Sabine Hossenfelder thinks that in fundamental physics the problem is not a shortage of smart people but a shortage of smart people who grasp that they are simply “wheels in the machinery.”
Question: Who decided that physics had to be “natural”? What does that mean? And what if “naturalness” is not an attribute of the physics of our universe? What does that mean?
It’s actually a good thing if theses in physics don’t gain currency just because they make good TED talks. That could be part of theirproblem.
Astronomer Robin Canup has spent fifteen years developing models that seem to demonstrate that, whether it is a desired finding or not: Such fine-tuning was not lost on Canup, who remarked in a recent Nature review article, “Current theories on the formation of the Moon owe too much to cosmic coincidences.”4 Indeed, the required “coincidences” […]
Tellingly, Hossenfelder adds, “So here is the puzzle: Why can you not find any expert, besides me, willing to publicly voice criticism on particle physics? Hint: It’s not because there is nothing to criticize. ”
Hossenfelder’s clarifications will at least help us understand what we are all confused about.
No, Sabine, you’re not crazy. But you live in crazymaking times. Cosmology has degenerated into the pursuit of cool nonsense like the multiverse via string theory. So much now seems to revolve around whether findings help or hurt the nonsense. Not about learning more about what is really happening here now.
In short, she is saying, the universe wasn’t supposed to be like this and that’s the basis for the current crisis in cosmology. One can always invent “falsifiable” theories but their falsifiability is not in itself a virtue; it is simply the basis for them being theories in science at all. The question of whether they should be pursued or funded is a quite different one.
And afterwards, we find the math works. Sabine Hossenfelder author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, asks us to consider what distinguishes a good problem in physics, hence in cosmology, from a trip through some interesting weeds.
It’s the basic problem of the coffee mug. If naturalism (nature is all there is), often called “materialism,” is true, either you and the mug are both conscious or neither of you is. The comments at BackRe(Action) illustrate the difficulty many have grasping that that is a serious problem.
They’ll find the money to continue. Consider: The Standard Model begins with the hated Big Bang. Nothing that supports string theory, eternal cosmic inflation, or a multiverse has been found. Don’t many people just have to keep looking and keep quiet about what they find that wasn’t what they hoped for?
Hossenfelder: Negative masses is “a nice idea” that “works really badly.”
When Nature’s Books and Arts editor Barbara Kiser’stop five for 2018 came out, #s 1 and 2 were Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray by Sabine Hossenfelder on the troubled state of theoretical physics, of which Kiser says, Lost in Math is a firecracker of a book—a shot across the bows of theoretical physics. […]
Sabine Hossenfelder, author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, is not enthusiastic about a new video promoting a new, larger collider for CERN. She believes that current, serious problems are being smoothed over for politicians and the public, by general soothing noises that a bigger collider might answer many questions about our universe. […]
At her blog, Sabine Hossenfelder, author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, offers a guest post spot to a fellow physicist: No current unified theory includes quantum mechanics fundamentally as part of its structure. But a truly unified theory must. And I believe the ultimate theory will be geometrically natural. Canonical quantum commutation […]