Barry Barish

In 2019-2020-ish I attended a Barry Barish talk about LIGO at UC Riverside. Afterwards, I approached to ask a question. Barry had an aide with him and you could tell they both stiffened up at the thought I might have an original idea and try to engage. In fact, right in front of me, the aide told Barry to signal him if he needed to be whisked away! Good grief, physicists are so paranoid and defensive about people with ideas. Anyway, I asked Barry something like “What is one to do if they think they have made a major advancement in physics, but no physicists will engage?” His response was that you have to play the game. You have to publish. I followed up with the statement that the journals won’t publish an outsider. Barry shrugged and repeated his advice to play the game and walked away.

You gotta play the game.

Barry Barish in response to J Mark Morris

To this day, I am still quite flabbergasted by Barry’s response, and by the response in general from physicists to social media interactions, answering phone calls, returning voice messages, and unwillingness to discuss ideas with an outsider. I mean seriously. Do they really think there is no one else in the world who could have an idea that could help them? Why aren’t they holding contests for ideas? My gosh. How many decades of crisis must we endure?

Here is Barry in an interview with Lawrence Krauss. The long form style shows Barry in a much more relaxed and natural state than he was when I met him when he looked apprehensive and fearful speaking to an outsider (me).