Wednesday, November 23, 2016

How I got a Wikipedia page

It has dubious origins.

Some people are very impressed that I have a Wikipedia page.
I find this a bit embarrassing because there are many scientists, more distinguished than I, who do not have pages.
When people tell me how impressed they are I tell them the story.

Almost ten years ago some enthusiasts of "quantum biology" invited me to contribute a chapter to a book on the subject. The chapter I wrote, together with two students, was different from most of the other chapters because we focussed on realistic models and estimates for quantum decoherence in biomolecules. (Some of the material is here.) This leads one to be very skeptical about the whole notion that quantum coherence can play a significant role in biomolecular function, let alone biological processes. Most other authors are true believers.

I believe that to promote the book one of the editors had one of his Ph.D. students [who appeared to also do a some of the grunt work of the book editing] create a Wikipedia page for the book and for all of the senior authors. These pages emphasised the contribution to the book and the connection to quantum biology.

The "history" of my page states it was created by an account that
An editor has expressed a concern that this account may be a sock puppet of Bunzil (talk · contribs · logs).
I have since edited my page to remove links and references to the book since it is not something I want to be defined by.

An aside. Today I updated the page because when giving talks I got tired of sometimes being introduced based on outdated information on the page.

Hardly, a distinguished history....

The xkcd cartoon is from here.

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