Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wikepedia does again!

Hello QP fans,

Wikipedia has done it again. They have removed another QP related article. This time it is Mark DeSilca who is the victim of this plot agains QP. Luckily, I have saved the article and you can read it below.

Mark DeSilca  (1969-1999?) was an English–Italian theoretic physicist living and working in Paris, France at the time of his disappearance in 1999. He is mostly known for developing controversial interdisciplinary work where he used psychoanalysis to support work in string theory.

One of Swedish artist Mats Gustafson portraits of DeSilca.


DeSilca was born in Padua, Italy on 10 March, 1969. His father, English Physicist Henry DeSilca (born Smyth) married his mother Sandra DeSilca in 1968 and they took her family name. His mother died in New York of an overdose in 1981, at the time she had been absent from the family since 1974. DeSilca studied primarily in London, Oxford, Rome and Stockholm and got his PhD from Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan in Stockholm in 1992. He returned to London in the same year and in 1993 he moved to Paris where he developed his most mature work. In 1997 he married Mercedes Hernandez.


DeSilca was a child prodigy of physics. He won numerous awards and was put in special schools around Europe. He studied at Imperial College London, University College, Oxford (where he was rumoured to have had a fist fight with his tutor over issues related to physics) and Sapienza University of Rome. By the time he got his PhD, he was hailed as being a most promising theoretical physicist and gained increasing respected for his work with string theory. The entire scientific community seemed to agree that he had a brilliant future and the pressure on him mounted. A colleague of his father’s, American biologist Bill Wainright wrote in early 1993:

"There is a brilliance in the workings of Mark DeSilca’s mind and he will bring great and beautiful things to humanity. I have never in my 35 years in science come across anyone who has the traits of a patent clerk from Berne. (Alluding to young Albert Einstein.) The poetic ways and intellectual brilliance with which he meets his challenges is unprecedented. If he wants, this young man can go further than any old and mediocre scientist, like myself could ever imagine."

In 1997 his research took a turn that the scientific community had a hard time to accept. DeSilca started reading Freud and Lacan and looked for proofs to his theories about Hawking Radiation and strange and convoluted speculations about temporality in the humanities. None of this research was ever published, since he disappeared and he took all his work with him. But Visual Anthropology Review ran an article about him in April 1999. It was written by French writer and psychoanalyst Laurent Devèze, in it DeSilca is quoted saying (Volume 15, No. 1, Spring/Summer 1999, University of California Press, Berkeley):

"The problem with the humanities is that you look at time as if Theodor Kaluza, Albert Einstein and Werner Heisenberg never existed. You live in the 19th century. Freud opened the door ever so slightly and peeked into the present. I am going to make an example, if we take a child at a point x1 in traditional Newtonian time. At this point where the child is young it has been traumatized. After x1 there are two possible trajectories: first we allow it to deal with the trauma. We call this possibility t1. On the other hand, if parents and social workers ignore the child’s trauma, another trajectory that we call t2 is produced. 25 years later the child that has followed t2 goes through psychoanalysis and reconnects not only with x1 but also with x2, which is the point the now adult child would have been at had it followed t1. This creates a bridge where t2 reconnects with t1. If the child never goes through treatment t2 will never reconnect with t1. So, far everything is fine, but the truth is that when t2 reconnects with x1 and x2 at the same time, it creates a third trajectory t3 which is connected to x1, x2, t1 and t2 which is impossible unless we introduce negative timelines and at least four dimensions, where the fourth dimension is not temporality. [. . .] I promise that by pairing string theory with psychoanalytic theory, a revolution in both disciplines that is unprecedented will take place."

Later in the article DeSilca is asked by Devèze what the implications on psychoanalysis will be on physics to which DeSilca replied:

"You will understand when you read my article and I promise that you will never look at time in the same way again. I will give you a hint. Where Kaluza suggested that the dimensions are curled up in the extremely small, I prove that the dimensions are curled up in the world as we know it, even when you go and buy a baguette at your local bakery the girl who sells it to you lives in an infinite number of dimensions and some of them of them are even negative."

The article caused a small commotion in the physics community and many and loud voices were raised that DeSilca’s funding should be cut without further notice. But before any decisions were made DeSilca disappeared under very strange circumstances.

==Disappearance and Controversy==

In spring 1999 Mark DeSilca disappeared. His body was never found. He was proclaimed dead by the French Police in January 2009.

There have been noted and yet unconfirmed sightings of DeSilca particularly in the period of 2001-2005. A documentary by Italian filmmaker Antonio Venti investigates these sightings.

==DeSilca in popular culture==

In a documentary by Italian Filmmaker Antonio Venti about the scientist’s disappearance family and scientists alike claim to have bumped into DeSilca. They all claim that he did not recognise them, casting further light on the strangeness of his disappearance.

Laurent Devèze continues to this day to give public talks about DeSilca and his views on temporality.

Swedish artist Mats Gustafson has created a series of portraits of DeSilca.

American rock band Idle Hands ( have written a song called “Mark in Minneapolis” which is about bumping in to DeSilca in their hometown.

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