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Saturday
Apr242010

RS07 - Peter Woit Discusses Whether String Theory is "Not Even Wrong"

Release date: April 25, 2010


We are taking on fundamental physics! Our guest, Peter Woit, is a physicist in the Department of Mathematics at Columbia University and author of Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law. We discuss the apparently peculiar state of theoretical physics (see also Lee Smolin’s The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, The Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next) and the rather startling possibility that superstring theory — the best candidate in decades as the elusive “theory of everything” — may actually have been a colossal dead end for the physics community. We also explore the meaning of theory in science, and what is the connection between theory, observation and experiment. As it turns out, superstring theory has not been able to make any empirically testable predictions, which supports the argument that perhaps it isn’t — as Peter puts it — “even wrong,” meaning that it just isn’t science.

Comment on the episode teaser.

Peter Woit's pick: The book  The End of Science

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (5)

Lees Mawlin,

At least have the courage not to pussyfoot around. Say, "I think Peter Woit is a stuttering asshole." No need for your bent pinkie finger and cucumber sandwich rhetorical trope.

Obviously, though, you're using the trope to try to distract a little from its complete vacuousness.

Whether Woit stutters -- he doesn't -- is an empirical matter having no bearing on the discussion.

Whether Woit is an asshole is an irresolvable matter of opinion, but in neither case has any bearing on the discussion.

So what you've done is gone on the internet and insulted someone. Congratulations.

-O

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOssicle

may actually have been a colossal dead end for the physics community. We also explore the meaning of theory in science, and what is the connection between theory, Touch Screen LCD Monitor observation and experiment. As it turns out, superstring theory has not been able to make any empirically testable predictions, which supports the argument that perhaps it isn’t — as Peter puts it — “even wrong,” meaning that it just isn’t science.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterteresa

Servus this text is amazing are you a pro writer ? Maybe i could hire you to post for my site?

June 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterunsangato

At first I didn't understand why Peter Woit was stuttering so much, at times he seemed to spend 30 seconds formulating his thoughts , attempting to string a coherent sentence together.

Then I clicked on the profile of his interviewer Julia Galef .

OOO la la! I'm amazed he was able to stay focused for the very brief amount of time that he did!

September 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNone

That,s a great job you are doing....Peter...My congretulations !!!!!
Now, people are loosing their head..... as they can not hear, even the simplest honest critisism of their work, But we can not tolerate the fall of the best things acquired by countless human intelectuals to the simple so called courtsy. We will have to say true to true and false to false.... without fear....

February 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRanjeet, Delhi University

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