to both the man and his science. El Naschie actually built a bridge between high-energy particle physics on the one side and nonlinear dynamics, complex theory, chaos, and fractals on the other, and he benefits tremendously from cross-fertilization. Treading the path of El Naschie, we gather together to celebrate the century’s greatest scientist after Newton and Einstein, and share his greatest achievement.”

  • Why is he also an editor for International Journal of Nonlinear Sciences and Numerical Simulation, and why does this journal flaunt its high ‘impact factor’?

If you want a different angle on Naschie’s ideas, try his video on Youtube.

Posted at November 9, 2008 4:43 AM UTC

Taken from

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13 Responses to The Case of M. S. El Naschie

  1. R. Binder says:

    I would like to thank here to John and Zoran for bringing this highly important issue to our attention. I think it is a responsibility of every fellow scientist to identify and report any similar case related to the one of Nashie. At the same time, many hard questions emerge out of this particular case, e.g how many publications should be allowed in a given journal per editor-in-chief? How to judge the degree of misuse of one’s position in a journal, and how to evaluate all this and compare against other cases and factors across different discpilines?

    For these reasons, I would like to share here some food for thought and ask all of you for your opinion on the
    following matter:

    Before I heard of the Naschie case, I was aware of several similar though not so “extreme” cases. One such case is John G. Taylor, professor (now emeritus) of mathematics at the King’s college in London. What’s so strange about this guy? Science Direct lists a total of 52 publications of J.G. Taylor, who is one of the chief editors of Neural Networks, one of the oldest journals dedicated to neural net modeling.

    Only 17 out of 52 publications of J.G. Taylor listed by Science Direct are NOT published in Neural Networks. While it might be the case that J. Taylor has published in other journals not listed by Science Direct, his personal website additionaly and clearly reveals that he has published the vast majority of his work in a respectable journal that he actually edits (Neural Networks). Now, I would like to ask how fair and ethical is this kind of behavior?

    Taylor’s Wikipedia entry tells the following: John Gerald Taylor, born 1931, gained a PhD from Christ’s College, Cambridge (1950-1956). He has had a wide ranging academic career
    in mathematical physics and artificial intelligence.
    He is currently Emeritus Professor and Director of the
    Centre for Neural Networks at King’s College London and
    Guest Scientist of the Research Centre at the Institute of
    Medicine in Jülich, Germany. His previous positions and
    interests, while still at Kings College, were in
    mathematics and physics. He is the author of many popular books.”

    There is a mention of a “wide ranging career” in mathematical physics, but I could identify only 4 articles published by Taylor which are strictly related to physics. These are his articles published in journals Nuclear Physics B and Annals of Physics, in the period between 1958 and 1968. According to Sci Direct, between 1968 and 1991 there is a huge gap in Taylor’s career – no articles published. In 1991, a first publication after so many years is visible, this time it is an article on a
    simple neural net model published in (guess which journal?) – Neural Networks. Following this “success”, in the period between 1991 and 1999 Taylor published rather frequently but exclusively in Neural Networks (only one article published
    in another journal could be identified for this period of 9 years).

    First “real” article in another journal after so many years
    appears in 2002 in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, but again, this article was accepted only as an opinion article, not as an original research paper. In this opinion paper, Taylor claims that he has found “a new neural mechanism, guided by
    a control approach to attention, which identifies the source of consciousness, especially that of the ownership of experience.” However, even during this period (2002 – present), Taylor continues to produce
    papers for Neural Networks with titles as spooky as ‘Neural Networks for Consciousness’. Elsewhere he claims to have developed ‘Models of Mind’, ‘Neural Networks of Mind’ etc.
    If you do some google search, you will find reports on Taylor as being a scientists who investigates the paranormal and parapsychological phenomena.

    All this is telling me that John and Zoran are completely right when they say:
    “The fact that Elsevier would let Naschie edit this journal
    and publish large numbers of papers like this in it
    shows that their system for monitoring the quality of their journals is broken”.

    As I have outlined above, there are other related cases, which are perhaps even worse. Well, one might ask why? Unlike el naschie, who does not even have a university affiliation, people like Taylor have built successful careers and gained respect within the (neural net) community (Taylor is Prof. emeritus at the dept of mathematics, King’s college London, Director of the KCL Computational Neuroscience Group, President of the International Neural Network Society,
    European Editor in Chief of ‘Neural Networks’ etc.).

    And finally, some statistics for Neural Networks and their chief editors:

    31 articles found for John G. Taylor (co-editor in chief)

    56 articles found for Stephen Grossberg (co-editor in chief)

    13 articles found for Kenji Doya (co-editor in chief)

    which yields a total of 100 aricles published by the co-editors-in-chief of Neural Networks!

    Why did Elsevier allow this unethical behavior?

  2. Brian Seindler says:

    Why do you keep this false and silly story alive when John Baez himself has retracted and deleted it from his blog. Is that because such blogs live only for defamation. I am sure you will not answer and most probably you will delete this comment.

  3. Brian Seindler says:

    By the way this blog needs updating. Nature has deleted its article from the internet. There is a full scale investigation going on. The reason is that there is now credible reason to be believe that Mohamed El Naschie was framed by some who may be powerful and have vested interest in getting him out of the way. As an honest blog you should have pointed that out to your readers. Anyway, better late than never.

  4. Jason says:

    Hi Kinclong2,

    Thanks for redirecting Brian Seindler to my El Naschie Watch blog. Naschie supporters hate being told to go there LOL. I imagine Brian reading that, squeezing his eyes shut, putting his fingers in his ears and going LALALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU



  5. Brad says:

    To the blog master. Here is another POV.
    It is really more than depressing to see in which publicity and media society we are living. You wrote a great deal and I am sure with good intention. Unfortunately whether you realize it or not, you have relied entirely upon hearsay. I am afraid you are being used without your knowledge to publicize what a determined little clique want the world to believe. If you are interested in facts then here are the facts. Mohamed El Naschies work was plagiarized by a group who wrote a paper published about a year or so ago in Scientific American. The group leader is Dr. Renate Loll. She works with the Nobel laureate Gerard ‘tHooft in Utrecht. She is originally German and worked in Max Blanc Inst. near Berlin. She knows Prof. El Naschie very well. Many years ago El Naschie gave a lecture in her Max Blanc Inst. in Germany. That is the first connection. The second connection is that El Naschie is a very close personal and scientific friend of Gerard ‘tHooft. Without his knowledge many scientists, students and collaborators of El Naschie wrote angry letters and comments to Scientific American complaining about Loll. This was quite embarrassing for Renate Loll and many of her friends came to her rescue. It was also embarrassing for Nobel laureate Gerard ‘tHooft because Renate got 1.2 million Euro prize for this work in addition to a 2.4 million Euro grant research money for the Inst. of Gerard ‘tHooft. In a cloak and dagger action decision was taken to punish and discredit El Naschie. That is how the whole thing started. The one man internet army John Baez was called to direct the attacks and a meticulous plan was drawn involving Nature, the Inst. of Physics, UK and finally Die Zeit in Germany. All this failed to reach the ultimate goal and now they are baffled as to how El Naschie could sustain all these attacks and stay stedfast. If you check you will find that Die Zeit first modified their article, then withdrew it. In addition El Naschie won a case in Munich against Die Zeit and another case in Hamburg is about to be won. It is established beyond any doubt that Christoph Drosser, the journalist of Die Zeit was lying. He was lying to help his friend also a German named Quirin Schiermeier who works for Nature. Nature has realized that they have been conned. They withdrew their article from the internet. There is a case pending in the High Court in London. El Naschie is a victim of a colossal defamation campaign led by all the above. Now to the facts about him. He is a scientifically and financially totally independent person since he was 30. He is now 66 and has run the journal for two decades. He neither needs promotion, nor fame nor in fact money. He got his Diploma in structural engineering from the University of Hannover. He got his Ph.D. from University College London in 1974. He was a student of Lord Henry Chilver who was the science advisor of Margaret Thatcher. He was invited to join Cambridge. He never applied nor needed to apply for a job anywhere, including Cambridge. He has published about 900 papers and his average productivity dropped when he became the Editor in Chief of Chaos, Solitons & Fractals which he founded. Chaos, Solitons & Fractals is still being produced and carries the name of Mohamed El Naschie and his papers are still being published. Scientific questions of the merit of his work should be discussed in scientific papers, not on blogs devoted to gossip. None the less, here we are. We live in a world it seems controlled by gossip. I am in Google, thus I am. It is really sad, extremely sad and the most sad point about it is that the truth nowadays is a function of repetition and publicity. John Baez notorious article about El Naschie disappeared and so did all the other articles. However from this evil defamatory article, millions of other articles mushroomed and the truth is totally lost. Then a year or two later these gossips land on your desk and you try to rationalize the irrational but all that you have done was really planned for you to do without your knowledge. I hope these facts do not depress you as it does depress me and I hope you check everything for yourself. Do not jump into conclusions. Just remember what Hitlers propaganda minister said. When you make a lie, make it so big that most people will say it is impossible for it to be a lie. Mohamed El Naschie was a great guy for twenty years running the journal which he founded for all that time. All of a sudden, after the publication of Renate Loll’s paper, everything changed.

  6. B.M. Sidley says:

    I was discussing the disgraceful affair of Jan Hendrik Schone. My friend reminded me of the despicable media witch hunt which sometimes exceptionally good scientists are subjected to. False accusations in science are not uncommon. In fact most of the accusations of fraud in science turn out sooner or later to be tendacious or downright criminal. The false accusations against Mohamed El Naschie are very similar to those made against Thereza Imanisha-Kari who was a colleague of Nobel laureate David Baltimore. Mohamed El Naschie is a senior colleague of Nobel laureate Gerard tHooft. Not only that but he is a very close personal friend to the entire family. Therefore I find it extremely disheartening to see that the media on the internet is not rehabilitating Prof. El Naschie with the same enthusiasm with which they defamed him. For instance the famous mathematician John Baez from the Dept. of Math. Of Riverside University in California, USA owes El Naschie a big apology. I have just read an article by Baez praising the golden mean to the sky. A few months earlier he was calling anybody who deals with the golden mean like El Naschie a crackpot. Occasionally it is very easy to find out the truth about things even if one is not a specialist. The citation index of Mohamed El Naschie is in the order of 4,000. By contrast the citation index of this man who made it his business to defame Prof. El Naschie, a certain mathematician from Croatia with a remarkable name Zoran Skoda is only 10 or 12. Jealousy seems to be an affliction to which scientists and not only film stars are prone. I must say that Nature seems to be the exception. Despite the high profile and the high prestige of Nature as the leading scientific magazine in the world, they have withdrawn all their allegations and have conducted a thorough investigation to find out how they were wrongly led to write the defamatory article against El Naschie. There is no doubt that the damage done to molecular electronics by Schones deception is tremendous. However it is nothing compared to the damage wrongly caused to Imanisha-Kari and Mohamed El Naschie. I think Dr. Renate Loll from the Dept. of Physics University of Utrecht Holland also owes a big apology for the witch hunt El Naschie was subjected to. She more than anyone else knows the reason and the force behind it.

  7. Tengelin says:

    Mohamed El Naschies name is featuring in a brand new Royal Society Article just published. The paper is titled The Invariant Set Postulate a new geometric framework for the foundations of quantum theory and the role played by gravity. Proc. R. Soc. A published online 19 July 2009. Prof. Palmer is a theoretical physicist who participates in a sort of technology transfer bringing the mathematical methods of high energy physics and quantum mechanics to bear on weather forecast. Inspired by the work of Mohamed El Naschie he seems to have seen the light. He put his case succinctly using the following apt description. He said quantum mechanics is blind to fractals and this is the source of all paradoxes and contra intuitive interpretations of quantum mechanics. Many leading scientists regard Palmers paper as a milestone and blatant admission of the mainstream that they have been missing the point for decades. If this is the only good thing which came out of the work of Mohamed El Naschie then he was more than justified in publishing all his work in his own journal which is incidentally untrue. He has published in many other journals than Chaos, Solitons and Fractals. I was pleased to see that Palmer as befitting an Englishman and scientist acknowledged his indebtedness to the work of Ord Nottale and Mohamed El Naschie. He clearly is scornful of the cheap propaganda which has been conducted now for far too long against Mohamed El Naschie and his associates. I think it is time for the proprietor of this blog to change the titled of his article and acknowledge the bitter truth that the campaign against El Naschie was malicious deceptive and intended to serve the purpose and hidden agendas of certain quarters.

  8. Sam says:

    I advise everyone to log into the High Court Queens Bench Old Bailey London, United Kingdom. After an orgy of free for all defamation and character assassination Mohamed El Naschie has rightly issued a writ against those responsible. By all means dont take my word for it. Just investigate and find out for yourself. The UK is not Germany or Switzerland where in a sense everyone could defame everyone else without any grave consequences. In the UK things are truly serious and you can lose all your life savings in a moment of recklessness and thoughlessness leading to defamatory accusation.

  9. Jason says:

    Sam, you’re full of it. Just like your sock puppeteer.

    Give us a link.

  10. David says:

    It is not just a matter of funding which is behind the defamatory article in Nature. I think prestigious prizes also play a fundamental role. I read that somewhere on the net but strangely it was removed. The prize in question seems to be the Nobel Prize. Some say that not even the devil could have thought of something as harmful to science as the Nobel Prize. They reckon it is not the prize money itself but the publicity which the Nobel Prize brings. In turn this is translated into money. Noting the recent discovery of the sleaze at the Ivy Leagues in the US I am not astonished that this cash is badly needed. If this is true for Harford why should it not be true for the Einstein Inst. in Berlin or the University of Utrecht in Holland. The names involved with Mohamed El Naschie are quite interesting. Somebody wrote yesterday that he would not be astonished if a best seller comes out of this horrific story in the next few years. It is alright for some. The same writer said try as hard as he can, he simply cannot fathom how the Editor in Chief of Nature could allow this tabloid piece to be published in his journal. He must have his reasons or he had a very deep snooze. He added that he may have had too much respect for Nature just as he used to have for the Nobel Committee. This implies that he has none any longer which is interesting. Finally the writer noted that Mohamed El Naschie had no vested interest and certainly no materialistic interest in publishing his papers because he was sufficiently rich and famous before turning to theoretical physics. The author of this remarkable comment closed by noting that any successful engineer who leaves engineering to be become a theoretical physicist should have his head checked. In other words, he doubts the sanity of theoretical physicists, Mohamed El Naschie included.

  11. Jason says:

    David, you are a subject of conversation over at El Naschie Watch.


  12. Annonymous says:

    Nottale is surely an original researcher. Why else would they attack him so viciously. It is not because of his association with Garnet Ord or Mohamed El Naschie. It is because of his originality and his daring to question conventional wisdom. Besides how would the establishment explain the experimental confirmation of the golden mean as the basis of quantum mechanics. Richard Feynmann, Garnet Ord, Nottale and El Naschie were the first to discover fractals for quantum mechanics. By using golden mean fractals better known as random Cantor sets, El Naschie went one step further providing a means for performing complex computation with unheard of simplicity and without using a computer. This is the advantage of the golden mean binary. The golden mean in quantum mechanics is now a fact. It is an experimental fact and no amount of defamation and distortion will be able to blind true researchers from using the work of Nottale and his colleagues.

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