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

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

by Peter Woit
     
 

If Not Even Wrong, Peter Woit shows that what many physicists call super-string "theory" is not a theory at all but an unrealized hope that a theory might exist. In his view, superstring theory has departed the realm of testable hypothesis and now resembles something like aesthetic speculation, even theology-it makes no predictions, even wrong ones. Can a subject be a… See more details below

Overview

If Not Even Wrong, Peter Woit shows that what many physicists call super-string "theory" is not a theory at all but an unrealized hope that a theory might exist. In his view, superstring theory has departed the realm of testable hypothesis and now resembles something like aesthetic speculation, even theology-it makes no predictions, even wrong ones. Can a subject be a science if it makes no predictions at all? Not Even Wrong tells the story of how quantum physics came to such a pass. It describes how superstring theory came about; explains how mathematic and physics have worked together to generate a compelling theory of particle physics that has become in many ways a victim of its own success; and describes how it developed that judgments about scientific statements, which should be based on the logical consistency of argument and experimental evidence, are instead based on the eminence of those claiming to know the truth.

About the Author:
Peter Woit is a lecturer in the Mathematics Department of Columbia University

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465092758
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
09/28/2006
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author


Peter Woit is a lecturer in the mathematics department of Columbia University, where in recent years he has taught graduate courses in quantum field theory, representation theory, and differential geometry. His math and physics blog, Not Even Wrong (www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress), has been featured in Discover, Seed, and New Scientist. He lives in New York.

Table of Contents

1Particle physics at the turn of the millennium1
2The instruments of production5
3Quantum theory29
4Quantum field theory49
5Gauge symmetry and gauge theories59
6The standard model67
7Triumph of the standard model85
8Problems of the standard model91
9Beyond the standard model95
10New insights in quantum field theory and mathematics105
11String theory : history139
12String theory and supersymmetry : an evaluation161
13On beauty and difficulty193
14Is superstring theory science?203
15The Bogdanov affair213
16The only game in town : the power and the glory of string theory221
17The landscape of string theory237
18Other points of view247
19Conclusion255

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