Seeking an answer I have become increasingly astonished and alarmed, and I am not alone: Physicists like Peter Voit in Not Even Wrong and Lee Smolin in The Trouble with Physics claim that modern physics dominated by string theory, is a science in a state of serious crisis.
I get the impression that the worst aspect of Einstein's science, or pseudo-science, which met so much opposition when it was first presented, has spread like a pandemi with the following symptoms:
- mathematics as magics
- no contact with reality and experiment
- closure to inspection for non-believers.
Physics is the science of reductionism per se in charge of the Basic Principles of Everything in a heroic search after a Grand Unified Theory GUT or Theory Of Everything TOE. The answer is presented as a string theory in a 10-dimensional space-time on a scale 20 orders of magnitude smaller than atomic scales.
But small scale extra space dimensions is the opposite of reductionism: If increasing the magnification of a microscope, you do not see the picture simplifying, but on the contrary you see increasingly complex structures appearing, like extra space dimensions, then your reductionist approach is leading nowhere and you cannot just continue pretending that things are in order:Microscopics upon microscopics is contradictory.
But physicists continue further and further out on a branch that seems to have lost connection to the tree of science, steadily increasing the bet to Big Bang, which cannot be called. Listen for example to
- The Universe on a String by Brian Greene
- Mystery Theory by Edward Witten.
- DNA of the Universe by Leonard Susskind
- Beyond Einstein at World Science Festival.
- rather than thinking in terms of crucial experiments and observations, physicists have to begin by investigating the theory's formal mathematical structure
- the theory and its mathematical language are probed, recast and related to other theories.
- This idea that some thousand very gifted very highly placed people around the world have worked on something passionately for two decades without a hint of how to test it experimentally, that is unlike anything that has ever happened before in the history of physics.
- We still do not understand what string theory is. We do not have a formulation of the dynamical principle behind ST. All we have is a vast array of dual formulations, most of which are defined by methods for constructing consistent semiclassical (perturbative) expansions about a given background (classical solution).
- We need new rules of physics, because we are faced with new questions, which we have not had the tools to address before. We are forced to discuss the whole Universe, the beginning, the boundaries, the end. You can´t avoid them in a theory of quantum gravity... What are the rules to construct a space-time history of the Universe? We may not have the right framework to discuss these rules...Ed Witten said that space and time may be doomed... which scares some people...We have evidence that space is an emergent phenomenon, that somehow it is not fundamental....String theory, whatever it is, cannot be based on space as a fundamental concept...How would you start formulating physics without the concept of time? String theory has many hopes for the future...