Have we run out of rungs on our current ladder?
Frank is an expert on the final stages of evolution of stars like the sun. His computational research group has developed advanced supercomputer tools in order to study how stars form and die. So he would incline to a materialist view, surely? But no, he says, quantum physics blew all that away. And some neuroscientists just haven’t caught up.
Many science writers probably like the current state of affairs because nonsense about the multiverse and space aliens is easy to write. Artists might like it because it is easy to illustrate. Only if you cared about physics would you want to spoil the party.
At Nautilus: “My sense,” I say to Christopher, “is that the search for dark matter has produced an elaborate, delicate edifice of presuppositions, and a network of worship sites, also known as laboratories, all dedicated to the search for an invisible universal entity which refuses to reveal itself. It seems to resemble what we call religion rather more than what we call science.”
Sabine Hossenfelder: Given how much brain-power physicists have spent on trying to figure out what dark matter and dark energy is, I think it would be a good idea to definitely settle the question whether it is anything at all. At the very least, I would sleep better.
Demonstrated with a molecule of 2000 atoms.
The interesting thing is that the science writer portrayed string theory as a religion, a sort of “mathematical theology.” And he is right. But what follows now?
Hossenfelder: The standard model works just fine with that number and it fits the data. But a small number like this, without explanation, is ugly and particle physicists didn’t want to believe nature could be that ugly.
“Let me repeat. Physics doesn’t change. And even when discussing the changes (like an oscillation), the physics of change doesn’t change. Somebody is making a serious category error when the physics of change becomes the change of physics.”
She definitely does not think that looking for shorter distances and smaller particles is the answer.
Rob Sheldon: Despite McMaster U. thinking this odd, and believing (hoping?) for a failure of the Standard Model, I see this as a necessary means of storing the information in the hot Big Bang, and demonstrating the ultimate fine-tuning of the cosmos.
Researcher: The electron not only receives the expected momentum, but additionally one third of the photon momentum that actually should have gone to the atom nucleus. The sail, (electron), of the boat, (nucleus), therefore “knows” of the impending accident, (collision from the photon), before the cords tear and steals a bit of the boat’s (nucleus’s) momentum.
John Rapley: That’s something that ‘physics envy’ can’t capture – that the social nature of human beings makes any laws of behaviour tentative and contextual. In fact, the very term ‘social science’ is probably best seen as an oxymoron.
Her view: “Personally I think that the motivations for the holographic principle are not particularly strong and in any case we’ll not be able to test this hypothesis in the coming centuries. ” And in our next post, experimental physicist Rob Sheldon replies.
“Most, if not all the hype you read, is looking for more and more exotic particles, all the while ignoring mundane macroscopic things like comets and asteroids.”