Some of us think string theory only existed in order to give a bizarre twist to the fine-tuning of our universe and to create a basis for believing that there is an uncountable infinity of universes out there instead. Apart from that, it may be hard to see much point. We shall see.
Paul Sutter: Buchert and a team of astrophysicists have deduced that our cosmos may be multiply connected, meaning that space is closed in on itself in all three dimensions like a three-dimensional donut.
Well yes, if you are willing to tolerate a positive answer. If you are not willing to tolerate a positive answer, well … your quarrel is not with us, really.
Merritt: The most successful competitor is called modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND). Observations that are explained under the Standard Model by invoking dark matter are explained under MOND by postulating a modification to the theory of gravity.
Lisa Grossman: This model assumes that when you look at large enough volumes of space — above about 1 billion light-years — matter is distributed evenly.
Hartnett, quoting: ““This is [a] very embarrassing thing that we don’t have a single quantum field theory we can describe in four dimensions, nonperturbatively,” said Rejzner. “It’s a hard problem, and apparently it needs more than one or two generations of mathematicians and physicists to solve it.””
Well, ugly is as ugly does. String theory sounds beautiful but unrealistic.
Asked at Aeon, “Are we part of a dying reality or a blip in eternity? The value of the Hubble Constant could tell us which terror awaits.”
Bet on them all being wrong. That’s probably the only thing that has happened lots of times before.
“It didn’t have to be this way. The charges of the elementary particles in our Universe could have been such that there was no way to unify any two or more of them into a single unified particle. It’s the combination of observational data and mathematics that offers us strong hints that the charges for elementary particles in the standard model aren’t arbitrary, but rather arise by virtue of being embedded into a grand unified theory framework.” But isn’t that an argument for God?
At least some media types noticed that such a claim is pretty far out. Maybe they don’t “Trust the Science” like they should?
Hawking was looking for a unified theory and Woit thinks the idea is pretty much discredited now: “We now live in an environment where the idea that there may be a deeper, more unified theory has become completely discredited, through the efforts of many, with Hawking playing an unfortunate part.”
If the universe is really similar to a machine learning system, as they suggest, then, no question, it was designed. All machine learning systems are designed. Are the physicists prepared to unpack that?
Dembski agrees that the universe is, at bottom, information but proposes “informational realism” as a sounder approach to unpacking the idea.
Klinghoffer: “As Keating and Seife discuss, much of his fame, too, stemmed from efforts to disprove that God was needed either to account for the Big Bang that brought the universe into existence or to account for the physical laws that govern the cosmos.” Hawking’s celebrity made it really difficult to discuss those issues in a forum where both sides were fairly represented.
Rob Sheldon explains, if nearly visible objects can be turned into waves — as was done recently — the wall between quantum and classical physics has moved.