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