After the publication of his Special Relativity in 1905, Einstein
became the greatest crackpot of the Physics. But in order to understand
why, we have to learn what the name “crackpot” means when it is applied
in the Theoretical Physics.
In 1998 Rabbi Shlomo Riskin had defined what the designation
“crackpot” means when it is applied to a theorists, saying the
following: “When you’re one step ahead of the crowd you’re a genius.
When you’re two steps ahead, you’re a crackpot.”
So, first of all we have to understand what means one step in Physics, and what means two steps.
Concerning to his scientific method of investigation, Newton said:
“I do not do conjectures”. Then let us understand what the conjectures
represent in the scientific method.
Newton did not do conjectures because he used to prove his assumptions , via mathematics or by experiments.
But the Newton’s discoveries were concerning of the macroscopic
world, in order that he was able to conceive his assumptions based on
observations and doing conclusions about them by using the logic. As
the laws of the macroscopic bodies follow the logic, Newton was able to
develop a theory by doing good conjectures which he was able to prove.
And conjectures cease to be conjectures either when the author proves
them to be correct, or when later experiments prove it.
The genius in Theoretical Physics is the theorist who uses the
Newton’s method, and his discoveries make the Physics to advance one
step. He did not allow himself to do conjectures which he cannot prove.
Therefore his discoveries are limited to the limitations of the
Newton’s method, which was successful for the discovery of the laws of
the macroscopic world, but is limited for the discovery of the laws
concerning the elementary particles as quarks, photons, electron, etc.
This is the step ahead experienced by the advancement of the Physics thanks to the contribution of the genius.
Now let us speak about the two steps ahead which advances the Physics due to the contribution of a crackpot.
In the 19th Century the physicists believed in the existence of the
aether, and Michelson and Morley made an experiment with the aim to
detect it, by considering that the speed of the Earth would have to
change the speed of the light. But they did not succeed to detect any
influence of the speed of the Earth in the light speed, and then in the
end of the 19th Century the Theoretical Physics faced a breaking of a
When an old paradigm in science is broken by a new experiment, many
“crackpots” start to make conjectures, so that to solve the puzzle.
Einstein was one among many “crackpots” who were trying to decipher the
puzzle of the Michelson-Morley experiment, and he faced a problem so
much more complex than those solved by Newton, because the
Michelson-Morley experiment deals with the photon. And the photon is an
exotic particle which follows laws that cannot be discovered via the
method used by Newton.
Einstein was considered by the scientific community a crackpot when
he published his Special Relativity in 1905. And he himself confessed
to be a crackpot, because he wrote an imaginary dialog with Newton,
where he said: “Newton, forgive me, because I was unable to avoid to do
So, the own Einstein was shamed for his betrayal of the Newton’s
scientific method, and he was aware that, by doing conjectures that he
was unable to prove, he had accepted to become a crackpot, and that’s
why he asked forgiveness to Newton .
But of course Einstein had betrayed the Newton criterion on do not to
do conjectures because he already had tried all the attempts avoiding
conjectures, and finally he arrived to the conclusion that it was
impossible to solve the puzzle of the Michelson-Morley experiment
without to do conjectures. Therefore, Einstein decided to become
himself a crackpot because after exhausting all the attempts without
conjectures he finally realized that only a crackpot could be able to
solve the puzzle of Michelson-Morley experiment, by betraying the
Newton’s criterion on do not to do conjectures.
Nevertheless it’s obvious that Einstein had proposed conjectures
because he was hopeful that his conjectures would be confirmed later by
So, we have to consider two sort of “crackpots” in Theoretical Physics:
1- The crackpot whose conjectures are not proven being correct. He continues to be a crackpot.
2- The crackpot whose conjectures are later proven being correct. He becomes a super-genius.
However, a crackpot can propose a theory with many conjectures, and
some of them can be proven later being correct, and other being wrong.
Many of the Einstein’s conjectures had been proven correct along the
years, and so he became a super-genius of the Theoretical Physics. But
he also proposed a wrong conjecture: the empty space, which became a
dogma along one century, but finally it was proven being wrong in 2011,
by a new experiment published in the journal Nature:
Light created from vacuum shows empty space a myth
As we realize, when the conjectures of a crackpot are confirmed, and
he becomes a super-genius, of course along the years the scientific
community forgets that he was a crackpot, because the physicists
consider a shame to admit that to get two steps ahead in the Theoretical
Physics is possible only because a crackpot decided to do conjectures
unacceptable from the viewpoint of the scientific method. The
physicists did not realize yet that two steps cannot be overpassed by a
simple genius. Two steps ahead require a super-genius: a crackpot.
Nowadays the Theoretical Physics is experiencing the most grave
crisis of its History. Recent experiments along the last 5 years are
requiring a New Physics, with new foundations missing in the current
theories. Some physicists are proposing theories developed strictly
according to the scientific method, trying to advance one step ahead the
current theories. If one among them will have his theory confirmed by
experiments and recognized by the scientific community, the physicists
will consider him a genius. Other ones are proposing conjectures which
surpasses the current theories two steps ahead. They are crackpots. If
one among them will have his conjectures confirmed by experiments and
accepted by the scientific community, he will become a super-genius.