Theory Debate Gets Literary, and Ugly

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Science  04 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5382, pp. 1427
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5382.1427a

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In a sharp departure from the usual dry, impersonal style of scientific publications, a recent paper in Physical Review Letters compared one "not so beautiful" theory of high-temperature superconductivity (HTS) to a "figure in a cartoon" and made withering use of literary references, prompting a comment from the authors in a similar vein. The exchange demonstrates the volatility of the world of HTS theories, in which, it is said, there are as many theories as there are theoretical physicists working on the problem.