A Particle Physicist's Perspective

By JoAnne Hewett | November 18, 2005 2:14 am

Over the last week, there has been intense discussion on the topic of string theory. It was sparked by the NYT op-ed piece by Lawrence Krauss, and the discussion has taken place here, elsewhere, and in the hallowed hallways of who knows where – I can vouch that the blogosphere has sparked hot debate in my local hallways. So now that the debate has momentarily died down, it’s time to spark it up again. I always was a troublemaker….

In particular, there is, to my view, an important aspect missing from the debate: the perspective of a particle physicist. That is, a physicist who deals with the production of particles in experiment, the experimental determination of their properties, and what that experimental information reveals about the underlying laws of nature. Yes, I used the word experiment three times in that sentence. That’s because physics is an experimental science.

So, people have asked, is string theory worth studying? I would answer yes, for two reasons. One has already been given, namely, that string theory is currently our best idea about how to quantize gravity. We obviously need to explore that link further, no matter how tenuous. The second is more subtle in that ideas/techniques developed from string theory pursuits have benefited other fields such as mathematics, cosmology, and particle physics. Since my expertise is in the latter, I will only speak to that. There are two concrete examples that have led to important advances in particle theory:

1) Techniques applied to higher order calculations in perturbative Quantum Chromodynamics. In order to definitively detect new physics beyond the Standard Model at high energy colliders, we need to understand the production of Standard Model processes to a very high degree of accuracy. This is a complicated, nearly impossible, task to calculate via brute force. But people have applied ideas and techniques, borrowed from string theory, to render these horrendous calculations tractable. This has resulted in significant advances in the understanding of the Standard Model “background” and will be used extensively at the Large Hadron Collider.

2) Branes. The concept of an n-dimensional membrane upon which certain particles can be confined was developed within string theory, but has revolutionized ideas on the form that particle physics beyond the Standard Model may take. We now have numerous theories, each with their own particle physics motivation, which make use of branes and extra dimensions, and, most importantly, are testable at particle accelerators. Numerous calculations and experimental searches have already been carried out. Because of advances in string theory, particle physicists are literally thinking in new dimensions.

However, there are other aspects of string theory which I, as a particle physicist, tend not to find as pleasant or rewarding.

Arrogance #1: I find the arrogance of some string theorists astounding, even by physicist’s standards. Some truly believe that all non-stringy theorists are inferior scientists. It’s all over their letters of recommendation for each other, and I’ve actually had some of them tell me this to my face. Obviously it is complete nonsense. There are some extremely bright and some not-so-bright and some average folks in both fields.

Arrogance #2: I personally find the attitude that people actually think we know enough at this point to define the `theory of everything’ to be quite conceited. To me, it is equivalent to claiming that the universe rotates around the earth. I would bet everything I own that nature has many, many surprises in store for us as we delve deeper experimentally.

Arrogance #3: String theory is so important that it must be practised at the expense of all other theory. There are two manifestations of this: string theorists have been hired into faculty positions at a disproportionally high level not necessarily commensurate with ability in all cases, and the younger string theorists are usually not well educated in particle physics. Some literally have a hard time naming the fundamental particles of nature. Both of these manifestations are worrying for the long-term future of our field.

Do I think string theory is the ultimate theory of nature? No. I believe it is much more likely that we are having trouble quantizing gravity because that’s not the right thing to do. Perhaps quantum theory is only an effective theory, valid at currently accessible energy scales, but not valid at scales where gravity becomes important.

Does this mean I’m against string theory? No! I only wish for it to be practised in reasonable proportion to other endeavors, sans the grandiose claims (which have yet to be realized).

Do I think we should continue to popularize string theory to the public? Yes. The public is fascinated with this endeavor, and as long as it is presented as an endeavor, ultimately falsifiable by experiment, it is fine with me.

Do I think this fashion trend will continue? No. My bet is that the LHC will produce physics so exciting that physcists will drop whatever they are doing and flock to explain it.

So, that is my perspective. I am clicking the publish button and donning my hardhat, awaiting the furious comments to be tossed at me…

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  • hackticus

    Well said!

    Though, I must say, your points in favor are a little like justifying the space program because it produced Tang.

    I like Tang and all, I’m just sayin.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/joanne/ JoAnne

    Hackticus,

    Don’t forget teflon.

  • http://eskesthai.blogspot.com/2005/10/what-are-those-quantum-microstates.html Plato

    I am glad you as a person are responding from your trades, as to what your perceptions are.

    While I cannot possibly fit into any of these arrogance descriptors. Why, I am only of layman status, how could attitude have filtered down to this level?:) Non! of course not :)

    Anyway, I just wanted to copy this statement and ask for further clarification for the layman perspective.


    If there is “no physics” and we are defining things from the horizon or boundary, then what geometry will be revealing of this nature?

    My thought while making this comment of mine in relation to 5th dimensional anti-desitter spacetime above. Map given in linked quotation. What physics work below planck length to explain what is going on in that blackhole?

    Laying the foundations with Respect

    Jacques Distler (post 128)

    There was a physics subtext to my remark. It is explained in the blog post that I linked to up-thread. “We don’t have a clue,” is not really accurate. We do have a clue, if only a clue.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2005/11/14/our-first-guest-blogger-lawrence-krauss/#comment-7212

    About the physics involved? What physics is this just so I am clear?

  • Fyodor

    Nice post. Physics is always better than politics.

    Now, you mention that you are willing to *bet* on what comes out of the LHC.
    Inquiring minds want to know: How much?

  • Moshe

    JoAnne, no need for the hardhat for this one, but I would keep it on if I were you.

    So, one cannot argue with facts, and as long as we stay with the correct facts we will be fine. Many of us said here, to the point of getting bored already, that there is already quite a bit of useful progress in theoretical developments, and there is not yet a connection to real experiments. Those are the facts, I’ll let others spin them as they wish.

    As for the 3 arrogances, I really not sure if one can say anything useful about such claims, I understand at this point you are legitemately expressing your perceptions, but my perceptions are very different…I think you can find in any community of a few hundred people some arrogant bastards, some saintly people, and a lot in between…similarly some people will be focused on their own little corners, some will be immensly curious about everything, and some will be in between…that just seems obvious to me and is supported by the facts as I percieve them, but maybe I am just blinded by my innate arrogance…

    One point about physics, the question whether quantizing gravity is the right question has been asked by many people, there is an interesting section in Feynman’s lectures on gravitation on this subject, whether one can have classical gravity and quantum matter, he collects evidence that the answer is no.

    best,

    Moshe

    n.b: I was told, separately on a few occasions that the incredibely arrogant term “theory of everything” was actually coined by John Ellis, not sure if this is correct…

  • http://eskesthai.blogspot.com/2005/10/what-are-those-quantum-microstates.html Plato

    moshe,

    are you shifting blame because of the pierre auger experiments?

  • http://www.skepticrant.com LBBP

    As an enthusiastic lay person I have to agree with this post. I think string theory is a fascinating study, but it seems to me that it is only as popular as it is because we currently lack the tools to do more meaningful physical experimentation. Thought experiments and theories only get you so far before you actually have to start smashing testing things.

    I also find it troubling how easy many aspects of string theory and quantum physics are to manipulate into any fantastic version of reality an individual cares to embrace. Some of the meta-physical interpretations of string theory can be rather silly. More concrete experimentation that would narrow the range of possibilities would be nice.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/joanne/ JoAnne

    Fyodor,

    I am a particle theorist working at a national laboratory with tenure that is co-terminous with the existence of said laboratory whose future HEP experimental program is based on the LHC. So, you could say that I have bet my life on it. The stakes are high indeed.

  • http://stringschool.blogspot.com Dimitri Terryn

    Hi JoAnne,

    I would like to comment on one of the points :

    “Arrogance #3: String theory is so important that it must be practised at the expense of all other theory. There are two manifestations of this: string theorists have been hired into faculty positions at a disproportionally high level not necessarily commensurate with ability in all cases, and the younger string theorists are usually not well educated in particle physics. Some literally have a hard time naming the fundamental particles of nature. Both of these manifestations are worrying for the long-term future of our field”

    I agree that this is very worrying indeed. I’m currently doing my master’s thesis in string theory, and my promotor insisted that his students took advanced courses in elementary particle physics, both theoretical and experimental. He told us that if we were to pursue an theory that has the ambition to describe elementary particles, we’d damn better learn about them!
    So you see, not all hope is lost :-)

  • http://countiblis.blogspot.com/ Count Iblis

    I agree with JoAnne that too many people are working on string theory. This does not only come at the expense of other existing fields, but new fields are not being developed. There are a large number of possible directions one could explore to find the correct way to reconcile gravity with quantum mechanics. String theory is only one of the possibilities.

    You could e.g., as JoAnne has written here, also ask if QM is indeed fundamental or just an effective theory. ‘t Hooft has made a few interesting attempts in this direction. Criticising ‘t Hooft’s ideas to argue why we must not explore this direction is a bad attitude. The right attitude should be to ask how else QM could arise from (deterministic) theories if ‘t Hooft’s ideas don’t work. Because people don’t do that, this direction is not explored.

    There are good reasons why one needs to question QM. A complete quantum description of the universe includes the observers, so you can’t afford not to address the problems associated with interpretation etc.

  • http://arunsmusings.blogspot.com Arun

    JoAnne,
    Do tell us, since you think LHC results will surprise us, and it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if we anticipated it; what common expectations will be dashed?

  • http://biocurious.com/ Andre

    Hi JoAnne,

    Teflon wasn’t invented by nasa. It was invented in the 1930s before nasa existed. They also didn’t invent velcro. Actually, now that I check, they didn’t invent Tang either, but they did apparently make it popular… What did they do again? Oh yeah, something with the moon…

  • http://scientiaestpotentia.blogspot.com/ A

    There’s no need for the hard hat. That was da bomb.

  • http://valatan.blogspot.com bittergradstudent

    Andre–didn’t NASA begin the development of microcomputers (I remember hearing this, couldn’t find anything definite, but wikipedia says the first commercial one was availible in 1971, so the timeframe is right)? That’d be a significant economic contribution to society, no?

  • Hektor Bim

    I concur entirely with the three arrogances. Those are the most annoying aspects of string theory for me and for most of the people I knew in condensed matter.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean/ Sean

    More posts with too many things to talk about all at once! So:

    — String theorists are arrogant, just as, in my experience, academics of every other stripe. Not much more or much less. As far as I can tell, a deep-seated conviction that any one of your colleagues could step into almost any other academic specialty and do better than the current practitioners is pretty universal.

    — One exception to that: string theorists (if one may unfairly generalize) don’t always appreciate how hard it is to actual fit data. Since all they have to work with is thought experiments and naturalness arguments, they usually haven’t been humbled by the experience of having a favorite idea shot down by experiment.

    — But I don’t think the idea of a “theory of everything” is arrogant at all. It’s what we’re all ultimately looking for. If you can get a consistent theory of quantum gravity plus all the other matter fields we know about, and can successfully connect it to the real world (a huge “if,” obviously), then good for you. I don’t think it’s misguided to think that we at least have a chance at such a theory, in a way that we haven’t in the past.

    — I don’t think we are necessarily hiring too many string theorists, but that’s obviously a judgment call. The demographics are somewhat driven by students, who still think that string theory is the coolest thing to do by a wide margin. I think it’s a good idea to hire the best physicists you can find, and let them decide what to work on. Having said that, it’s a shame that more good people aren’t working on beyond-the-Standard-Model particle physics, as it will be an incredibly exciting time once the LHC turns on.

    — Finally, I think that string theorists have done a pretty bad PR job at explaining why exactly the theory is so promising. Quantizing gravity is important, otherwise the world doesn’t make sense. And there are good reasons to think that string theory is the most promising way to go — reasons that aren’t always articulated very clearly. But the proof of the pudding is in the tasting, as they say.

  • Moshe

    One more comment, and apologies in advance for overstepping boundaries here…but this blog has been extremely successful in avoiding some of the pitfalls of other internet forums, it is not obvious this will always be the case.

    So, we had (and are having) useful and fun conversations about some concrete topics in string theory, that is one good way of popularizing the subject for the general public and people with varying degrees of expertise. We have had some less useful (and louder) conversations about judging the worth of various activities. Now we seem to be shifting into the judgement of the moral defficiencies of string theorists as a group, whatever that means…

    The less effort it takes to have a strong opinion, the more comments you can expect, and I appreciate these discussions generate a lot of traffic. Let me gently suggest, and apologies again for overstepping boundaries, that this traffic may not be the kind you want here.

    best,

    Moshe

  • http://eskesthai.blogspot.com/2005/10/what-are-those-quantum-microstates.html Plato

    But I don’t think the idea of a “theory of everything” is arrogant at all. It’s what we’re all ultimately looking for. If you can get a consistent theory of quantum gravity plus all the other matter fields we know about, and can successfully connect it to the real world (a huge “if,” obviously), then good for you. I don’t think it’s misguided to think that we at least have a chance at such a theory, in a way that we haven’t in the past.

    Then I want Moshe to take back his statement boo! hoo! :(

    n.b: I was told, separately on a few occasions that the incredibely arrogant term “theory of everything” was actually coined by John Ellis, not sure if this is correct…

    :)

  • http://eskesthai.blogspot.com/2005/10/what-are-those-quantum-microstates.html Plato

    ya, I had less tham 5 minutes to think about it moshe :)

  • Arun

    Arrogance #1, #3 have their effect mostly within the physics community. Arrogance #1 only affects the general public in that if non-string physicists are inferior to some, then the public is probably just barely human.

    Arrogance #2 – are we any where close to a theory of everything? does affect public perceptions.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/joanne/ JoAnne

    Moshe,

    I assure you that the intent of this post was not to drum up traffic for the site, or provoke slanderous comments, or spread libelous statements about a group of scientists. And the last thing I want is for this to degenerate into a series of name-calling comments. I was hoping that people got that out of their system earlier in the week, and that my hardhat and troublemaker jokes would help to diffuse it.

    However, my perspective as a particle physicist is a legitimate one, and is one that is shared by many. It is also not often represented, particularly when such a debate is waged in the blogosphere. I felt it needed to be said as part of the overall discussion.

    And, yes, when a reasonable fraction of a group of people believe they are the best and the brightest scientists and that all other scientific work is inferior to their own, and they make those beliefs very public, there is an arrogance issue. There are alot of us who believe this is happening now with string theory and we truly resent it. Unfortunately the actions of some people harm the string community as a whole and the community needs to be aware of this and deal with it.

    Obviously the arrogance issue is not endemic to string theorists alone, and I believe I said this in the post. In fact, particle physcis suffers from it as a whole, and it was a major factor of why we lost the Superconducting SuperCollider. Several of us in the particle community understand this and are trying hard to correct it and improve our image. For its own good, the string community should take stock of itself and do the same.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/joanne/ JoAnne

    Sean,

    I agree that faculties should hire the best and brightest, and we have alot of bright people in particle theory. In addition, at Stanford, we have more bright students that want to do particle theory than we have faculty to mentor them. But when institutions regularly fail to hire the bright particle theorists, such as the University of Chicago which has not hired a full-time particle theorist since 1982, is becomes a systemic issue that causes a long-term problem for the field.

  • http://1034:Incorrectkeyfilefortableusers;trytorepairit sisyphus

    Agree with #’s 2 & 3. ‘Theory of Everything’ is naively titled. Without understanding the nature of consciousness how can we assess the effect(s) of consciousness on the validity of our models of “objective” realities? Where in this grandiose theorizing is consciousness even considered?

    Anybody worked out a credible “Theory of Nothing” yet?

    My guess is that we are nearing the limits to our ability to meaningfully model reality. Just a hunch.

  • Moshe

    JoAnne, I do not doubt your intention, I was just pointing out one likely outcome of these best intentions. This is your space, but in my humble opinion you guys are walking a fine line here.

    I also don’t doubt the legitimacy of your opinions, now that would be arrogant! the view point of particle theorists was previously represented by Ann Nelson and others in very thoughtful comments… in the post I could sense only a diffuse sense of anger and frustration, but I can see that in the comments things become a bit more focused.

    Finally, it did cross my mind that this is all a clever tactic to dull down this hot button issue by over-exposure. Worked on me.

    best,

    Moshe

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean/ Sean

    Posts on Fridays never generate too many comments. If you really want to stir up a hornets nest, you post on Monday.

    Look forward to my Monday post on what makes a really good Martini.

  • erc

    I presume you will be researching that post intently this weekend then, Sean? :) Are we all invited?

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/joanne/ JoAnne

    I had a really good chocolate martini once, and would like to know the recipe. Sean – weekend homework?

  • Shantanu

    Hi
    Joanne.
    Thanks for this note. One question I have is from the point of view of a particle physicist, do you think that research in non-string theory approaches to quantizing gravity should be encouraged? ( I know this has been discussed
    here by Sean but I wanted to get a “particle physicist’s ” perspective on this.

  • dogbreath

    I just stumbled upon this site.

    As someone who knows almost nothing about string theory (nor particle physics):
    I’ve been wondering how much of these string theories can actually be tested?

    From what I’ve read in the popular press, I’ve never been able to understand how these theories will ever be proven or disproven. There seems to be a very few minor prediction that we may varify but the vast majority seems untestable.
    (Which by my definition would make it abstract mathematics not phyics).
    Hopefully I am wrong

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean/ Sean

    erc, this topic is too important to be put in the hands of non-experts; I’ll have to do the testing myself, I’m afraid.

    JoAnne, the chocolate martini will be the object of serious disapprobation.

    dogbreath, nobody yet knows how to test string theory, but we would all like to be able to. Right now there’s a lot we don’t know about the theory.

    Martinis are more closely connected to experiments than string theory is.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/joanne/ JoAnne

    Dimitri #9: Excellent! I wish all young string theorists had a similar education.

    Arun #11: I’m afraid I don’t have a crystal ball. We’ll have to wait for the LHC experiments to find out!

    Moshe #24: I just browsed through the 400 or so comments we’ve had recently on this thread, and didn’t see the one by Ann Nelson. Perhaps my eyes were too glazed over.

    Shantanu #28: It would be healthier to have some more really good ideas on the subject. It’s hard.

    Dogbreath #29: Wow – I’m not sure we want to bring up this point again. You see, we’ve just been through a 400 comment discussion of this point (and others) in the posts that I have linked to here. However, I’m also not sure I recommend wading through all the comments and sifting out the correct information. So let me make a brief, really brief statement here and hope it doesn’t set off another tirade.

    If weakly heterotic string theory exists at the TeV scale, then we can test string theory in the controlled environment of a laboratory. However, that’s a pretty big if. If we observe TeV scale blackholes at the LHC and determine from their properties that the number of extra dimensions is larger than 6 or 7 (I showed how to do this in a recent paper) then we can test current models of critical string theory. That is another really big if. Outside of these two very, extremely, specialized cases, there is presently no way to test string theory in the laboratory.

  • Moshe

    JoAnne, this was a while ago, here

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2005/07/21/two-cheers-for-string-theory/#comments

    comment 24, Sean’s opening paragraph may be relevant also…

  • Richard

    Sean,

    The statement “If you can get a consistent theory of quantum gravity plus all the other matter fields we know about, and can successfully connect it to the real world” is fairly specific and well defined, and perhaps it’s possible to measure the extent of success. I don’t think that anyone has a problem with a statement like that. However, the expression “theory of everything” is kind of vaguely defined and suggests that we could not only understand everything that we observe but also prove that either that there is no other structure or phenomena outside the boundaries of what we can observe or that whatever we can observe or measure has no dependency whatsoever on what we can not. If, for (extremely oversimplified) example, you lived within an algebraic group quotient space or within a topological decomposition space, you may be able to deduce some information about the super space, but it’s not difficult at all to cook up examples where the information loss with the quotient maps is so great that there’s little you can determine about what’s in the decomposition cells or how their contents are connected within the super space. Does it matter if you can’t define or explain something there that you could never observe anyway? Maybe not, but … if you want a “theory of everything” you probably have to grapple with issues like this.

    A while ago someone made a cute comment about the Duracell battery within the quark and the bicyclist within the battery. Amusing, yes, but perhaps an appropriate cautionary image?

    (Nothing remotely mystical should or need be construed from these late Friday night brain fogged rantings)

  • A

    The name “theory of everything” was probably more a necessity rather than arrogance. A theory of quantum gravity will likely remain irrelevant, unless it is unique enough to make well-defined predictions. Physicists who initially developed string theory considered this as an important issue. (While present string theorist often have different opinions).

  • Ann Nelson

    Warren Siegel put it best. He proposed cristening string theory as the
    Theory Of Everything Not Appearing In Laboratories, or
    TOENAIL

  • erc

    Does it matter if you can’t define or explain something there that you could never observe anyway?

    Susskind believes that a theory should not make predictions about things which are in principle unobservable (see pp12, hep-th/0002044). Similarly, ‘t Hooft argues that degrees of freedom that cannot be utilised should not be considered to exist (gr-qc/9310026).

    Sean: how do you know I am no expert? And besides, collaboration can be fun. And corroboration of your results by independent researchers is always helpful.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/clifford/ Clifford

    Ann Nelson:

    …. that’s brilliant!…. 😀

    -cvj

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean/ Sean

    erc, I’m always happy to hear the judgment of another expert, and look forward to at least two hundred comments on my upcoming martini post. Perhaps someday we should have a Cosmic Variance party and invite all of our readers, where we can compare cocktail recipes.

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  • erc

    Sean: Fantastic idea – just tell me when and where! (And make it soon) :) Has the investigation for the post yet begun?

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/mark/ Mark

    Believe me erc – if I know Sean, the investigation is going on while he’s typing these comments.

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  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/joanne/ JoAnne

    Ann,

    That made my day!!

  • http://countiblis.blogspot.com/ Count Iblis

    B.t.w., I just saw that Siegel has written two more parodies this year. See here:

    http://insti.physics.sunysb.edu/~siegel/plan.html

  • Jonah

    Joanne you make some excellent points but I think the “currently our best idea” statement is actually controversial and needs qualification. You say

    So, people have asked, is string theory worth studying? I would answer yes, for two reasons. One has already been given, namely, that string theory is currently our best idea about how to quantize gravity.

    Quite a few people evidently think of string theory as one reasonable hope but possibly not the BEST hope for quantizing gravity. They apparently see other approaches as more promising, or currently making more rapid progress, or for some other reason more worth working on.

  • Andreas

    Picasso said that every theory is a lie that helps to see the truth. This said, a ToE would be the ultimate lie bringing truth to those who still can comprehend dialectically, while leaving the others in despair who are immersed in lies.

  • Thingumbobesquire

    Since this site seems rather bibulous to me, I don’t mind if I do. Now E.A. Poe, my progenitor, wrote the most glorious theory of everything to date called Eureka. But it is a tad polemical against witchcraft and the like. Now, Leibniz warned against the labyrinth of the continuum; alas, it made no impression ‘pon poor Cantor’s pate. But why did Franklin say that vortices can’t be studied if your stomach is in the whirlwinds. And that stuff from Plato ’bout a baker’s fart. Lan sakes. Much ado. Now, when even a virus (we don’t even have any sympathy for them) has an infinite variability, how comes it sirrah that you have the inimitable effrontery to bottle up this universe with your brand of cork?

  • http://www.canonicalscience.com Juan R.

    A multidisciplinar scientists’ Perspective

    1) It is not true that string theory is currently our best idea about how to quantize gravity. In fact string theory does NOT quantize gravity we observe in real experiments. M-theory (M for Magic, Metaphysics, Mad, ‘Mierda’, Money, etc.) does not better.

    2) It would be interesting to know exactly where and when pure string theory ideas/techniques have benefited other fields such as mathematics, cosmology, and particle physics. For example in math, the contribution of string theory is of the order of 1/100 aprox. if one use number of Field Medals as ‘thermometer’…

    Personally, i believe that none Field was awarded to string theory work and therefore the contribution to math on Field Medals is 0 but…

    3) Regarding QCD, would be interesting to know exactly what benefited to what: QCD to string theory or string theory to QCD? Perhaps the history looks more as QCD –> ST –> QCD.

    4) About branes. Really someone still think that a vibrating multidimensional membrane can modell particles? I am atonished! Has anyone obtained non supersimmetric 4D particle realistic modes from brane theory? Then what is the interest in testing ‘new physics’? First obtain the current Standard Model from brane theory and after, only after, predict any thing new to be observed…

    5) About the arrogance of string theorists that has a simple explanation. It is an outcome of basic postulates of string theory. See Woit blog

    http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=293

    for some of those laws. Some examples of string theory postulates are

    God is a string theorist. If God is not one then he is not so smart.

    String theorists are smartest people of this universe. Landscape corolary: and of the rest of infinite others.

    String theory is not defined, therefore you can define string theory as you want

    Remember if you are a string theorist, you are smart. Corolary: this also apply if your contribution to science was zero

    Any rival theory, if good, is part of string theory if not, then it is another example of how smart you are

    Publish papers claiming contrary things. For example, in a paper string theory is unitary in other it is not and in other paper it is a mixture of two last ones. Then string theory always win. Corolary: you are more smart still

    If string theory is incompatible with experiments, the problem is with the experiment. It was incorrect, or done to a very low energy. Corollary: by each time that energy level to observe effects is sited to more higgher level, smart level is also.

    6) String theory is a completely outdated and simplistic framework that, in the best of cases, can explain nothing. Even if some day string theory is substituted by any other NEW theory (probably will be called ‘string theory’), that theory will be not a theory of everything, just a theory of some basic properties of simple matter.

    More is different

    [P.W. Anderson]

    Juan R.

    Center for CANONICAL |SCIENCE)

  • http://eskesthai.blogspot.com/2005/10/what-are-those-quantum-microstates.html Plato

    Oh what a “creative thinker” you are on parodies, Warren. As a layman I was fooled?


    We propose here a different alternative: Apply string theory to energies beyond the Planck scale, which are not observable even in principle. Then one avoids the objection of the untimeliness of string theory, since it never will be relevant, and thus one may as well work on it now as later.

    Was there clues then by others to have understood such a thing inside the blackhole eh? That we now understand where these limitations are on Mother’s cooking with Paste? Always bring things to a slow boil?

    So what else is out there other then “theoretics cooking” in the kitchen? :) What is Cooking Fast Theory contrived by the bakers, doing now?

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