25 July 2012

Banks has given up

The latest preprint, http://arxiv.org/abs/1207.5096, where Tom Banks predicts an axion at LHC scale, supersymmetry breaking, 'pyramid scheme' etc., shows that also Banks, one of the smartest guys in physics, cannot stop working on topics that do not correlate with experiment.

Though he provides one idea that sticks: he writes (in the appendix) that any effective theory that yields the standard model should "stem from a microscopic theory of quantum gravity at the Planck scale".

Why does nobody look for such a theory and then deduces the standard model from it, instead of guessing intermediate steps? (Arxiv does not have such attempts since years.) Guessing intermediate steps, like the 'pyramid scheme' that Banks presents in his paper, shows that he gave up on the real task: he gave up searching for the microscopic theory at the Planck scale.

But why do all these smart people give up? They are smart and famous, have the best theory jobs in the world, the best preparation, the best knowledge, they know what to do, they know where to look - and then they don't. What happened to them?


  1. For a theory to appear, it is necessary to have the experimental data, not just theoretical ideas how everything is going on. Nobody knows what gravitational phenomena occur at so short distances, only speculations and analogies with the QFT. We are bound to build more or less successful theoretical constructions in limited phenomenological intervals. Aspirations to build a theory of everything without knowing everything is groundless.

  2. Maybe, but a paper that tells what people should do, and then explicitly not doing it, shows that the author is not on the right track.