fredag 16 januari 2015

Perimeter Institute: Very Deep Crisis of Modern Physics: Ultimate Catastrophe

  • Our donors believe that discoveries made in theoretical physics are really important for humanity.
  • This is certainly true if you look at the past:
  • Without theoretical physics we wouldn't have modern technology and a vast array of sciences.
  • We know that the world is made of atoms. Who found that out? Physicists!
  • We know that atoms stick together to molecules. Who discovered that? Physicists!
  • The Higgs boson, a billion times smaller that the atom, predicted 50 years earlier on the basis of quantum theory and relativity, was found in a 10 billion Euro LHC machine ...
  • The second great discovery was made by the Planck satellite as a pattern of density variations from the Big Bang...very precise...although a few unknowns like dark matter and energy...
  • The level of agreement between theory and data is extraordinary and not matched in any other area of science.
  • Yet, what we are describing is the whole universe itself, which turns out to be very simple on very large scales and on very small scales.  
  • The level of precision and reach of physics is beyond any other area of science.
  • That is the good news about physics: It is the most successful field in science and the most conceptually simple. 
Turok continues with some philosophical reflections:
  • What is is going on? 
  • Why is it that human beings have this capacity to see into the heart of nature way beyond the world of everyday experience? 
  • We don't know.  
Turok then (humorously, intertwingled with laughter) informs the young minds eager to learn: 
  • Theoretical physics is at a crossroads.
  • We have entered a very deep crisis...grand unified models, supersymmetric models, superstring models, loop quantum models, models, models...
  • Nature turns out to more simple than all these models.
  • Theorists are in state of confusion. What is going on?
  • Theories have failed, because they did not really introduce new concepts.
  • The number of parameters in supersymmetric models is 120, and explodes into thousands...
  • String theory seems to predict $10^{1000}$ different possible laws of physics:
  • The multiverse: The ultimate catastrophe. Crazy situation.
  • Theorists utterly confused...seem to have no predictions at all.
  • Very deep crisis. The vacuum is not has energy...
  • Theory has kind of selfdestructed. 
  • The theories we know are missing some very important principle.
  • You are entering a field which requires a complete re-invention. 
  • What type theory will replace quantum theory and relativity?
  • You will need to develop your own ideas...
What would the result be if Turek's message was directed to the donors of Perimeter Institute and not just to innocent students? Is the idea of presenting modern physics, the most successful field of all of science, as an ultimate catastrophe, to stimulate donors to give more money to both theorists and supercollider experimentalists, because it is so important to humanity?

Note that this post connects to an earlier post on the same theme. The reason I am returning is to find motivation in my own search for new models, in which endevour I may have as good chance of finding something as any other confused physicist.

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