24 December 2010

Hermann Nicolai and points

Hermann Nicolai knows all people working on fundamental physics and is respected by all researchers for his work and insights.

In his presentations, he always stresses that a theory of everything must get rid of points in space; he explains that keeping the concepts of point and continuity is the reason that quantum theory and general relativity cannot be unified. In the tone of this blog, points and continuity are prejudices that have no experimental and theoretical basis.

Many people cannot agree. Among them is Nicolai himself. His own work on unification, around the Lie group E11, is based on points and continuity.

The moral of this story? Getting rid of points and continuity, and of prejudices in general, is tough.

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