4 Replies to “Nerds entertain you on string theory and the quantum zoo

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Reminds me of this humorous take on string theory:

    The part of the book (‘The Trouble With Physics’) I found most interesting was the part which tells how the string theorists were scammed by Nature (or Mathematics). Of course, Smolin doesn’t put it exactly like this, but imagine the following conversation.———
    String theorists: We’ve got the Standard Model, and it works great, but it doesn’t include gravity, and it doesn’t explain lots of other stuff, like why all the elementary particles have the masses they do. We need a new, broader theory.
    Nature: Here’s a great new theory I can sell you. It combines quantum field theory and gravity, and there’s only one adjustable parameter in it, so all you have to do is find the right value of that parameter, and the Standard Model will pop right out.
    String theorists: We’ll take it.
    String theorists (some time later): Wait a minute, Nature, our new theory won’t fit into our driveway. String theory has ten dimensions, and our driveway only has four.
    Nature: I can sell you a Calabi-Yau manifold. These are really neat gadgets, and they’ll fold up string theory into four dimensions, no problem.
    String theorists: We’ll take one of those as well, please.
    Nature: Happy to help.
    String theorists (some time later): Wait a minute, Nature, there’s too many different ways to fold our Calabi-Yao manifold up. And it keeps trying to come unfolded. And string theory is only compatible with a negative cosmological constant, and we own a positive one.
    Nature: No problem. Just let me tie this Calabi-Yao manifold up with some strings and branes, and maybe a little duct tape, and you’ll be all set.
    String theorists: But our beautiful new theory is so ugly now!
    Nature: Ah! But the Anthropic Principle says that all the best theories are ugly.
    String theorists: It does?
    Nature: It does. And once you make it the fashion to be ugly, you’ll ensure that other theories will never beat you in beauty contests.
    String theorists: Hooray! Hooray! Look at our beautiful new theory.
    ———- Okay, I’ve taken a few liberties here. But according to Smolin’s book, string theory did start out looking like a very promising theory. And, like a scam, as it looks less and less promising, it’s hard to resist the temptation to throw good money (or research) after bad in the hope of getting something back for your effort.
    http://www.amazon.com/review/R2H7GVX4BUQQ68/

    Of note:

    “string theory, while dazzling, has outrun any conceivable experiment that could verify it”
    Excerpt: string theory, while dazzling, has outrun any conceivable experiment that could verify it—there’s zero proof that it describes how nature works.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....verify-it/

    F-theory Phenomenology – Peter Woit – March 2012
    Excerpt: So, the long-standing ideology that supersymmetry stabilizes the weak scale, and seeing its effects will finally give evidence for string theory unification looks like it is crumbling. With this hope gone, string theory unification becomes a completely unpredictive subject, with no hope of connection to experiment. One has an infinite array of mathematically highly complex models one can spend time studying, but it’s hard to characterize doing so as any recognizable form of physical science.
    http://www.math.columbia.edu/~.....ss/?p=4506

    ‘What is referred to as M-theory (the heir of string theory) isn’t even a theory. It’s a collection of ideas, hopes, aspirations. It’s not even a theory and I think the book is a bit misleading in that respect. It gives you the impression that here is this new theory which is going to explain everything. It is nothing of the sort. It is not even a theory and certainly has no observational (evidence),,, I think the book suffers rather more strongly than many (other books). It’s not a uncommon thing in popular descriptions of science to latch onto some idea, particularly things to do with string theory, which have absolutely no support from observations.,,, They are very far from any kind of observational (testability). Yes, they (the ideas of M-theory) are hardly science.”
    – Roger Penrose – former close colleague of Stephen Hawking – in critique of Hawking’s new book ‘The Grand Design’ the exact quote in the following video clip:

    Roger Penrose Debunks Stephen Hawking’s New Book ‘The Grand Design’ – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5278793/

  2. 2
    ciphertext says:

    In all seriousness, that is a pretty good feat. He has written lyrics to a song using material that usually makes for difficult prose…much less song. That, and he was able to carry a tune!

  3. 3
    Ho-De-Ho says:

    Encore! Ra Ra Ra!

    This is the new bar for science what? He should defend his PhD thesis in this manner methinks.

    Can you imagine the advantages of this method in debating?! One makes ones point lyrically whilst ones opponent has to harmonize during the chorus. I think it would lead to better comprehension of the views of ones rival – after all, one would be helping them make their point in C#.

    Then it would be ones own turn to have a go. Even if, at the end of the hoedown there was no agreement, there would surely be a great deal less animosity and impugning of motives from either team.

    This fellow should be appointed head of the NCSE post haste.

  4. 4
    Axel says:

    Pity the lyrics are in a foreign language. I found the singing and music, beautiful. Though it got a bit heavy for my plebeian taste at the end.

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