28 July 2012

Men at Strings 2012

The talks at Strings 2012 (see here) are worth following, if you want to see a group of older men in their 50s telling how nature should be, even though nature is in fact different. If you listen to the talks, you will get goose skin. Ideology really does bad things to smart people.

Update: For a positive exception, look at the pdf by Sandra Kortner; it gives an excellent summary of LHC results. All these experimental results show that there is nothing beyond the standard model.

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?