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“string theory, while dazzling, has outrun any conceivable experiment that could verify it”

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Product DetailsBut who will accept an invitation to reality if they believe they are living in a multiverse?

In a review of two new physics books “Fields Apart” (The American Scholar, Winter 2012), Sam Kean writes, re Physics on the Fringe by Margaret Wertheim,

 Indeed, Wertheim believes that mainstream physicists today have more in common with fringers than they acknowledge. Most obviously, she notes that string theory, while dazzling, has outrun any conceivable experiment that could verify it—there’s zero proof that it describes how nature works. Yet, like some outsiders, string theorists labor away year after year, happily unencumbered by reality. What’s more, the grumbling of other scientists about the shortcomings of string theory sounds more and more like the complaints of other fringers about physics losing its way.

and re The Infinity Puzzle by Frank Close, Basic Books,

… the book is tough going at some points, fairly technical. But when the science does click in your brain—when you catch a glimpse of the deep nature of reality—it’s so elegant and somehow harmonious that you can forgive any hand waving necessary to achieve it. At times I almost felt sorry for the outsiders who cannot see how lovely theoretical physics can be. It made me question whether, beyond their divergent appetites for mathematics and willingness to shut up and calculate, physicists and fringers might be separated by something else quite basic—a different appreciation for what counts as beautiful.

4 Replies to ““string theory, while dazzling, has outrun any conceivable experiment that could verify it”

  1. 1
    Joe says:

    The question is “can strings exist and not exist at the same time and in the same formal relation?”

    BTW there aren’t any strings attached to that question.

    Time for another sing-along:

    “It’s all a bunch of strings said the string theorist, string theorist, string theorist
    Vibrating and shaking said the string theorist, string theorist, string theorist

    And if I ever find those strings
    Find those branes and everything
    Oh if I ever find those strings
    Oh if- I won’t have to look no more”

    🙂

  2. 2
    Joe says:

    That’s to “Moon Shadow”- Cat Stevens….

  3. 3
    Axel says:

    A good try, Joe. But one of the uniquely brilliant features of this UD site, I have found, is that the materialists provide humour of THE highest quality, quite unaided.

    “Why shouldn’t we try to vie with them, though, at least through satire,” I suppose would be a reasonable question? As long as we can live with the thought that we will never, ever be able to compete with their most serious offerings. The more serious, the better…. The pungently-pithy title of this article creased me up.

    There’s another cracking title below it, too:

    ‘Large Hadron Collider: “Leaving in tatters the extra-dimensional speculative universe”’

  4. 4
    Axel says:

    Another article with a hilarious teaser:
    The Epigenome: Evolution’s Newest Nightmare

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....56301.html

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