27 December 2010

What remains?

On the right, I have added a list of prejudices in fundamental physics that contradict experiments. The list is deeply depressing. The arxiv, especially the section hep-th, shows that practically all preprints adhere to at least one of the prejudices. I might have missed a few exceptions. So let me say, to be on the safe side, that 99% of all hep-th preprints are based on incorrect prejudices.

This is a disaster. What will historians of science say in 50 years? They will write that 99% of all researchers in fundamental physics in 2010 work on ideas that contradict experiment. And they will conclude that 99% of researchers in fundamental physics in 2010 are in a state of collective delusion.

A simple test confirms this collective delusion. Read Peter Woit's blog Not Even Wrong. Peter Woit is a hero, because he helped destroying the delusion of string theory. Go to his blog and add a relevant comment that questions either supersymmetry or higher dimensions, in the same way that he himelf questions string theory. What happens? He will delete your comment. Even though these two ideas are the basis for string theory and the reason for its failure, Peter Woit will not criticize them. So we are in a situation that even the harshest critic of string theory agrees with some of its prejudices. This does not take anything away from Peter Woit's heroism, but it shows how deeply ingrained some of the prejudices have become.

What remains? There is almost no research in fundamental physics that proposes a way out of all these ideologies and delusions.

Yes, there is the idea of entropic gravity. But what did it bring? No new results. No new predictions. No answer to any problem.

No, Steven Weinberg's idea of asymptotic safety does not count: it assumes that space is made of points. Anyway, it did not bring any new results, any new prediction, and any answer to the problems of the standard model.

So we have to answer: In theoretical fundamental physics, in the years from 1975 to 2010, nothing of lasting value has been produced.

Thirty-five years of failure by thousands of researchers, arguably among the smartest people on the planet. What a depressing disaster.


  1. "99% of all researchers in fundamental physics in 2010 work on ideas that contradict experiment."

    No, but 99% of them work on ideas that are unsupported by experiment. Which is exactly as it should be. There is no great virtue in predicting something that has already been seen.

    For each one of your prejudices, attempts have been made to find workable alternatives. Higgs? Google 'Higgsless' and you'll come up with almost 10,000 hits. You think space is not made up of points? Great, tell us what it is made of instead, and how physics can be described in such a framework.

    The trouble is, every alternative to the Standard Model that has been proposed starts off looking simple and appealing, but then upon further investigation requires more and more complexity to avoid contradictions.

    While there are some people who religiously cling to one or more of your prejudices, mostly they are accepted out of necessity. We'd love to be told how to make progress without using them.

  2. This is all true.

    However I personally think that there is another, more physical approach where a part of interaction is taken into account exactly - by physical construction, so the perturbative series are better mathematically (without divergences) and physically (the initial approximation catches the essentials better). I think, after a good development, such a quasi-particle approach, will be capable of describing the experimental data without appealing to Higgs, super-symmetries, and other stuff to patch the fallacious constructions.


  3. Dear Bill K, you wrote: "No, but 99% of them work on ideas that are unsupported by experiment. Which is exactly as it should be. There is no great virtue in predicting something that has already been seen."

    Probably you meant "are not inspired, imposed by experiment".

    It is not what should be. Of course, mathematical physics exercises are always welcome but it is not physics, let us not forget it.

    Yes, there is a great virtue in describing something without problems what has already been observed. Actually, the most probable phenomenon in charge scattering - the soft radiation - is not predicted in the first Born approximation. That means too poor physically and too distant mathematically initial approximation from the exact solution. Normally any iterative scheme, analytical or numerical, diverges in that case.

  4. Well, I am agree with you about Woit (he has deleted my comment(s) too !-); maybe he is a bit pride with his heroism (I mean I've read 'Pride and prejudice', all chapters; I've also have looked at some, quite few, hep-th preprints; frankly, I prefer gr-gc).
    Still your list at the right, at least some its items, has a taste of some prejudice.
    What do you mean under (it's prejudice, is not it?) 'Space is [not] made of points'?
    (That is, are you able to breath in vacuum?)
    You mean that 'space is emergent'? than,
    emergent from what? (and it is unclear how this follows from experiments).
    We should imagine that some objects somehow
    communicate (at a distance? ok, there is 'no
    space', yet), through a kind of telepathy,
    and all this 'magic activity', full of high
    Hollywood standards, is described by 'beautiful
    and natural' equations, is it so?

    Interestingly, your posts have no comments, what's the matter?
    Oops! two comments have appeared!

    One could think that a `struggle for attention' is an important feature of blogosphere.
    Perhaps in some future, say, all good software will be free of charge: paying attention is just sufficient payment, because there will be a lot of people who are able to do the same good

    So, this my comments is a kind of support of your writings.

  5. vn, what do you mean by "breath in vacuum"?

  6. Vladimir, maybe you are right. I have to read in more detail what you are doing.

  7. Bill K, I answered your comment in the next post.

  8. Nemo, '.. to breathe in vacuum' is a loose citation (or reminiscence of it) of Einstein: (something like) 'to reject continuum is like an attempt to breathe in vacuum'

  9. vn, that is a nice image! I will come back to it in a few days. I have updated the prejudice list as a reminder to myself.