Sunday, April 12, 2009

The String Enterprise Unravels

With a big hat-tip to the wondrous Kea in Oxford, read this post from the Misunderstood Universe blog.

STRING THEORY: THE DEATH OF PHYSICS

"At the recent 23rd Solvay Conference in Physics held in Brussels, Belgium, Nobel prize winner David Gross stated: "We don't know what we are talking about!" He then went on to say, "Many of us believed that string theory was a very dramatic break with our previous notions of quantum theory. But now we learn that string theory, well, is not that much of a break." And that physics is in 'a period of utter confusion.'

"This gloom-and-doom quote comes from one of the truly great minds and long-time proponents of string theory! His statement is especially disconcerting in view of the fact that string theory is thought to be at the very heart of the Theory of Everything. The failure of string theory to produce any verifiable results has shattered the hopes and dreams of thousands of scientists. For decades these string theorists have myopically acted in lock-step with each other as though they were entrusted with the Holy Grail containing a newly born universe -- God's chosen research program.

"The basic problem with string theory is that it is thought-based -- not reality-based. For the past 35 years string theory has brought about an infinite variety of universes, multiverses, parallel universes, membrane universes, wormholes, singularities, and a whole plethora of fantasy-math concepts that no one understands including their creator and the Creator. No successful theory of anything has ever been this complex. The great geniuses of our time have misspent their lives on this mathematical version of alchemy.

"The myriad of string theory equations tell us nothing about the properties and origin of space and time. They tell us what might happen -- not what does happen. With their labyrinthine thought constructions, they demonstrate nothing that can either be proven or recognized. String theory is merely an elaborate mathematical Rubik's Cube with an infinite number of sub-cubes and an infinite number of solutions. The basic theory cannot be tested in any meaningful way and therefore cannot qualify as a science. These theorists describe a limitless number of strange nether-world hypothetical universes -- but they cannot describe anything about the universe in which we all reside. Since these multiverses exist well beyond our reach and realm, we will never be able to see them in order to verify their existence."

The article goes on to list the many failures of the string enterprise, which has never been a theory of testable predictions. Perhaps they should have predicted a changing speed of light, but the string enterprise can not find anything so simple.

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11 Comments:

Blogger Kea said...

It does boggle the mind that so many supposedly brilliant people, with enough funding to devote their time to physics, could possibly have missed something that is so easy to explain. Of course, when they realise that M theory is involved, they will say that they knew it all along, probably along with anecdotes about how they had been telling all the cosmologists they knew that LCDM was wrong.

5:26 AM  
Blogger Kea said...

You know, Louise, it seems that string theory blogs are being outnumbered these days by people doing real science. Perhaps we should start feeling sorry for them. No, wait. They actually have jobs.

9:25 AM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

Having been born in Texas, I would put it this way. String theory is all about how to put 10^500 tons of steer manure in a 1 ton pick-up truck. Not a pretty thought.

7:21 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

HI Kea:
Hee hee, all those kids who were told they were geniuses and given medals have just left the way open for someone like you. Thanks for the link the other day.

Now that you are at Oxford and I am at NASA, it is the "brilliant" ones who will be looking for jobs.

Hi Carl: I appreciate all the wisdom that comes from Texas.

3:13 AM  
Blogger Lumo said...

Hi Louise, you misunderstand David Gross's statement and offer us dozens of other proofs that much like Kea, you are thinking with your vagina.

But you still deserve the credit at least for having *a* tool to think. Mammals like Carl Brannen, Peter Woit, and Lee Smolin are using the same tool to think - but they don't even have this limited one.

9:38 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Welcome Lubos, glad to see you! Your comments make this and other places more lively. I still remember your encouraging remarks from June 006, "She may have other talents." I have taken your advice and will shortly be performing acts of prostitution; more about that soon!

3:49 AM  
Blogger Qubit said...

There is one prediction you can make with string theory; M theory will become to be the story of Pinocchio. What I mean is simple, M thoery does not need any strings to become a real theory with testable results. I mean come on... You just have to look at Hawking radiation to see that it is related to this.

Pinocchio like M theory is still made wood, so like pinocchio, M theory has a fantastic journey to complete in order to become real (that journey may not involve mankind!). The only reason this will never be accepted is because the irony of it is too astonishing.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Daniel de França MTd2 said...

Hi Louise, I think you will like this:

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/23397/

2:45 AM  
Blogger Kea said...

Great link, Daniel. I was always suspicious of the varying alpha stuff, as an old UNSW alumni myself.

9:44 AM  
Blogger robert d said...

Kudos to Kea

Kea’s offering – String Theory – Death of Physics is the sine qua non of theoretics.

While very young one is seduced by the elegance of the mathematics. “If I only knew the math I could do wondrous things.”

It takes one years to get the math down, only to discover, at the end of the journey, that The Emperor Has No Clothes. But by then it is too late. Too much time has been invested in chasing the Chimera. And thus one is confined to espousing, time and again, things known, deep inside, to be false, or at best not exactly true.

As a note to the general reader who may not be familiar with the intricacies of the mathematics of string theory. One starts with a very large number of equations. As if by magic, renormalization, many of these equations zero out. The few equations you are left with are the dimensions of string theory.

The bete noir, however, of string theory, is that there is no ex ante, before the fact, theoretics for the number of dimensions one should get.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Alejandro Rivero said...

I am still in the same position that previous yeare: the more I look to the particles of real-life QCD, the more they resemble to string theory.

To be precise, under QCD we have one oriented string theory and three unoriented ones; each of them having 24 degrees of freedom. Or you can quotient it accross generations, then having 8 degrees of freedom each sector, a total of 32.

Besides, SU(3)xU(1), the group relevant to label these strings, is also the Kaluza Klein group you can get from 9 dimensional space time, perhaps related then to the typical "T-duality" relationships.

8:18 AM  

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