Reality Conditions

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sean Carroll on the String Wars

This year is witnessing an unprecedented large attack against string theory in the popular arena, with Peter Woit and Lee Smolin publishing books with criticism of it and its dominance in beyond Standard Model theoretical physics. Is string theory right, wrong or not even wrong? What is a layman to make of this? Well, for starts, he or she could move over to Cosmic Variance and read the excellent and level-headed post Sean Carroll has written. The discusion in the comments is also surprisingly civil and substantial, perhaps because a certain L.M. has not weighed in yet.

7 Comments:

  • string or the more advanced m-theory(a heterotic (2)bosonic and fermionic string supersymmetery)the theory explians alot of the unknown particles that are observed, as well brings physists and mathematicians closer to a unified theory for mulitple reasons. one being the excess hyper-deminsions either 11 or 22 in total.these are very cool, i think. baisiclly, it states that particles strings(in Ads). and when these strings(world lines) vibrate(osccilate) the virbration itself is the particle. a diffrent frequency of the osccilation, gives you a diffrent particle. quantum mechanics more paticularly(QCD and QED) have a great contribution to sting theory, and projective calulations of quarts and other currently elementry particles, leading to world lines ect.., and their transformation(evolution). the graviton is also symmetrical and complient in string theory, not leading to infinities. anti-DEsitter(space)and conformal feild theory correspondence works beautifuly with m theory.

    By Blogger stringsandpbranes, at 1:09 PM, June 20, 2006  

  • In the face of the Intelligent Design nonsense in this country, it is wonderful to have an example out in the open of the way scientific controversies do work in the actual scientific community.

    I also relish the chance to bring out all the wonderful arguments around the interpretations of physical theories that a discussion of string thery necessitates: Are physical theories decriptions of underlying structure or are they just sets of models, one of which is the universe we inhabit? Are they mere instrumentalist tools ot to be given ontological interpretations?

    By Blogger SteveG, at 3:23 PM, June 20, 2006  

  • LM did weigh in with a by now removed posting which was so utterly inane (he apparently hadn't even bothered to read the post) that absolutely nobody sane have taken his side.

    I copied it since I anticipated it would be removed.

    Other then that it's a good discussion, though by neccessity there's a lot of rehash.

    By Anonymous fh, at 5:48 PM, June 20, 2006  

  • fh: yes, I noticed the link from Not Even Wrong to a post that did not exist any more. I'm surprised that he took his post back -rather uncommon, isn't it? Could you email me the text if you have saved it?

    Steveg: Of course the sting theory debate is a real scientific controversy as opposed to ID which is a manufactured one; however I'm not sure if the way it is handled gives too much credit to the physics community. As to the philosophical question of what are pysical theories, I agree it is fascinating. I remember a post by Sean at CV some months ago, How many dimensions are there?, which gave rise to a great discussion in the comments on the realistic or instrumental interpretation of extra dimensions. See especially comments by Fyodor, rof and Moshe to enjoy watching physicist wrestling with philosophical issues relevant for their work.

    stringsandpbranes, I thank you for stopping by and commenting, but please try to post comments relevant for the post or discussion thread, and to put some effort into writing them in grammatical English.

    By Anonymous Alejandro, at 6:13 PM, June 20, 2006  

  • Dear Alejandro,

    I found that you really have big talent in making advertisement. :-) Good job!

    Best, Yidun

    By Anonymous Yidun, at 12:31 AM, June 23, 2006  

  • Thanks Yidun!

    By the way, LM has reposted his anti-Sean Carroll rant. I think it was better left buried.

    By Anonymous Alejandro, at 10:09 PM, June 23, 2006  

  • I agree!

    By Anonymous Yidun, at 2:47 AM, June 24, 2006  

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