For Kannan Jegathala Krishnan, 42, the chance to speak at the Indian Science Congress at the Lovely Professional University here was a first step towards convincing the world that he’s the greatest physicist ever.
“The 20th century was that of Einstein, and in some years, this century will be the one of Krishnan. It has to be,” the management-graduate-cum electrical engineer who is not a physicist declares.
Mr. Krishnan carries a thick sheaf of printouts of emails sent to presidents, prime ministers, physicists and senior officials in universities such as Oxford, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University, most of them unsolicited and unacknowledged. The few replies are requests to stop spamming them.
An Indian scientist, who didn’t want to be identified and who has interacted with Mr. Krishnan told The Hindu that he was “impossible” to converse with on physics. “A colleague and I heard him out but it wasn’t a discussion about theory. It was quite bizarre,” he said over phone.
Catherine Braiding, a physicist at the University of New South Wales rebuked him in a note thus: “Dude, in order to prove that someone said something, you need to show an example of him saying it, not that you spammed him once about it.”
‘Him’ here refers to the late physicist Stephen Hawking and the connecting link claimed by Mr. Krishnan to Hawking is Union Science Minister, Harsh Vardhan.
Last March, the Minister claimed at the 105th Science Congress in Imphal that ‘ Stephen Hawking said that the Vedas might have a theory superior to that of Albert Einstein’s E=mc2 equation .’ Dr. Vardhan never revealed the source of his information and wanted journalists to find out. The media traced the source to a ‘Stephen Hawking’ Facebook page which had no connection to the scientist.
“I am the source of his information,” claims Mr. Krishnan. As evidence, he shows several photos of Dr. Vardhan and him in conversation and some text messages. These messages, perused by The Hindu , are generic and don’t reflect a conversation.
On Friday, Mr. Krishnan delivered a talk at the ‘Rashtriya Kishore Vaigyanik Sammelan’, a regular event held at the Science Congress with an audience of children and their teachers. A spokesperson for the LPU confirmed that Mr. Krishnan addressed his audience, but that he’d been vetted by the Indian Science Congress Association.
The Indian Science Congress, though funded by several government departments, has invited controversy and criticism over the rigour of speakers and papers. In the 2015 Congress in Mumbai, there were lectures on how certain Vedic texts described advanced avionics and flying planes.
Mr. Krishnan claims that Einstein was wrong on relativity. The scientist’s big idea, that gravity was a result of matter and space interacting with each other and not a distinct force, was “incorrect”.
Rather, he says, space is like an enveloping, compressive force. This has its basis in the Vedas. During compression, there are repulsive forces generated and out of these pop different fundamental particles. The Higgs boson (a particle that plays a role in matter acquiring mass) and nicknamed the ‘God Particle’ is the ‘wrong God’ among particles. Rather it’s the ‘top quark’ (one of the particles that make up protons and electrons) that should be the ‘God particle,’ Mr. Krishnan argues. He has little by way of backing but says he doesn’t need evidence or the mathematics to back his theories simply because landmark experiments—such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) smashing protons at unprecedented energy to discover new phenomena—are proof enough.
Mr. Krishnan doesn’t have formal physics degrees but says that he has spent the last five years trying to resolve conundrums of physics. This has meant altercations with his Ph. D supervisor in Melbourne, a slew of ad-hoc jobs and being labelled “mentally unstable” by the supervisor. His wife, he says, is a government doctor. He plans to relocate to India for good.