25 June 2013

Schellekens - how deep can a string theorist fall?

Men are funny. Just read this text by a well-known string theorist. I quote:
My point of view was then, and still is now, that a huge number of gauge theory vacua is a requirement for a fundamental theory in order to understand anthropic coincidences. 
Yes, this man thinks that a purely religious requirement is necessary in science.

Yes, this man thinks that a false requirement helps finding the fundamental theory.

His "point if view" contains a record amount of nonsense.  


  1. So you spot a coincidence in the form of some equations that makes you think, 'Ooh, I wonder if all particles are some kind of harmonic oscillation?' You investigate, and you find that to get something that looks like the physics you already know, you have to include more spacetime dimensions than you have observed. So then you scratch your head for a bit: 'I know. What if all those unobserved dimensions are curved around on themselves really tightly so that even if you travel a too-small-to-measure distance in them, you end up back where you started'. But when you try it, you find it doesn't work out unless you curl up the extra dimensions in a special sort of way (but there are still lots of ways to do it). So you try a couple and find that each way of curling up the extra dimensions implies different values for the properties of the particles -- none of which match the observed ones. So next you try to work out how many different ways you can curl up the extra dimensions in the special way, and you estimate there are 10 to the power 500. Then you say to yourself, 'Well, with so many, only a really unreasonable person would propose that not one of them yields particles with the properties observed, but just in case they do...'

    1. Even worse is this idea: "Somebody is playing dice, and each throw is a universe." A further case for therapy.