In a telling anecdote:
Quantum field theory, which describes physics at subatomic scales, makes many mathematicians cringe because of its “algebraic shenanigans,” says Dorota Grabowska, a fellow in the CERN Theory Group. “If I had a conversation with a mathematician about quantum field theory, they would let out a sigh of exasperation. It’s like when your mom tells you to clean your room, so you shove everything in the closet. It looks fine, but please don’t open the closet.”
Quantum field theory is rife with something mathematicians can’t stand: unresolved infinities. In a 1977 essay, Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg wrote that “[Quantum field theory’s] reputation among physicists suffered frequent fluctuations… at times dropping so low that quantum field theory came close to be[ing] abandoned altogether.”
But quantum field theory survives because at the end of the day, it still makes predictions that check out with experiments, such as those at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
“The LHC is like our mother, and when she opens the closet, everything is magically organized,” Grabowska says.Sarah Charley, “How to break a theory” at Symmetry Magazine (March 8, 2022)
Fair enough but then what do we make of the way the LHC experiments indicate that the universe is not random? See, for example,
“Nothing but… ” is now creating a crisis in science When science writers (and scientists) start using words like “miraculously,” it’s a clue that they are really stumped. As science writer Natalie Wolchover explains, nature appears embarrassingly fine-tuned and resists being reduced to little bits of nothing.