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Belief in string theory is becoming, at this point, a sort of social virtue

Calabi yau formatted.svg
Calabi-Yau manifold

Despite the well-recognized problems with string theory, the hope that it will lead to a Theory of Everything is imperishable: Of course it is imperishable; it is the the gateway to the multiverse.

Here’s a year-end classic – string theory might unite general relativity and quantum mechanics:

For decades, many researchers have pinned their hopes of unification on something called string theory. On the up side it points to a curious connection between gravity and the behaviour of subatomic particles. On the down side … it’s string theory.

String theory does this by portraying particles as a single dimension that changes shape within multiple dimensions. Or, to put it another way, a line that ‘hums’ at a range of frequencies, which accounts for a particle’s unique characteristics.

“My guess is, the theory of the real world may have things to do with string theory, but it’s not string theory in its formal, rigorous, mathematical sense,” Susskind recently said in an interview.

“The exact thing – which I call string theory, which is this mathematical structure – is not going to be able to, by itself, describe particles.” Mike McRae, “Here’s Why String Theory Might Actually Point Us Towards a ‘Theory of Everything'” at ScienceAlert

“In the real world?” So string theory is not about the real world? Even the author of the article, Mike McRae, does not sound hopeful for the theory. He compares string theory to a means of bringing warring divorced parents to talk to each other at Christmas. Virtuous, yes, but not what we usually mean by science.

Some of us were surprised that there is actually a PBS vid out there now discussing what’s wrong with string theory, as if it were the sort of topic that could be treated as an ordinary theory rather than as the gateway to the multiverse.

See also: PBS Video: Why String Theory Is Wrong

Sabine Hossenfelder: Black holes do not behave as string theorists say they should

“Perhaps physics has slipped into a post-empirical era…” (from a review of Hossenfelder’s book at Physics World)

Post-modern physics: String theory gets over the need for evidence


Post-modern physics: String theory gets over the need for evidence

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