lördag 11 juli 2009

Is Crazy-Physics = Pseudo-Science?

The more prominent a physicist you are, the more likely it is that you express that modern physics is crazy:
  • Einstein: Since the mathematicians have invaded the theory of relativity, I do not understand it myself anymore....A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?
  • Bohr: We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough.
  • Feynman: I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.
  • Bohr: If anybody says he can think about quantum physics without getting giddy, that only shows he has not understood the first thing about them...There are some things so serious you have to laugh at them.
  • Gell-Mann: If someone says that he can think or talk about quantum physics without becoming dizzy, that shows only that he has not understood anything whatever about it.
  • Hannes Alfven: Many people probably felt relieved when told that the true nature of the world could not be understood except by Einstein and a few other geniuses who were able to think in four dimensions. They had tried to understand science, but now it was evident that science was something to believe in, not something which should be understood.
  • Max Tegmark in The Second Law and Cosmology: If we categorically reject ideas in science just because they feel crazy, we will probably reject whatever the correct theory is, too...One crazy sounding answer is inflation...
  • David Gross: However our construction of string theory has proceeded in an ad hoc fashion, often producing, for apparently mysterious reasons, structures that appear miraculous.
  • Ed Witten: The M in my M-theory stands for Magic, Mystery or Matrix, according to taste...The Big Question to me, looking ahead, is whether with our new understanding we are finally placed to answer the Big Question: What is string theory? If we really understood that, I feel sure a lot of things would become clear...
  • Michael Atiyah: Very mysterious! If orthodox view correct, final theory emerges soon from strings: We will discover universe built of fantastically intricate mathematics. 
How can this be? Why is modern physics so crazy that you get dizzy and cannot understand? Isn't science supposed to be rational and understandable, the opposite of crazy? Is this the reason for the decreasing interest in science? For an answer, see Scientists and Science in Cartoons.

The flavor of modern physics is given in the Opening Lecture of Strings09 by David Gross asking:
  • Why, for example, don't we live in ten dimensions?
  • It would be nice to predict a phenomenon which would be accessible at observable energies and is uniquely characteristic of string theory.
  • It is evident that we are far from understanding the deep symmetries and physical principles that underlie string theories.
  • How many more string revolutions are required?
  • Can we imagine physics with more than one dimension of time?
  • What are the rules of physics without spacetime?
  • What are the rules, of the Universe?
  • What will we learn from the Large Hadron Collider LHC?
David Gross was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2004.

  • The LHC was designed to answer one question: Is electroweak symmetry broken as postulated in the Higgs mechanism of the Standard Model?
  • Within 2-3 years from startup we should have an answer.
  • It is unlikely it will take less than 30 years to clarify and consolidate the understanding of new phenomena to be unveiled by the LHC.
  • Progress in the field will be 100% driven by new and better experimental data. We are running out of ideas and tools to make progress based on first principles only.
The LHC has so far costed $10billion, while its annual operating cost is secret.

3 kommentarer:

  1. Why make such a fuss, enjoy physics because its meant to be the way it is!

  2. What about tax payers money?

  3. All physics today, except for causal set theory, is founded on spatial conceptions, which has led to convoluted craziness on the theoretical side. The reconstruction of physics from causal sets puts an end to the craziness. Causal set theory is the formalization of Russell and Whitehead's doctrine of space-time, which reduces everything to time order alone. It is based on first principles only. Ignorance of their work is so bad that even the causal set theorists have not identified their own "causal link" as the quantum of energy ratios. See "Causal Set Theory and the Origin of Mass-ratio" for the "ideas and tools to make progress based on first principles only." -- Carey R. Carlson