From string theory skeptic Peter Woit at Not Even Wrong:
The last talk of the [“C. N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics] event was a public talk by Ashoke Sen on What is String Theory? (slides here), one which made me think that maybe it wasn’t a bad thing that I hadn’t made it out to Stony Brook, since I might have been there for this. Sen’s talk was a depressing compilation of ancient hype and misleading claims about string theory, with the standard multiverse excuse for why it predicts nothing at all about particle physics.
My time at the ITP coincided with the early years of this kind of string theory hype, which got started in late 1984, about the time I got there. By my last year there (exactly 30 years ago, 1986-87), everyone in the physics community had already been subjected to a couple years of this kind of thing, so much so that Ginsparg and Glashow had published in spring 1986 their Desperately Seeking Superstrings article, noting that
…years of intense effort by dozens of the best and the brightest have yielded not one verifiable prediction, nor should any soon be expected.
They worried that
Contemplation of superstrings may evolve into an activity as remote from conventional particle physics as particle physics is from chemistry, to be conducted at schools of divinity by future equivalents of medieval theologians.
which many at the time thought was kind of harsh, but in retrospect looks quite prescient. More.
Nothing can kill string theory because it is a theory in search of evidence that is needed to prop up widely accepted worldview. Indeed, if evidence did turn up, under the circumstances, we’d be wise to suspect it.
See also: String theory useful even if unconfirmed?
String theory defeated but never wrong.
Multiverse cosmology at your fingertips
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