Really Bad Physics Abstract

I was looking through a recent copy of Physics Abstracts, the amned-near indispensable gathering of information on articles in physics journals printed over he previous six months, when I stumbled across this one. I was intrigued by the title – Dichromates come from Jello, by one K. L. Rallison – but I was blown away by the abstract that described the article. Man! What did this guy do to piss off the abstracter? (And no, you don’t write your own abstract for this journal. I never did.)I don’t think this is long enough to violate usage rules:
“The paper is a brief journey from the author’s first introduction to display optics to a career in holography. It is anecdotal experiences more or less presented in order of occurrence and has no technical merit. It represents the author’s best effort at story telling and may not even be accurate.”
If this is the abstracter’s best effort at storytelling, it’s pretty poor. He should work on his grammar.

If you’re interested this is abstract #23891 for 2001 on p. 2507 of the Feb 15, 2001 edition of PA.

Mehbeh the guy who wrote it was big on dichromates and the insuation that they come from Jello was offensive to him…

“No technical merit”? “May not even be accurate”? Jeez, once you get those physics abstracters going they’ll never stop with the witty jabs.

I’d have just put:

“Objects in Jello may be larger than they appear.”

come on, no one said

“Conclusions drawn from the Jello may be shaky.”?


Actually, it’s a really good abstract. As you can see from the paper itself (, the quotes are taken directly from the paper. The author apparently has no illusions about the technical merit of his paper, but it might be of interest to anyone who has wondered who makes all those holographic tsotchkes you see in museum gift shops.

How did it get published? Usually works with no merit in advancing the body of knowledge don’t make it past the peer review.

Then again, there is an hierarchy of journals. What won’t get published in one journal might get published in a less prestigious one. Eventually, near the bottom of the list, there is a start-up journal that needs filler.

Well naturally! I mean, there’s always room for Jell-o…

Doo dee doo dee doo.