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Rejection letters, correspondence, and miscellanea from the otherwise empty annals of the Journal of Universal Rejection.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

As Easy as Salty Water

Editor's note: tonight a long series of correspondence with Prof. Angelos Michaelides.   I especially recommend the bit with the YouTube video:
 
Dear Editors, 

I write to submit our manuscript “Initial stages in salt crystal dissolution determined with ab initio molecular dynamics”  to the Journal of Universal Rejection.

The manuscript describes the first quantum mechanical simulations of salt (NaCl) crystal dissolution in liquid water, and reveals for the first time the precise mechanism by which salt crystals dissolve.
Given that two thirds of our planet is covered in salty water, it almost goes without saying that salt dissolution is one of the most vital and fundamental physical processes to mankind, of central importance to fields such as atmospheric science, chemistry, biology, and physics. Despite this key role and increased contemporary drivers from e.g. nanotechnology and the desalination industry, a reputable journal willing to publish our manuscript has  so far remained elusive. 
Although your journal has an unusually low acceptance rate I am confident that our manuscript contains such exciting and groundbreaking results that you will have no choice but to accept our manuscript for publication. 
A copy of the manuscript is attached. Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me. 
Looking forward to a positive response to the review process. 
Kind regards, 
Angelos Michaelides 

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Prof. Angelos Michaelides
London Centre for Nanotechnology & Department of Chemistry,
University College London,
17-19 Gordon Street,
London WC1H 0AH
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Dear Prof. Michaelides,

Thank you for your interesting submission to the Journal of Universal Rejection. 

I am not certain that our readership is interested in the mechanism of salt dissolution.  Let me delve into this a bit more.  You claim that they should be because roughly 2/3 of the earth is covered by salt water.  Isn't that actually an argument *against* needing to understand how salt dissolves in water?  There is so much salty water around, it's not like we really need to know how to make more.  Which brings me to my second point, which is that even if we wanted to make more, it's not like it's that hard.  You can really just pour some Morton's salt right into a glass of water and stir it a bit. The white little crystals kinda disappear into the water.  After that it doesn't taste as good, though if you add some lemon juice and sugar it can become pretty okay.

Next, you claim your "simulations reveal a complex multi-step process triggered by the departure of Cl ions from the lattice, with a well-defined intermediate state wherein departing ions are partially solvated but remain in contact with the crystal."  This sentence led us to suspect that you hadn't actually done any simulations at all.  Instead you have all probably been sitting around on an old couch and watching soap operas on the telly.  Maybe it's just me, but it sounds like the ions are like the ex-lovers that keep turning up and spoiling the wedding.

Therefore your submission is rejected.

Best regards,
Caleb
--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection
http://www.universalrejection.org/

Dear Caleb,

thank you very much for your letter of February 20th. 

I cannot deny that I was disappointed to learn that you did not consider our manuscript suitable for publication in the Journal of Universal Rejection. However, I take your point that there is probably too much salty water on earth already and yes it is certainly an easy experiment to perform as one of my students demonstrated in the 1970s:  

I am appalled however and cannot in any way accept the scurrilous accusation that we sit around on an old couch watching soap operas all day. The couch grace our posteriors with is of the highest quality I'll have you know; soft leather and less than 3 months old.

Best wishes, 
Angelos

Dear Angelos,

Thank you for setting me straight about the couch.  Also for pointing out the video about salt water.  It was uncannily similar to the rejection letter.  You all must have had the video cameras ready to go and started filming as soon as you received the letter last night. 

I was hoping to post our correspondence on JofUR's blog:
http://reprobatiocerta.blogspot.com/
Does that sound good to you? 

Best regards,
Caleb
--
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Editor-in-Chief
Journal of Universal Rejection


Dear Caleb,
yes, that's fine with me but there can be no doubt that the video was made in the 1970s. George is an old man now.
Best wishes, 
Angelos

1 comment:

  1. The video should also be rejected because the 'stirrer' was not mentioned in 'things' needed! :D

    ReplyDelete