6 December 2012

Who is really working on a theory of everything?

String theory is wrong. Loop quantum gravity is not a theory of everything. Garrett Lisi is wrong. Who then is working on a theory of everything? In the arxiv there are no proposals.

Let me summarize. Imagine that you are a young physicist. You dream about working on the theory of everything. You study physics and start putting your nose into research. What do you experience?


If somebody explores an option for the theory of everything, the first experience is what happens to string theorists. Caught between the obligation to follow Witten and his aggressive followers or to agree with the aggressive critics.

And both camps agree on one thing: if a young physicist does some research, even outside string theory, he is an idiot or crazy. Everybody in the field knows: whatever the young researcher does, he gets hostile criticism. Of course, the same happens to old physicists. The consequence? Nobody actually works on the theory of everything. Of the two or three-thousand researchers in high energy physics, "nobody" is actually working of the theory of everything.

Aggression is the reason that the theory of everything is still lacking. Homo homini lupus. If you have a story to tell, you are welcome to write me.

2 December 2012

What are interactions?

To me this is the most important question in physics. Of course, interactions are exchanges of gauge bosons. But what is happening? How do the exchanges take place?

In the past weeks, I read everything I could find about this topic. A sobering experience that I can summarize thus: white, English-speaking men know nothing about the answer. And they are even afraid of speculating about it. Other humans do not write anything about it.

Wikipedia's article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_interaction is funny: "fundamental interactions are the ways that elementary particles interact with one another". One has to be drunk to write such a definition.

Most researchers only say that interactions are "particle exchanges described by a gauge group". They speculate about various gauge groups, or about supersymmetry, or about BRST. But no one speculates about how interactions appear in the first place.

Established researchers do not explore the question. But why? They do not even speculate about it. Are they afraid? I only found the spaghetti model as candidate proposal. What a poor harvest. And of course, it is written by a white, English-speaking man. What about black women speaking Swahili? Or South-American women speaking Quechua? And what shall we do before they come along?

One friend told me about a possible background. She said that white men are so nasty among each other that anybody daring to speculate is not invited any more to talks, to committees or to conferences. "Speculators" are discarded from the academic community. They know it and they fear it. They behave among themselves in the same way that they behave towards students in examinations.

Men have organized modern physics in a way that speculation has become impossible. Progress is impossible in modern theoretical physics. Dear sisters, please come along!