Dr Peter Woit interview in Discover journal
I'm pleased about this, unlike Dr Motl and other string 'theorists'. I think Woit's own research on generating the families of Standard Model particles is very inspiring, but the personal attacks he receives for pointing out that string 'theory' has no scientific content, is astounding. Like astrology, although string 'theory' is mathematically based (astrology is supposed to be calculating the positions of stars to see when they enter sectors of sky), it nevertheless makes vague untestable predictions, and is defended viciously by those people who make money out of it by deceiving others. String 'theory' postulates extra dimensions to 'predict' unobservable gravitons vaguely (no testable or checkable predictions there), and postulates a 1:1 boson to fermion superpartner super-symmetry (SUSY) to 'explain' unobservable electroweak and strong nuclear force unification at an energy far beyond anything that could possibly be checked experimentally.
Yet it is sold as the greatest enterprise in the history of science. It cannot unify forces quantitatively in a scientific (testable) way, it cannot predict any of the many Standard Model quantum field theory numbers (particle masses, couplings, etc.). Its advocates are so paranoid that they suppressed and rejected Woit's book originally, as well as papers on 'alternatives' by many lesser people (including yours truly). String 'theory' is as totally devoid of scientific basis as Kepler's astrology calculations were. Kepler had an excuse: his real physics was suppressed as heretical nonsense. He had to live, and when his assistance to Tycho Brahe finished and teaching came to an end, he had to work as astrologer.
String 'theorists' are welcome to waste their own time, but not to brainwash the world with empty predictions, promises, 'theory'. They have no excuse to draw on the tax-payer. They have no noble cause. He has not expressed much interest in causal general relativity (virtual particle perfect fluid spacetime fabric) to unify quantum field theory and gravity, but I'd claim to be a a fan of his weblog. In fact, I just found he has retained my comment linking the Standard Model inertial mass mechanism (Higgs field) to the spacetime fabric of general relativity for gravity. People like Drs Christine Dantas, D. R. Lunsford, Tony Smith, Garrett Lisi, Chris Oakley, Torbjorn Larsson, Alejandro Rivero, Juan R., and several others are ahead in the Woit fan club. Many string theorists are included who don't believe in bigotry towards 'alternatives' and believe in healthy scepticism and debate over details, instead of the religious attitude of 'sacred science'. Woit now reports that his book is out on 1 June 2006. When he first announced it, it was due out March 06, then it was April. Hope there are no more delays!
Feynman’s statements in Davies & Brown, ‘Superstrings’ 1988, at pages 194-195:
‘… I do feel strongly that this is nonsense! … I think all this superstring stuff is crazy and is in the wrong direction. … I don’t like it that they’re not calculating anything. … why are the masses of the various particles such as quarks what they are? All these numbers … have no explanations in these string theories - absolutely none! …’ (From Tony Smith.)
Larsson lists the following more recent experts:
Sheldon “string theory has failed in its primary goal” Glashow
Martinus “string theory is a figment of the theoretical mind” Veltman
Phil “string theory a futile exercise as physics”Anderson
Bob “string theory a 50-year-old woman wearing way too much lipstick” Laughlin
Dan “string theory is a complete scientific failure” Friedan
‘Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.’- G. Orwell, 1984, Chancellor Press, London, 1984, p225.
(Ivor Catt has borrowed this quotation from a letter I sent him in 1997, and used it on his internet site. What a pity he misuses all discussion of censorship in a paranoid way which seems to amount to the message: 'Ivor Catt is the only person with good evidence of mindless or corruption based censorship', particularly when he gets the details wrong. However, he is now a politician, and is not interested in physics; at least he talks politics if you point out his errors, instead of correcting them!)
Lee Smolin's recent Perimeter lectures on LQG. He shows the connection between path integrals of quantum field theory and the field equation of general relativity using Penrose's spin networks. If the basics of QFT and the basics of GR are tested and accepted, the LQG approach is at least trying to build a basis for quantum gravity on more solid foundations than speculative string theory/landscape.
It's come up before, but there is a clear connection between the Higgs field and gravity, if the Higgs field is responsible for mass, if the equivalence principle holds. The core particle field is 'shielded' by the polarised vacuum directly around it. Koltick in 97 showed that at I think 100 GeV the coupling factor of 1/137 changed to 1/128, because of partial penetration of the vacuum. For unification at extremely high energy, the coupling would be 1/1.
If the Higgs field particles causing mass are inside the polarised vacuum veil, the coupling and hence mass is 137 times bigger than if the Higgs field particles causing mass are outside the veil. When you compare data on actual masses of leptons and hadrons to the electron mass, you find the 137 factor! See: http://www.wbabin.net/physics/cook4.htm