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The Unraveling of String Theory

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Saw this in Time:

 

(har har on the pun Time)

 

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1226142,00.html

 

So, can anyone provide a take on this? I really liked Brian Greene's books but have certainly been more drawn to Smolin/LQG lately, namely because of the fecund universes hypothesis.

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i read that today , in the actual magazine. Brain Greene's famous book basicly sais the same thing though. He sais alot of string theory is based on estimates, and can never be tested.

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So' date=' can anyone provide a take on this? [/quote']

 

non-string QG has been having a run of luck---or exciting new results---over the past 2 years, and the spotlight is shifting

 

there is actually more depth in the current NEW SCIENTIST article about this, than there is in the Time mag article.

 

I don't regularly read New Scientist and do not generally have a lot of confidence in their editors, but I think they DO get it right sometimes.

Bee kindly supplied some sample exerpts from the current issue, in the Cyclic Universe thread.

 

my take on the Time mag may be disappointingly vague, Bascule. I just think it is just a straw in the wind and we already sort of knew how the wind was blowing.

 

there have been similar articles saying much the same thing already in

Wall Street Journal

London Times (two articles, one in Sunday Times)

Financial Times of London

New York Times

 

there is a growing sense (now seeping out into public consciousness) that the string approach has stalled

and it is time to either

1. simply cut back (the word I hear people using is "defund") or

2. DIVERSIFY theory support at major universities to include non-string QG alternatives (take on a few postdocs and assistant profs from ALTERNATIVE lines of fundamental spacetime-matter theorizing)

 

===private opinion :) ===

 

I personally think that instead of defunding (cutting back on fundamental physics theory) they should trim a little from string and diversify. But I don't know how that will play. A lot depends on the reception of Smolin's book which is not simply a critique of string (he has done string research himself---quite a few papers including a recent one) but instead argues for diversifying by supporting the adventurous, mentally independent researchers and letting them explore what they want (instead of tying them to large existing programs, making support depend on staying in line).

The US has gotten into allocating support by program instead of by individual---so there are fashion-monopolies like string.

Anyway, I think the message to diversify is a subtle message and may be harder to get across than the simple idea of across-the-board cutbacks.

 

Also one can expect string-intelligentsia to simply fight to hold on to all they've got (control of fundamental theory research at all US universities except one----there is currently only one non-string QG group with more than one facultymember, the group at Penn State). So they are not likely to help resolve the issue constructively.

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Bit of a shame, really, because I can visualise it in all its glory (except gravity). dont respond in any relevant threads, because I am embarassingly devoid of the necessary maths.

 

Half a century ago I had a strange waking dream where all the universe was filled with multi-coloured twisting and vibrating threads. Imagine my surprise at remembering this dream when I first heard of string theory, and fitting in extra dimensions to accomodate transitional energy states that were forbidden in our four dimensions. I must be a borderline crackpot.

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Half a century ago I had a strange waking dream where all the universe was filled with multi-coloured twisting and vibrating threads...

 

that vision would fit Smolin's version of Loop Quantum Gravity as well as or better than it does string

so your vision may still have validity

 

pity you don't have a subscription to New Scientist' date=' you could

read the 12 August 2006 article by

David Castelvecchi and Valerie Jamieson

called [b']You Are Made of Space-Time[/b]

 

the main troubles encountered by string thinking come essentially from the fact that it is not FUNDAMENTAL enough. It does not try to say what SPACE is. String thinking tends to take some kind of space or spacetime continuum with some definite geometry FOR GRANTED and then imagines vibrating strings or higher-dimensional analogs of strings.

 

Loop gravity goes a level deeper and says that SPACE ITSELF is a turbulent network of linkages

 

the type of network Smolin and others use is called a "spin" network which means a graph where the links are in fact sometimes spoken of as colored------that is how Roger Penrose often referred to them, although the "color" of the links is an abstract label not a real color.

 

so anyway the picture is of space itself (and its geometry) represented by a constantly changing network of "colored" strands and now in this new version MATTER is represented by tangles, braids, knots in the strands of the network------semipermanent kinks that don't immediately come undone as the network changes.

 

that is why the new scientist article was called "You are made of spacetime"

because in this version of Loop QG, matter particles are just various types of tangles in the web----so matter is "made of the same stuff as geometry"

=========================

Bascule, this is sort of the beginning of saying my personal take. I think the Time article is superficial. I think it is a straw in the wind, along with many other newspaper and magazine articles. And I think what it says is that the spotlight has shifted more to non-string QG (which is still in infancy and very small compared with string). And I think the New Scientist has picked out more essential reasons for the shift, by digging a little deeper than the Time writer did.

 

I would like to hear other people's takes though.

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the problem with every quantum gravity theory I've seen so far is that they start with massive assumptions, and then construct very complex theories based on those assumptions, without bothering to see if their original assumptions were correct. In particular the string theorists seem to be creating entirely new universes now just because they feel that the universe should work in a certain way, they should reall take Bohr's advice and "stop telling god what to do". LQG is no better than string either, the LQG guys are just creating complex theory off of slightly better assumptions, without any attempt to see if those assumptions are correct. I would say to them that if space is made of discrete units then that should be apparent somewhere and they should show it.

 

and for the love of jebus how do vibrating strings, multiple dimensions, and discrete units of spacetime allow us to make predictions about events near a black hole or any sort instance where GR and QFT have to be used in conjunction.

 

as physicists our job is to poke, prod and extrapolate what OUR universe is about AND what our universe is doing.

 

/rant

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the problem with every quantum gravity theory I've seen so far is that they start with massive assumptions, and then construct very complex theories based on those assumptions, without bothering to see if their original assumptions were correct.

 

I don't think that is fair. Most quantum gravity theories have rather nice motivations behind them. Granted, they have not tested the extra contructs of the models, but that is partly because the math is so hard, and partly because our experiments are not good enough to proerly probe quantum gravity.

 

The real problems with quantum gravity are predictivity and renormalizability.

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...the LQG guys are just creating complex theory off of slightly better assumptions' date=' without any attempt to see if those assumptions are correct. I would say to them that if space is made of discrete units then that should be apparent somewhere and they should show it.

...[/quote']

 

"LQG" the way people use the term covers quite a variety of different approaches to QG. I am not sure which you are talking about when you say that LQG people assume space is "made of discrete units". Can you give an online source for that?

 

The oldest version of LQG, the one physicists not working in QG are most apt to be familiar with, begins by assuming space represented by a smooth 3D manifold---a CONTINUUM, not anything "made of discrete units". There is an easy introduction called "A Primer of LQG" by Rovelli and Upadhya that you can find on arxiv.

 

If you want, for clarity, we could choose one of the "LQG" approaches and look at what it actually assumes, and what consequences appear to be testable. It is far from true that recent work on non-string QG models is proceeding "without any attempt to see if [its] assumptions are correct."

=================

 

In general I agree with Severian's comment about QG. Deriving testable predictions from various QG approaches is a tough problem that some people are putting a lot of effort into these days. If you want links to technical papers about tests of non-string QG, please let me know and I will post some.

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In general I agree with Severian's comment about QG. Deriving testable predictions from various QG approaches is a tough problem that some people are putting a lot of effort into these days. If you want links to technical papers about tests of non-string QG, please let me know and I will post some.

 

yes please,

 

"LQG" the way people use the term covers quite a variety of different approaches to QG. I am not sure which you are talking about when you say that LQG people assume space is "made of discrete units". Can you give an online source for that?

 

the approach I was reffering to was presented in scientific american a while back, I'll try and dig up the article, but it was from a few years ago and it may not be available online anymore. But I also believe that Lee Smolin wrote that particular article.

 

I don't think that is fair. Most quantum gravity theories have rather nice motivations behind them. Granted, they have not tested the extra contructs of the models, but that is partly because the math is so hard, and partly because our experiments are not good enough to proerly probe quantum gravity.

 

I agree that the motivations are very nice, but the assumptions are not. If you compare the assumptions to previous theories such as GR, which made the simple postulate that space was curved by the mass present, and that assumption follows logically from the equivalence of gravitational mass and inertial mass.

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the approach I was reffering to was presented in scientific american a while back' date=' I'll try and dig up the article, but it was from a few years ago and it may not be available online anymore. But I also believe that Lee Smolin wrote that particular article.

...[/quote']

 

I know the one you mean! It was a popularization, so you can't take it literally. It didnt have any math.

But it was a great article for giving people inaccurate verbal analogies!

It helped to make the subject real for a lot of people who would not otherwise have known it existed. I was very happy with it.

(there is a limit to how truthful one can be about a physics theory without using the normal language of math formalism and Smolin did a great job)

 

The article was called Atoms of Space and Time and it was in the January 2004 issue.

I remember a friend who was visiting saw it at a newstand and brought it to us as a present.

 

anyway, don't blame Lee Smolin he was just doing popular science writing appropriate to the SciAm. but really in LQG space is not initially assumed to be made of atoms of space, or time made of atoms of time. They start with a usual smooth 4D manifold of the form R x S where S is a smooth 3D manifold.

then one starts trying to describe the quantum states of the GEOMETRY of that manifold (areas, volumes, angles, distances) without using a fixed metric.

 

Thanks for reminding me of the Smolin article. here is a link (but they want money)

http://www.sciamdigital.com/index.cfm?fa=Products.ViewIssuePreview&ARTICLEID_CHAR=66752753-2B35-221B-619EB81F85536798

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CPL.Luke if you like reading science popularizations as in SciAm you might really enjoy these two New Scientist articles which are attachments here

http://www.scienceforums.net/forums/showpost.php?p=296173&postcount=8

 

I like both technical-level and popular science writing and I thought one of these two was excellent---the longer one by Davide Castelvecchi

 

=========

I also remember that you want some links to technical articles about non-string QG TESTING.

 

I will put some links here for you as they come to mind. the first may not be the best or easiest to understand but I will just list few as they occur to me

http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0605052

Generic predictions of quantum theories of gravity

 

http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0501091

Falsifiable predictions from semiclassical quantum gravity

 

http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0604130

Algebraic approach to quantum gravity II: noncommutative spacetime

(this is mostly irrelevant, but at the start, like around page 2, it has a short paragraph about a test of the theory nearterm)

What Shahn Majid refers to here is a NASA satellite called GLAST scheduled for launch in 2007. An approach Majid has worked out with Laurent Freidel (a spinfoam "LQG" guy) is layed on the line, because it predicts something GLAST should be sensitive enough to see and if it does not see it that shoots down Majid and Freidel's model.

At least that's the plan. The idea in testing theories is they should be FALSIFIABLE that is they should bet their life on the outcome of some empirical observation which if it comes out wrong will disprove them. If a theory is not predictive in this falsifiable sense then it is too mushy----it can adapt to anything.

So Majid is CLAIMING that he has something that makes a hard prediction and is therefore falsifiable.

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Bascule's original post topic The Unraveling of String Theory seems to be much in the news.

I just checked booksales to see if they corroborate this.

I compared sales of Susskind's stringy book that came out in the US on 12 December 2005

and Woit's, which will come out 30 September

and Smolin's, which will come out 16 September.

Note that in Woit and Smolin case these are ADVANCE sales, people ordering books that wont be shipped to them until when the book comes out.

 

I compared Amazon.com sales ranks for 4 more or less random times spaced over 5 days

 

the way I get the Amazon page is to google

"amazon susskind cosmic"

"amazon smolin trouble"

"amazon woit unity"

that gets pages for these three

 

The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design

 

The Trouble With Physics: the Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next

 

Not Even Wrong: the Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Natural Law

 

Sales rank of
Susskind   23,538   10,016   19,936    28,047
Smolin        1819     1729     1058      926
Woit          5075     3427     2799     2694

 

Reviews of Woit's and Smolin's books have been appearing frequently of late in mainstream media (SciAm, Discovery, WSJ, NYT, various UK papers, Seed magazine, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Prospect, etc.)

By contrast just today a BLOG review of Woit's book by a U. Texas string postdoc! A. Bergman says he has been doing more math research than string theory lately, but allegiance-wise I'd say he is still in string camp, so I was interested to see what he had to say>

http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/string/archives/000898.html

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Could there be perhaps no single theory that is capable of describing all phenomena in the Universe because of the large numberof mathematical desgins and geometries that can be made to fit predictions to a good extent but perhaps not produce a complete picture? For example I have read here about the number of string theories that have been produced, and so I ask; could it be just as likely that none of these theories can produce a single mathmeatical design for the Universe, because there is no single design?

 

My argument may seem nonsensical, in the sense that there has to be a reasonable and logical design to our reality(Perhaps design is to strong a word).

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Could there be perhaps no single theory that is capable of describing all phenomena in the Universe...

 

that strikes me as a sensible question, abskebabs.

I wouldnt apply it to contemporary string and non-string QG theories, though, because I don't think they are good enough.

 

In a hundred years string may be forgotten except by historians and there may be some other quite different math formalism that unifies GR with QM.

AND YET in accordance with your suspicion there might still be NO PERFECT THEORY.

 

I don't know of any guarantee that fundamental physics will ever arrive at a perfect theory describing the elementary dynamics of space time and matter.

 

The language of fundamental physics is mathematics, which is a human language and is limited by what humans can understand. The language of mathematics is limited in how fast it can evolve. It can only evolve to the extent that humans invent it, learn to speak it and understand it. We have some of that going on today.

 

The rate at which new mathematical language can be assimilated by physicists and put to use in physical theory is also limited and can take wrong directions. There can be a 50 year lag before the physicists figure out what is the RIGHT new mathematical language for them to assimilate and use.

 

It is quite possible that string took a fundamentally wrong turn, and leads to a blind alley. So I would apply what you said GENERALLY not merely to string but to all fundamental physics theories being worked on.

 

AFAICS there is no sign that we are at an impasse collectively. String may be up a blind alley and some people giving up on ever getting a predictive version, but other non-string QG is not. And things are moving along.

We can't tell what fundamental physics will look like in 100 years (assuming society still supports a thriving theory community and hasnt just delegated the job of understanding the universe to computers:-) )

but it is very likely that, according to your suspicion, it will not be perfect (yet) and may never be!

 

Did you read those two attachments that Bee posted last week? Here's a link:

...if you like reading science popularizations as in SciAm you might really enjoy these two New Scientist articles which are attachments here

http://www.scienceforums.net/forums/showpost.php?p=296173&postcount=8

 

I like both technical-level and popular science writing and I thought one of these two was excellent---the longer one by Davide Castelvecchi

 

Castelvecchi is a web writer for the A.I.P. (http://www.aip.org/ american institute of physics)

actually the other attachment is good too, both are, for what they do and the intended audience. I don't usually recommend articles from New Scientist but I do these.

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Hmm... Martin I must say I appreciate your response. It's interesting that you point out the flaws within the language of mathematics itself and whether it can indeed be used to truly describe physical phenomena, as recently I have come to view mathematics in quite a high light in that ultimately; It is the only language and pursuit of man that could ever hope to contemplate the universe. As one noble physicist once put the ultimate reality would be a mathematical one.

 

My thoughts were actually that perhaps we should not restrict ourselves to finding just one theory, or perhaps change our approach in terms of what we aim to achieve. I guess what I am trying to say, and have come to appreciate only recently from an admittedly inexperienced viewpoint; is that maths at its highest sophistication when related to reality is a lot like art.

 

In this way, it may be impossible to be truly objective about it and arrive at a so-called ultimate theory, just as there can be no one piece of art that is the best piece of Art and encompasses all other pieces of art. Mathematics and physics in the end may just be an art form whose painter is the Universe, whose paintbrushes are scientific tools, and whose canvas is human intellect, to use an analogy of David Bohm's.

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My thoughts were actually that perhaps we should not restrict ourselves to finding just one theory' date=' or perhaps change our approach in terms of what we aim to achieve. I guess what I am trying to say, and have come to appreciate only recently from an admittedly inexperienced viewpoint; is that maths at its highest sophistication when related to reality is a lot like art.

 

...[/quote']

 

You are probably right, and even in a sense mainstream, in the following sense.

As I understand it, empirical methods can only prove theories WRONG. It can never prove a theory right (in some absolute eternal way) because the next experiment might discover a shortcoming.

Science is not a complete recipe for knowledge and it doesnt guarantee that you eventually arrive at the ONE PERFECT theory.

 

People could arrive at two or more different-looking theories that predicted the same experimental results and they might have to declare them (provisionally at least) equally good!

 

I dont know of any natural law which says that two theories can't predict the same future observations and both be equally right (or wrong).

 

I'm not enough of a philosopher to discuss this further. And maybe it doesnt matter.

 

the hard reality, though, is that to be a scientific theory something has to predict the outcome of future experiments so that you can test it----it if doesnt lay it on the line and predict stuff then at best it is a half-baked theory in the making.

that is all string is----a halfbake theory in the making---and that is all several non-string QG are

 

in 1919 Eddington had Einstein GR as a fully worked out theory that he could go to that island and really test, with telescopes and stuff. He was much better off than we are. Einstein 1915 GR said the bending angle should be such and such----Eddington could go out there and check to see.

 

All we have is something much more tenuous. String doesnt predicts any definite outcome of any future experiment at all so far. It is compatible both with seeing SUSY and with NOT seeing SUSY. By contrast, Laurent Freidel non-string QG seems to predict a detectable energy dependence of the speed of light that can be picked up by GLAST.

It is not an entirely clearcut satisfactory test. But at least it is something and GLAST will be launched next year (2007) if all goes as planned.

Freidel's QG is not completely worked out, but at least it makes this prediction that one can check. One can see if it is on the right track or not.

 

the problem at present is not having any mature theories AT ALL (that go to the heart of the spacetime-matter business). it would be nice to have the opposite trouble, and have too many theories, I only wish.

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Here is George Johnson's review of the Smolin and Woit books in the September issue of SciAm.

 

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&articleID=000713DC-8161-14E3-BAEC83414B7F0000&colID=12

 

here is the printer version

http://www.sciam.com/print_version.cfm?articleID=000713DC-8161-14E3-BAEC83414B7F0000

 

===sample exerpt===

August 21, 2006

 

The Inelegant Universe

 

Two new books argue that it is time for string theory to give way

 

By George Johnson

 

The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next

by Lee Smolin

Houghton Mifflin, 2006

 

Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law

by Peter Woit

Basic Books, 2006

 

When you click the link for the Postmodernism Generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo), a software robot working behind the scenes instantly throws together a lit-crit parody with a title like this: "Realities of Absurdity: The dialectic paradigm of context in the works of Fellini." And a text that runs along these lines: "In a sense, the main theme of the works of Fellini is the futility, and hence the stasis, of precapitalist sexuality. An abundance of deconceptualisms concerning a self-falsifying reality may be revealed."

 

Reload the page, and you get "The Dialectic of Sexual Identity: Objectivism and Baudrillardist hyperreality" and then "The Meaninglessness of Expression: Capitalist feminism in the works of Pynchon."

 

With a tweak to the algorithms and a different database, the Web site could probably be made to spit out what appear to be abstracts about superstring theory: "Frobenius transformation, mirror map and instanton numbers" or "Fractional two-branes, toric orbifolds and the quantum McKay correspondence."

 

Those are actually titles of papers recently posted to the arXiv.org repository of preprints in theoretical physics, and they may well be of scientific worth--if, that is, superstring theory really is a science. Two new books suggest otherwise: that the frenzy of research into strings and branes and curled-up dimensions is a case of surface without depth, a solipsistic shuffling of symbols as relevant to understanding the universe as randomly generated dadaist prose.

 

In this grim assessment, string theory--an attempt to weave together general relativity and quantum mechanics--is not just untested but untestable, incapable of ever making predictions that can be experimentally checked. With no means to verify its truth, superstring theory, in the words of Burton Richter, director emeritus of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, may turn out to be "a kind of metaphysical wonderland." Yet it is being pursued as vigorously as ever, its critics complain, treated as the only game in town.

 

"String theory now has such a dominant position in the academy that it is practically career suicide for young theoretical physicists not to join the field," writes Lee Smolin, a physicist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, in The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next. "Some young string theorists have told me that they feel constrained to work on string theory whether or not they believe in it, because it is perceived as the ticket to a professorship at a university."

 

The counterargument, of course, is that string theory is dominant because the majority of theorists sense that it is the most promising approach--that the vision of oscillating strings singing the cosmic harmonies is so beautiful that it has to be true. But even that virtue is being called into question. "Once one starts learning the details of ten-dimensional superstring theory, anomaly cancellation, Calabi-Yau spaces, etc., one realizes that a vibrating string and its musical notes have only a poetic relationship to the real thing at issue," writes Peter Woit, a lecturer in mathematics at Columbia University, in Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law. The contortions required to hide away the seemingly nonexistent extra dimensions have resulted in structures Woit finds "exceedingly complex" and "exceedingly ugly."

 

Many physicists will take exception to such harsh judgments (three sympathetic treatments of superstrings were reviewed here in April). ...

......

......

 

===endquote===

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I doubt anyone will even have heard of this, but I think Topological Gemotrodynamics could be looked at as a potential alternative theory. I confess I have nowhere near the knowledge required to properly scrutinize this but others may be interested in having a look at it. I think perhaps the best introduction would be to look at a collection of Emails he has had with an MIT student concerning his theory here:

http://web.mit.edu/spatrick/www/matti.html

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Part of the unraveling of string is at a theoretical level and part is in the area of public perceptions.

 

Today's theoretical problems were discussed in Tom Siegfried's recent article in SCIENCE magazine titled "A Landscape Too Far?". I can get a link if anyone wants.

 

In the public perception department, things are happening pretty fast and I only have time to track a few indicators. Here is the AMAZON BESTSELLER LIST for physics books.

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/14545/ref=pd_ts_b_ldr/102-4540543-7840144

 

 

This sample is as of 7PM pacific Thursday 24 August

 

Woit--Not Even Wrong: the Failure of String Theory.....#10

Greene--Elegant Universe...#11

Smolin--The Trouble with Physics: the Rise of String....#15

Penrose--The Road to Reality...#26

Hawking--A Brief History of Time...#31

Randall--Warped Passages...#70

Kaku--Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos... #99

 

Susskind's book did not make the top 100, this time. I include Greene, Penrose, Hawking, Randall and Kaku for comparison.

I want to show the position of Woit and Smolin critiques relative to other popular physics books.

Above Woit's are mostly physics textbooks, not books for general audience.

This ranking changes hourly, but my rough impression is that stringcritic books are doing pretty well.

 

=====================

Another indicator is the increased visibility of non-string alternatives

as in the sample New Scientist exerpts posted here

http://www.scienceforums.net/forums/showpost.php?p=296173&postcount=8

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Another indicator is the remarkable decline in the amount of string research being done and getting published, over the past 5 years.

 

Here are the results of my search using the Harvard physics abstract service, with keywords

"superstring, heterotic, M-theory, brane, AdS/CFT". These are counts of articles published Jan through July, by year 2001-2006, with those keywords.

 

2001 783

2002 765

2003 740

2004 609

2005 613

2006 552

 

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/physics_service.html

 

Judging by citation trends, those papers that are getting published are not proving as fruitful, in the sense of influencing and being cited by subsequent research: the number of highly cited papers has diminished even more rapidly than the total number of papers being published.

Also, for what it's worth, the percentage of papers from North America and Europe is much lower in the 2006 crop than in the 2001 crop. It seems that people are getting out of string research overall----and also that they are getting out faster in U.S. and E.U.---at least if one judges by journal publication in the Harvard database. However none of this is conclusive, one only has straws in the wind. If you listen to what people SAY you may get a different picture: the field is doing fine, it's a great time to be a string theorist etc.

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... Here is the AMAZON BESTSELLER LIST for physics books.

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/14545/ref=pd_ts_b_ldr/102-4540543-7840144

 

 

This sample is as of 7PM pacific Thursday 24 August

 

Woit--Not Even Wrong: the Failure of String Theory.....#10

Greene--Elegant Universe...#11

Smolin--The Trouble with Physics: the Rise of String....#15

Penrose--The Road to Reality...#26

Hawking--A Brief History of Time...#31

Randall--Warped Passages...#70

Kaku--Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation' date=' Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos... #99

 

...

Another indicator is the increased visibility of non-string alternatives

as in the sample New Scientist exerpts posted here

http://www.scienceforums.net/forums/showpost.php?p=296173&postcount=8[/quote']

 

 

the physics bestseller list is volatile----can change in the course of a day. they update hourly.

It works better to use the Amazon GENERAL physics bestseller list, which doesnt have so many specialized books in it. It has a higher percentage of wide-audience books like the above.

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/14560/ref=pd_ts_b_nav/102-4540543-7840144

 

Here is a sampling from the "general physics" bestseller list for 10 AM pacific Saturday 26 August

 

Greene--Elegant Universe...#3

Smolin--The Trouble with Physics: the Rise of String....#7

Hawking--A Brief History of Time...#9

Woit--Not Even Wrong: the Failure of String Theory.....#15

Penrose--The Road to Reality...#18

Randall--Warped Passages...#21

Kaku-- Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension (Paperback) ... #33

Susskind--Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and...#81

 

It's changeable, but not completely erratic. Here is the same sample a few hours later: 3:40 PM pacific same day.

 

Smolin--The Trouble with Physics: the Rise of String....#5

Greene--Elegant Universe...#6

Woit--Not Even Wrong: the Failure of String Theory.....#12

Hawking--A Brief History of Time...#15

Penrose--The Road to Reality...#17

Randall--Warped Passages...#20

Kaku-- Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension (Paperback) ... #65

Susskind--Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and...#77

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