An American fringe scientist sued an innocent astronomer on the suspicion of being part of a Jewish conspiracy. His crime: having a colleague who made fun of a telescope that registered “invisible terrestrial entities.” The lawsuit cost Dutch skeptics almost $300,000 to defend in a Florida court.
[caption id="attachment_138972" align="alignright" width="300"] Prof. Ruggero Maria Santilli in June 2008, QuattroRuote magazine[/caption]
Ruggero Maria Santilli was born in 1935 about sixty miles north of Naples, Italy, where he attended university, becoming “Dottore” (Master) in physics on December 10, 1958. Subsequently he taught physics in two Turin high schools. Around 1966, he attended the School of Specialization in Nuclear Physics in Turin. There he supposedly obtained the “equivalent of a PhD”—though Italy had no formal PhD (“Dottore di Ricerca”) before 1980. A recent search of the archives of Turin University found no trace of a specialization thesis by Santilli.
“Dr.” Santilli then moved to the United States and held positions at several universities, lastly as research fellow at several prestigious universities, supported by unemployment benefits or Department of Energy grants under supervision of tenured professors. After 1981, he set up a one-man institute.
Initially, Santilli investigated a generalization of the so-called Lie product AB-BA to AKB-BLA. Supposedly this could describe processes where energy is lost, for example by friction. During his stay at Harvard, he applied this theory to nuclear physics and called it “hadronic physics.” He thought that Einstein’s relativity theory was not valid in dense objects such as atomic nuclei. He didn’t believe in quarks either. Other physicists remarked that the hadronic theory violated basic principles such as conservation of energy and time symmetry of almost all processes of fundamental physics.