A showdown in Nature between Chu and Cohen-Tannoudji

Chu vs. Cohen-Tannoudji

The argument stems from the interferometry work published in Nature earlier this year:
Müller H, Peters A, & Chu S (2010). A precision measurement of the gravitational redshift by the interference of matter waves. Nature, 463 (7283), 926-9 PMID: 20164925

Cohen-Tannoudji says, “Wrong.”
Wolf P, Blanchet L, Bordé CJ, Reynaud S, Salomon C, & Cohen-Tannoudji C (2010). Atom gravimeters and gravitational redshift. Nature, 467 (7311) PMID: 20811407

Chu says, “I’m right.”
Müller H, Peters A, & Chu S (2010). Müller, Peters & Chu reply. Nature, 467 (7311) PMID: 20811408

And in the end, I still have no clue what’s going on. Would anyone more informed out there care to explain?

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  1. Anna Goldstein

    I love this controversy so much, not just because it features the Secretary of the DOE publishing about theoretical physics in his spare time. I like to imagine that these two guys have this very stormy relationship, and they need William D. Phillips to step in and break up the fight.

  2. I am the brother of Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, the 1997 Nobel laureate. He told me that William D. Philips, the third co-laureate of the 1997 Nobel prize, completely agrees with him. For your information, have a look at this paper (http://arxiv.org/pdf/1102.2587v4.pdf) in which the authors raise a decisive objection to the Muller, Peters, Chu argument: “Wolf et al dispute this claim and adduce arguments against it.
    In this article, we distill these arguments to a single fundamental objection: an atom is not a clock
    ticking at the Compton frequency.”