Sunday, July 14, 2019

Theoretical Physicist [Sabine Hossenfelder] Has A Hard Time Convincing Peers To Accept Reality

Sometimes I believe in string theory. Then I wake up.

But then I got distracted by a disturbing question: Do we actually have evidence that elegance is a good guide to the laws of nature?

The brief answer is no, we have no evidence. The long answer is in my book and, yes, I will mention the-damned-book until everyone is sick of it. The summary is: Beautiful ideas sometimes work, sometimes they don’t. It’s just that many physicists prefer to recall the beautiful ideas which did work.

And not only is there no historical evidence that beauty and elegance are good guides to find correct theories, there isn’t even a theory for why that should be so. There’s no reason to think that our sense of beauty has any relevance for discovering new fundamental laws of nature.

Sure, if you ask those who believe in string theory and supersymmetry and in grand unification, they will say that of course they know there is no reason to believe a beautiful theory is more likely to be correct. They still work on them anyway. Because what better could they do with their lives? Or with their grants, respectively. And if you work on it, you better believe in it. are the facts: This trust in beauty as a guide, it’s not working. There’s no evidence for grand unification. There’s no evidence for supersymmetry, no evidence for axions, no evidence for moduli, for WIMPs, or for dozens of other particles that were invented to prettify theories which work just fine without them. After decades of search, there’s no evidence for any of these.


Justin Horn said...

What is String Theory Jesse? Is that the same as the multiverse theory where there are countless bubble universes that branch off of one another?

Jesse Albrecht said...

Hello Justin,

The String Theory posits additional spatial dimensions beyond the three known dimensions (in order that string theories remain mathematically consistent). It is an attempt to model the four existing fundamental forces (gravitation, electromagnetism, strong nuclear force, and weak nuclear force) in a single theory.

The String Theory is an effort to account for the working parts of our universe. It remains, however, an unproven idea. Even if it could be demonstrated to be true beyond a reasonable doubt, that would only show us the theory was created by God and ways in which He works throughout creation.