I stumbled upon the Wikipedia page of Manahel Thabet recently. Here are some extracts from the Wikipedia page.

"At the age of 25, she earned her first PhD in Financial Engineering magna cum laude, making her the youngest person and the only Arab ever to attain such distinction."


"She went on to earn a second PhD in 2012, this time with a major in quantum mathematics."


"In 2012, Thabet developed a formula that measures distance in space without the use of light. The formula was considered ground breaking in the field of quantum mathematics and is 350 pages of numbers, calculations, and equations."

A google search would suggest that she is quite popular in some circles (and she has 50k followers on Twitter). But are things written on her Wikiepdia page facts?

As a student of mathematics, I've never heard of the phase "quantum mathematics" being an actual term to describe the branches of mathematics used in quantum mechanics, or the study of mathematical objects coined with phases begin with "quantum" (such as quantum group). Thus I find it strange for one to "major in quantum mathematics". Or perhaps I am just ignorant.

So I went on looking for the papers she published. I was particularly interested in the methodology she devised for measuring distance which involves a "350 pages" formula. Here is an article on gulfnews.com about how the formula "takes world by storm" (but not about the formula itself).

And I found this paper.

Measuring Distances in Space by Manahel A. R. Thabet

American Educational Research Association (AERA)

Abstract: Determining distances in space is a technical phenomenon; astronomers are trying to come up with a correct way to do it. It is not easy for most of us to imagine the truly immense scale of the universe. “Scale,” in this case, refers to the size of an object compared with its surroundings or another object (McGaugh). Distances in the space are vast from one celestial body to another; for instance, it takes a light signal 10.5 years to travel to the nearest star that has planets (Bonnet, 1992). The fact that light travels 30000 times faster than any fastest rockets renders human beings unable to reach to some planets even if they travelled their entire lifetime.

To determine space distance, several methods with different variations are used or have been proposed. These methods, unfortunately, have faults. In this research, I clearly explain several of these methods and their faults and errors. We will also observe the universe as being three-dimensional and flat as explained in Euclidean: Euclidean means that all the geometry and lines (that are taught in mathematics and physics) properties applies. Measuring distance from earth to celestial bodies like star, sun and moon help astronauts to determine the size of the universe; also it helps to estimate the age of universe. Therefore it is important to use correct methods in estimating space distance.

This appears to be more of an article for layman audiences. It brought up the standard candle approach for measuring cosmological distances (page 18) without discussing it extensively. And the expanding photosphere method (EPM) was not even mentioned. It does not seem to be the paper I was looking for. But this was all I could find after numerous Google searches.

I could find neither the allegedly groundbreaking formula, nor any solid evidence that it actually exists.

Arabianbusiness.com ranked her as the 15th most powerful Arab woman in 2015. But is it true she has written a "350 pages" formula to measure distance in space without the use of light? If so, where is it published and how can one find it?

A side question: which graduate school did she attend for her Ph.D in "quantum mathematics"? I couldn't find any information regarding that either.

  • 9
    Note: SSRN is a preprint service; a paper being there doesn't mean it's been peer-reviewed. – cpast May 3 '15 at 23:20
  • 7
    Twitter feed is practically gibberish. – Ernest Friedman-Hill May 4 '15 at 1:29
  • 5
    @GEdgar Why would NASA or any space agency want to "buy an formula" developed by someone who clearly has never had a single paper published by a peer-reviewed journal? That appears to be nothing more than an excuse to hide the fact that there is no such formula. – Archy Wilhes 魏何 May 6 '15 at 16:28
  • 6
    She advertises how she was World Genius Directory 2013 Genius of the Year. This is (allegedly) determined by member voting, in a society that accept submitted test results, and whose High IQ links include Love spells, Psychics, Astrology and Paint Ball games. – Oddthinking May 7 '15 at 1:40
  • 11
    Update: The Wikipedia page has now been deleted. – Bobson May 19 '15 at 3:36
up vote 30 down vote accepted

Did Manahel Thabet develop a groundbreaking formula to measure distance in space without the use of light?

NO! This extraordinary claim which came from Wikipedia:

In 2012, Thabet developed a formula that measures distance in space without the use of light.[2] The formula was considered ground breaking in the field of quantum mathematics and is 350 pages of numbers, calculations, and equations.[2]

is not based on reality, it is paraphrased and misleading.

The Wikipedia source [2] referenced the gulfnews.com's article Dubai women's space formula takes world by storm which said:

Dr Manahel Thabet may soon join the ranks of the scientists and discoverers she's spent her life looking up to. The Yemeni national has created a formula that may prove ground-breaking in the world of quantum mathematics. It could forever change the dynamics of what we consider space.

  • The gulf article said that she is may soon join the ranks of the scientists and discoverers, while Wikipedia paraphrased it as she redefined.

  • The gulf article said that has created a formula that may prove ground-breaking, while Wikipedia paraphrased it as she developed a groundbreaking working formula in the field of quantum mathematics.

But is it true that she wrote a "350 pages" formula to measures distance in space without the use of light? If so, where is it published and how can one find it?

Good question. Now, we're asking about whether she wrote a 350 pages formula, regardless whether it is scientifically correct or not.

It is reported in another gulf article called Dubai resident brings Arab genius into equation that:

Having worked on the 350-page formula relating to ‘Structure Variation Hyper Arithmetical Sort Operators and Applications’ for a few years now, Manahel along with her team is trying to redefine the method of measuring distances across the universe using new particles. Her formula, which has caught the attention of space agencies such as Nasa and the French space agency, could help scientists and space researchers measure distances in space in the absence of light.

It is good to start saying that Manahel A. R. Thabet's scholarly papers are not numerous. She has only seven papers in her record.

Among her seven published papers, only the paper you mentioned studied the "measure of distance in space". If she had ever developed a groundbreaking formula to measure distance in space it would be on this paper, but it wasn't.

So, where is this mysterious formula?

It seems that Dr Thabet is trying to sell her formula to NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administratio). Dr Tabet is the founder and President of Smart Tips Consultants, a business which existed since 8 years ago.

Today, the Dubai-based President of Smart Tips, a consulting firm, is negotiating rights to this formula with Nasa, the French space agency, as well as other space agencies, astro-physicists, etc, all want the honor of developing her formula. "For now, I'm still deciding who would be the best entity to adopt this equation," says 32-year-old Manahel, the youngest person in the world with a PhD in Financial Engineering.

You will find not the formula anywhere online, since it is reported that negotiation rights are still made with NASA - that is, if it exists in the first place.

  • 5
    Moreover registrar.uic.edu/student_records/latin_honors.html suggests that UIC awards "Latin honors" such as magna cum laude only on undergraduate and pharmacy degrees - not on the PhD. I know the question was not about Thabet's educational qualifications, but I think this may call into question the accuracy of Mint and Hint's report of her career. – Nate Eldredge May 5 '15 at 6:22
  • 10
    The fact that you were blocked on Twitter, despite a polite request (I assume that was the only one), I believe is evidence that she is a quack. Worth including? I'd love to write a bio of her claims and whether they are backed by evidence, but it is beyond the scope of the question. – Oddthinking May 5 '15 at 8:06
  • 7
    @Oddthinking There are duck-like phenomena (I was surprised my naive Google search found no references to her name on .edu or .ac.uk web sites) but imo blocking on Twitter isn't evidence. – ChrisW May 5 '15 at 8:55
  • 11
    @DavePhD, I don't really consider your link a paper, journal or a study. This is not a research, this paper you listed is too mediocre with basic high school algebra, it has no research, look she's explaining complex numbers: Quantum mechanics is full of complex numbers, for example i = sqrt(-1). Remember that sqrt(-1) is a complex number (not a real ordinary number), since you cannot find a real number whose square is -1. The rest is all math formulas, and goes on explaining what is Quantum Mechanics. It has no research inside. This could be a Powerpoint Presentation. – George Chalhoub May 6 '15 at 13:51
  • 5
    @DavePhD, I agree also. "Measuring Distances in Space" was published in an economics journal. This woman seems to be extremely overrated. – George Chalhoub May 6 '15 at 15:07

Classmates.com lists her, with a photograph, as having attended a "DePaul Academy, Chicago IL" from 1992-1996 for high school.

There was a DePaul Academy high school in Chicago that closed in 1968 and was all boys, but I'm not aware of another. This high school was originally part of the DePaul University, and based upon the information discussed below, it appears that the person entering the photo into classmates.com confused the high school with the university.

There was a news release by Calypte Biomedical Corporation on 5 September 2007:

Ms. Manahel Thabet, newly appointed President of the Dubai Office, completed her post graduate studies in Commerce in 1996 prior to joining the United Nations. She spent eight years with several NGO’s in the MENA region before serving as an Investment Advisor for the largest bank in the UAE for two years. More recently she has run a fund management company.

According to another source:

Thabet, Manahel was born October 14, 1974 in Yemen. Daughter of Abdulrahman Thabet and Najat Qussami.

Education: M with honors, De Paul University, USA, 1996; Certified finance engineering UAE.

(but also says she was at DePaul from "2000-1996")

Career: Chief Executive Officer Al Salasa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, since 2003; investment advisor National Bank Of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 2001—2003

She is photographed here with apparent DePaul University diplomas in the background. As observantly pointed out by ChrisW, the upper diploma contains the typo "Universtity". As pointed out in ChrisW's deleted answer, the video Dr Manahel Thabet, the Queen of Bourse zooms in on this diploma at 2:42, showing it is a December 2008 diploma for Doctor of Science in financial engineering from the DePaul Universtity [sic] School of Commerce. It also contains the phrase "with appertain thereto" rather than the usual "which appertain thereto". The School of Commerce has been renamed Driehaus College of Business, and does not indicate offering such degree, but you could contact the school and ask if they ever offered such a degree.

DePaul offers PhDs in only a few fields: Computer Science, Psychology and Philosophy. An "Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (EDBA)" is also offered. No other doctoral progams are offered.

Another mention of Manahel Thabet is that she is thanked as a friend in the January 2009 thesis of Sara Nizar Abuljadayel of British University in Dubai:

To my Father (Nizar Abuljadayel), my Mother (Najiah Bin Laden), My Brother (Loai), my elder sister (Haifa), my Younger Sister (Nouf), My cousins (Kholoud Kurdi, Abeerand Hala Bin Laden, Lujain) and my friends (Manahel Thabet...

Generally speaking, if someone has a PhD, their thesis can be found in library catalogs, like the one above. But searching for Manahel Thabet in Google Scholar shows only 8 articles with no indication of peer review, plus the thesis in which she is thanked as friend.

For example, DePaul University clearly states:

All doctoral dissertations are to be published through ProQuest and entered into DePaul University’s institutional repository

Whereas the arabianbusiness.com article in the OP states "Dr Thabet’s Name was engraved in the wall of honor of the Royal Society of Science in UK in recognition to her massive role promoting human intelligence"; it is the Royal Society of Medicine Wall of Honour and placement of one's name on the wall is instead obtained for a donation of 2,500 pounds.

In the OP her affiliation is stated as "American Educational Research Association". Affiliation is obtained for a fee of $55 (or $180 for a higher level).

The term "quantum mathematics" is used by some universities. For example there is the University of Oxford Centre for Quantum Mathematics and Computation. I've never seen a university refer to a degree as being in "quantum mathematics", but hypothetically if someone had a PhD in mathematics, with their thesis being on quantum mathematics, it might be reasonable for them to say they have a PhD in quantum mathematics. However, a search of the phrase "PhD in quantum mathematics" only yields one person claiming to have such a degree.

Finally getting to the main question, quoting the Dubai Woman's Space formula takes World by Storm, Thabet is quoted as stating (emphasis added):

A few years ago, scientists discovered the existence of dark matter, a substance that eats the light.... All the equations and formulas we have today to measure two points in the universe are through the speed of light. Our ability to measure point A to point B in the universe has been disturbed by the dark matter... My equation aims to solve this issue by measuring the distance between Point A and B without using light as a means of measurement"

This statement represents a misunderstanding of dark matter. In fact, as stated by CERN

[dark matter] does not absorb, reflect or emit light

This misunderstanding of dark matter is extremely profound, and serves to reveal her level of understanding of physics and astronomy. The defining feature of dark matter is that it does not interact with light and hence must be inferred from gravitational interaction.

  • 8
    That's kindof creepy... The Internet never forgets. Also, shades of Professor Harold Hill – Bobson May 6 '15 at 13:26
  • 14
    @Oddthinking right, there is no way to disprove that someone has an equation that they are hiding from the rest of us, but the lack of any peer reviewed science articles, and the level at which her non-peer reviewed articles are written, explaining basic high-school stuff like scientific notation and imaginary numbers, casts doubt. – DavePhD May 7 '15 at 1:41
  • 15
    @ChrisW Even if she did have a PhD, selling formulas is not how science works these days, and is an automatic red flag for likely crankery. – cpast May 7 '15 at 4:39
  • 9
    The mention of ProQuest is a good idea. Not only DePaul, but essentially every reputable US university submits their graduates' dissertations to this database. I have access to this database. There are 19 dissertations by authors named Thabet, and none of them are named Manahel or anything similar, nor do any appear to be on topics of financial engineering or "quantum mathematics". – Nate Eldredge May 7 '15 at 5:35
  • 4
    All that work to fake their scientific credentials, and somebody doesn't even get the title of the diploma right. Come on, Universtity? LMAO. :D – fgysin Apr 25 '16 at 12:55

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .