Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder, author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, acknowledges the seriousness of the situation but isn’t sure that the term “crisis” describes the current situation well:
I think stagnation describes it better. And let me be clear that the problem with this stagnation is not with the experiments. The problem is loads of wrong predictions from theoretical physicists.
The problem is also not that we lack data. We have data in abundance. But all the data are well explained by the existing theories – the standard model of particle physics and the cosmological concordance model. Still, we know that’s not it. The current theories are incomplete.
So what would she change?
I have spelled out many times very clearly what theoretical physicists should do differently. It’s just that they don’t like my answer. They should stop trying to solve problems that don’t exist. That a theory isn’t pretty is not a problem. Focus on mathematically well-defined problems, that’s what I am saying. And, for heaven’s sake, stop rewarding scientists for working on what is popular with their colleagues. Sabine Hossenfelder, “The present phase of stagnation in the foundations of physics is not normal” at BackRe(Action)
She notes that working on the hard mathematical problems led to breakthroughs in physics but fears that, once again, the continued organization of conferences and production of papers will be the choice. Oh, and nonsense: “blathering about naturalness and multiverses and shifting their ‘predictions,’ once again, to the next larger particle collider.”
Well, she’s got a turn of phrase. Let’s hope she keeps writing.
Follow UD News at Twitter!
See also: Is cosmology in crisis over how to measure the universe? One wonders how much of the problem stems from the need for a different universe from the one we have.
Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder shares her self-doubts about exposing nonsense in cosmology
Sabine Hossenfelder: Free will is compatible with physics