onsdag 8 december 2010

KTH-Gate: The Story

Listen to the dinner speech by physics Laurate Andre Geim: ...human progress has always been driven by a sense of adventure and unconventional thinking...these virtues are often forgotten for the sake of cautiousness and political correctness that now rule the world and we sink deeper and deeper from democracy into a state of mediocracy and even idiocracy...

My recent posts tell a story, first incredible, then laughable, and then terrifying about our glorious Royal Swedish Academic System, which is now unraveling at the Royal Institute of Technology KTH. A resume is as follows:
  • A new Bachelor program in Simulation Technology based on my mathematics education program BodyandSoul BS is being planned to start in 2011 under the School of Computer Science and Communication CSC.
  • For this program I have developed BS into a webbased form eBS, parts of which are now being tested in the course Numerical Methods II during the 2nd fall quarter, for a group of 150 engineering students under the School of Mathematics and Science MS.
  • eBS is in draft form and is only available from my home page under my copyright and is not published or available elsewhere.
  • eBS has about 2100 pages, out which say 200 are included in Numerical Methods II.
  • The course is taught by a group of teachers from CSC, not including myself, and the planning and choice of material from the book has been entirely up to this group.
  • I have not met the students and told them anything, except what they can find themselves in eBS with its many links to the outside world of science and simulation.
  • eBS contains a mathematical analysis of some mathematical models including Planck's blackbody radiation law and the basic equations of thermodynamics, which form the basis of climate modeling and simulation. None of these parts are covered in the course.
  • MS is "buying" Numerical Methods II from CSC and has had eBS for inspection since the summer 2010. Suddenly in week 2 of the 7-week course in November, MS discovers that eBS contains a mathematical analysis of blackbody radiation and thermodynamics, which can be seen as a critical analysis of some of science forming the basis of CO2 alarmism.
  • MS also discovers that since the summer I have added a foreword to the students asking them to think for themselves, to be critical to all texts including eBS, and to not buy anything just on authority.
  • In addition, the book states that traditional education is, yes, traditional, and that our new IT-society requires, yes, a modernization of (engineering) education.
  • These three aspects, filling less than 5% of the book volume, turn out to be explosive, and when they combine, fusion results or rather "cold fusion" = scientific hoax.
  • MS decides to use Swedish climate hysteria as a pretext to kill the Bachelor program in Simulation Technology, which is a threat to MS since it offers a mathematics/science education outside MS.
  • To this end MS stimulates a couple of students to sell the idea that eBS has to be stopped because eBS "denies climate change" which in Sweden is heresy.
  • Powered by MS the little gang of students thus approaches media sucking for news of about anything "denying climate change" to crack down upon, to tell about the horrible story that in a numerics course a book is used asking students to "deny climate change" to pass the exam. Horrible, right?
  • The gang of students gets major backing by Lennart Bengtsson as a spokesman for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, who characterizes my 2100 pages book as "bullshit" or "rappakalja" in Finnish-Swedish, because it can be seen as some questioning of IPCC alarmism from a mathematical point of view and thus also of the support of IPCC by the Academy formulated by, yes Bengtsson himself.
  • But the book does nothing but analyzes some mathematical models, and the course covers nothing about climate modeling whatsoever.
  • What media then reports without checking with me is a series of lies about eBS and my work. In week 6 of the course.
  • The gang of students also supplies the President of KTH Peter Gudmundsson with the same disinformation, after which the President quickly informs media that KTH has "deleted pages" in the book or more precisely "removed" the whole book and "replaced" it as course material. Without any contact with me whatsoever, or the teachers of the course for that matter. Of course "bullshit" has to "be removed", right?
  • Was it student protests, media or something else which forced the Presidsent to claim to have "removed" the book?
  • During 5 weeks eBS thus has been used in the course and in week 6, eBS is suddenly "removed" and "replaced", according to the President.
  • In effect, the course continues with eBS as before.
  • In this situation I decide to withdraw my permission to use my copyrighted material eBS in the course, because it is meaningless to offer a book to KTH which has been "replaced" by KTH. Right?
  • I inform CSC that my permission to use the eBS is no longer valid, and that continued use will be a breach of my copyright. CSC tells me that the book will anyway be used, because it is good and the teachers like it, as well as many students if not all. It is so good that it will be used even without my permission to use it. Understand how good it must be?
  • There we are now in week 7: eBS has been publicly "burned" by the President of KTH, but is still alive and in use at KTH, without my consent to use it as my copyrighted material.
  • Swedish media is silent. To report about books "denying climate change" is important. To question if suppression of mathematical analysis is OK in the Kingdom of Sweden is of no interest.
  • Swedish Academia is silent, being fully occupied preparing to hand out Noble Prizes and give speeches about the importance of free expression of scientific ideas, in the World if not in Sweden.
  • The course home page now states under Course Material: The course uses a set of chapters from a draft of the e-book "Body and Soul, Mathematical Simulation Technology", by Johan Jansson and Claes Johnson. There is no link to the book, only the laconic "set of chapters" effectively hiding the course and course material from outside inspection (correct?). This means that the book has been "removed" (or dismembered murdered (styckmördats)) at KTH with only a small innocent residue viewed to be acceptable as food to the students. Mission complete: The statement by the President to the media is correct: BodyandSoul removed at KTH. The reporting by the media is correct: Censorship at KTH. This is Sweden in 2010.
  • But is it really OK for KTH/President to "remove" a book from a KTH course, while it is still being used in the course by the teachers having decided to use the book, without first asking the Faculty (Committee) at KTH? What does the Law say? I have posed this question to the Faculty and will report on the answer.
  • It seems clear that scientific questions (e.g. Planck's Law) is to be handeled by the Faculty and not by the President, or the students (it is not 68 now).
  • The device of KTH "Vetenskap and Konst" or "Science and Craftmanship", seems to be incompatible with "Body and Soul", to be compared with that of King Oscar I "Law and Truth".
You can download eBS from my home page for inspection and strictly personal use.

PS Dec 9: A link to the book has now been hidden as a sublink to a sublist of subchapters included in the course. To put up a link to the book on the course home page, has been declared impossible by Dean Melinder, despite my expressed demand that the book should come with a link. You see here the higher levels of low-level academic educated infight: Of course a "removed book" can only have a "removed link", right?

I look forward to the moment when KTH will come asking for the "removed" book, in order to have some material to offer in the new Bachelors program in Simulation Technology: What will be needed is Mathematical Simulation Technology, right?

11 kommentarer:

  1. Ser ju ut som en trevlig kurs annars att döma av materialet på kurshemsidan: Euler framåt/bakåt, trapetsregel, interpolation, fixpunktsiteration, Newton, Jacobi, steepest descent, konjugerade gradienter, konvergens, linearisering, dualproblem. Verkar vara det vanliga tugget.

  2. Jo, men boken innhåller en härledning av Planck's lag för svartkroppstrålning och det är den som orsakar sådan uppståndelse. Ibland är matematik laddat med innebörd.

  3. irriterad student9 december 2010 20:24

    Det verkar som att vi är försökskaniner till det nya masterprogrammet när jag läser här. Och då kan jag berätta för dig vad resultatet blev: katastrof. En sådan laddad kursmaterial borde överhuvudtaget inte finnas på ett universitet. Du har ingen som helst förmåga att förmedla kunskap, speciellt inte objektivt.

    Din bok har extremt många räknefel vilket gör det nästan omöjligt att försöka förstå vad du menar. Kursen i övrigt är också extremt dåligt planerad och studenter får rätta fel dagligen åt föreläsarna. (vilket inte är ditt fel men boken hjälper inte mycket när allt annat är oförståeligt)

    Förresten verkar du tro att vi har "tvingat" kursansvariga att plocka bort boken, vilket vi inte har gjort alls. Vem har sagt det?

    Många har efter 2 månader inte lärt sig ett smack trots många timmar sittandes med kursen och det beror inte på att vi saknar intelligens.

    Att media uppmärksammar miljöfrågorna beror på att de vinklar sina artiklar och eftersom miljö är det enda allmänheten är intresserad av. Hela upprördheten handlar inte om dina klimatavsnitt utan om hela kursen, vilket jag hoppas att du har förstått vid det här laget. Vi går inte på KTH för att lära oss nonsens och propaganda, och förväntar oss därmed att vi använder bra kursmaterial.

  4. Det skulle hjälpa om Du var konkret i Din kritik. Vad är inte objektivt?
    Vilka är räknefelen? Vad är nonsens? Vad är propaganda?
    BodySoul har använts på Chalmers 1998-2005, och används fortfarande i
    ungefär som i Din kurs, med utmärkta resultat och nöjda studenter. Varför skulle BS inte kunna funka på KTH också? Läs Metro-Teknik, DN och Ny Teknik så förstår Du att studenter "tvingat" KTH a "plocka bort" BS.

  5. Hello Dr Claes Johnson.

    My name is Luiz Barros, i'm a Geography student of Sao Paulo University (USP), at Brazil. Here we have a very diferent situation from the described in your blog. Here we can listen teachers talking about their own ideas of global warming, even if they are against the mainstream of the scientinfic comunity. We have a group at the department of geography that studies the farse of Global warming, and fight against that kind of situation when we cannot express our ideas and research. I don't had the opportunity to read your book, but i think that will be very important to my research in the graduate program, I will try to make a History of the global warming ideas, and look for the sociological, political and economical influences in this turning point in the science thinking.

    I'm reading slowly your blog, and I already think it's very interesting to me.

    Best regards!


  6. You're right, this IS terrifying - it amounts to Lysenkoism. It's obvious these people have no idea what they're actually doing. Don't they understand the term "academic freedom"? They have closed minds, and are doing a disservice to both education and science. If the roles were reversed, and one of them was in your current situation, they'd be outraged, and rightly so.

    It does give an insight though into how scientists and academics with integrity can be coerced and bullied into conforming with the "party line" and dogma, thereby risking that integrity. It's no wonder there's so much questionable "science" and teaching these days.

    I'd support your position even if I disagreed with your arguments, assuming those arguments were based on reason, logic, good science and clear mathematics. Unfortunately much of what I read on the 'net these days contains little if any of those fundamental elements, and I sadly include some of the AGW-sceptical material in that.

    Take heart in the fact that while all of this would have gone unreported only 10 years ago, we now have the internet and more importantly the blogosphere. Your plight is not unique, though that's little comfort to you, and not unnoticed. One day most of this madness will have evaporated, and academic freedom will be restored.

  7. Jag har inte läst igenom hela BS (det är ju som sagt ett väldigt långt verk) utan endast skummat igenom delar av det. Jag finner det dock intressant att trots att verket är fyllt av bilder som ser ut att ha hittats med hälp av godtycklig sökmotor. Så är den grafik som är tänkt att hjälpa till med förståelsen av vissa matematiska bevis uppenbarligen ritad i MsPaint eller liknande (och endast pensel-verktyget har använts). Jag tänker specifikt på sidorna 314 och 327, där den första hör till beviset av "the Fundamental Theorem" och den senare till '"the Generalized Fundamental Theorem".

    Om BS verkligen har använts vid Chalmers under de år som Claes Johnson hävdar, så kan man ju inte annat än ställa sig frågan om ingen har reagerat på detta tidigare.

    Om man nu som Claes Johnson har bestämt för att försöka revolutionera hur matematik lärs ut, så hade han väl i alla fall kunnat bemöda sig att lägga ner lite tid på att skapa den grafik som faktiskt är nödvändig. En person som brinner för ämnet IT-Matematik bör väl känna till lite bättre verktyg än det mest enkla ritprogrammet.

  8. BS är på 2100 sid, och är en första version som är ofullständig i flera avseenden, tex figurer och datorprogram. Det enkla ritverktyget har medvetet använts för simulera hur det brukar se ut när man ritar på svarta tavlan. Är det så svårt att förstå? BS kopplar nära till FEniCS som är avancerad IT-matematik.

  9. Angående bilderna så är de valda för att illustrera olika aspekter av simulering och matematik. Kanske har jag inte alltid lyckats förmedla
    vad jag velat får fram, kanske krävs ibland en viss fantasi hos betraktaren
    för att bilderna skall bli meningsfulla och inte framstå som slumpmässigt valda.

  10. MostlyHarmless,

    Very good points you make. One of the most terrifying things about the whole debate is the inability of so many people to grasp even the most elementary aspects of the issue. As a matter of fact, most people are not even capable of defining the greenhouse effect they try to defend (or deny for that matter).

    I think what we face is something of a Wittgensteinian dilemma. Since nobody clearly defines the necessary concepts involved (temperature, second law of thermodynamics, whether light coming from the sun is a heat flow or not) discussions at this point are most likely to be futile.