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Sabine Hossenfelder: Particle physics now belly up. As it happens, her book is a solid string of 1’s at Amazon

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Lost in Math From theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder, author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, at her blog BackRe(Action):

The Large Hadron Collider hasn’t found evidence for any new particles besides the Higgs-boson (at least not so far), so now particle physicists are at a loss for how to proceed. Even if they find something in the data that’s yet to come, it is clear already that their predictions were wrong.

She distinguishes between the currently popular top down (theory first) approach to particle physics and the bottom up (evidence first) one she recommends. About the latter, she writes, quoting particle physicist Ben Allanach,

It’s an exceedingly unpopular approach because the data have just told us over and over and over again that the current theories are working fine and require no modification. Also, bottom-up approaches aren’t pretty which doesn’t help their popularity.

But what if the top-down particle physicists seek a reality that they wish for, rather than the one the evidence points to? We’ve seen a lot of that in recent decades…

At any rate, we learn,

Allanach, as several other people who I know, has stopped working on supersymmetry, an idea that has for a long time been the most popular top-down approach. In principle it’s a good development that researchers in the field draw consequences from the data. But if they don’t try to understand just what went wrong – why so many theoretical physicists believed in ideas that do not describe reality – they risk repeating the same mistake. It’s of no use if they just exchange one criterion of beauty with another.More.

But if they are seeking a universe (multiverse ?) that does not exist, “repeating the same mistake” is all they can do.

Someone out there must be listening to Hossenfelder. At 6:50 am EST, Hossenfelder’s Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray was a solid string of 1’s:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

See also: Sabine Hossenfelder: The multiverse is “a fringe idea” Fringe? These kinds of ideas take on a life of their own when people need them to be true. If more physicists spoke up, as Hossenfelder is doing, we might be able to confront more honestly why some physicists need the multiverse so badly.

At Forbes: Are we doing theoretical physics all wrong? (Ethan Siegel)

The Big Bang: Put simply, the facts are wrong.

What becomes of science when the evidence does not matter?


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

2 Replies to “Sabine Hossenfelder: Particle physics now belly up. As it happens, her book is a solid string of 1’s at Amazon

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    This sounds simply like the state of cutting edge science where researchers are struggling to find paths outwards from an inadequate theoretical and data base. Hossenfelder is right to criticize what she sees as the shortcomings of contemporary physics but if she has nothing better to offer in their place then that’s all she is – a critic. Calling for a return to evidence-based research is unhelpful. Evidence presumes a theory. It is data that can be adduced in support of a theory. Without a theoretical framework, there is no evidence, only data. There is nothing wrong with theoretical physicists trying to construct new models – that is what is needed – as long as they are not implying they are any more than that.

    Hossenfelder’s concern appears to be that is what has happened with some of the current models is that they are somehow blocking new lines of research. My concern is that, if the critics have their way, their contrarian view could also stifle new ideas. There should be no constraints on the imagination and creativity of scientists. It sounds like we can use all the new ideas we can get.

  2. 2
    DATCG says:

    “It sounds like we can use all the new ideas we can get”

    Yes, agree. Such open-mindedness is refreshing. “…we can use all the new ideas we can get…”

    Thus open the field for Design Theory as it is more fruitful heuristic of understanding “life, the universe and every thing” 😉

    As an example in unraveling Ubiquitin Proteome System: Gpuccio’s post #10…

    Design Principles – Flexible Proteins and UPS

    “Design Principles Involving Protein Disorder Facilitate Specific Substrate Selection and Degradation by the Ubiquitin-Proteasome System”

    Such open-mindedness is a good thing for all areas of science, including genetics, biology and medicine.

    If researchers are allowed to openly treat life as Designed, then – reverse engineering life processing techniques might lead to faster integration of better, life-saving health discoveries?

    So instead of looking for “JUNK” we seek purpose in areas once called “JUNK?”

    Hmmmmm, why yes, it can make a difference and pay off if we seek it – Function in former areas written off by Darwinist as JUNK…

    Junk DNA Research Leads to Lung Cancer Discovery – 2016

    “Just because a gene doesn’t make a protein, doesn’t make it junk,” says Mick D. Edmonds, PhD, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. In fact, he recently discovered a new, non-coding gene called microRNA-31 (miR-31) that may play a key role in causing lung cancer.

    “It didn’t make any sense to me that it [miR-31] was junk DNA. I knew it was important and had to prove it,” Edmonds says. “We have a pretty good understanding now that these non-coding microRNAs are changing cancer.”

    Well there ya go. So when Design Theorist say, hold on, not so fast to Darwinist, or the Larry Moran’s and Dan Graur’s of the world, that we should investigate “JUNK” DNA for function, they were correct to do so.

    Writing off so much DNA as JUNK was a huge mistake.

    ENCODE and Design Theorist were right to keep an open mind. You would hope Darwinist would come around and admit that simply writing off large portions of DNA as JUNK was a huge mistake.

    There’s function to be found in them thar JUNK hills 😉 And mutations do not help, they cause disease. It appears in fact these “JUNK” regions are where the modern day Gold Rush is today.

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