String Theory

Category archives for String Theory

Nothing But Uncertainty

Over at Backreaction, Bee has a nice post about uncertainty, in the technical sense, not the quantum sense. The context is news stories about science, which typically do a terrible job of handling the uncertainties and caveats that are an essential part of science. Properly dealing with uncertainty is one of the hardest parts of…

Strings and Philately

Over at Evolving Thoughts, John Wilkins pokes string theorists: Ernst Rutherford, the “father” of nuclear physics, once airily declared “In science there is only physics. All the rest is stamp collecting”. By this he meant that the theory of physics is the only significant thing in science. Such mundane activities as taxonomy in biology were…

Lemonade from the Landscape

There’s a piece by Michael Dine in Physics Today this month with the ambitious title “String theory in the era of the Large Hadron Collider, thus combining two of my very favorite topics… I was going to give it a pass, but I was surprised to discover that it’s freely available– most of their articles…

The infamous Davies op-ed has been collected together with some responses at edge.org, and one of the responses is by Sean Carroll, who reproduces his response at Cosmic Variance. Sean’s a smart guy, and I basically agree with his argument, but I’m a contrary sort, and want to nitpick one thing about his response. He…

What is String Theory?

The title of this post is a famous question (posed, for example, by Joe Polchinski) which is modeled after an even more famous question by Ken Wilson, “What is Quantum Field Theory?”. I certainly can’t answer the first question, but Wilson’s question now does have a widely agreed upon answer (which is sadly not well…

Ask a String Theorist: Update

Thanx to everyone for all the interesting questions in the previous thread. I apologize for not being able to answer every one of them. I just arrived at a workshop on Long Island, and I’m also feeling a bit under the weather. From what I’ve seen so far, I think I will do a post…

Sigh

I see below that (in what comes as a total surprise) the string thread has already gotten lively. As an experimentalist doing quantum mechanics at the ultra-low-energy end, I don’t have a strong opinion on string theory qua theory, and I really don’t have a strong opinion on the sociology-of-theory business, beyond saying that I’m…

Ask a String Theorist

First of all, I’d like to thank Chad for the keys to his internet-house for the next few weeks. If you’re here, you know that one of the things Chad believes in (and is quite good at) is using his weblog for the exposition of science for the general public. While I don’t think I…

The State of Theory

There’s a lot of buzz in physics blogdom about the Strings 07 meeting, which starts today in Spain. They currently have a list of speakers, and promise slides and video to come. Also, there’s a new paper by Edward Witten on the arxiv, cue sound of heavenly choirs: We consider the problem of identifying the…

It’s summed up nicely by the discussion at Cosmic Variance, and spelled out explicitly in comment #125 by Marty Tysanner: Sean coaxingly requested, Come on, string theorists! Make some effort to explain to everyone why this set of lofty speculations is as promising as you know it to be. It won’t hurt too much, really.…