John Horgan interviews Peter Woit; Lubos Motl's ex-student Jim Weatherall claims that string theory isn't important; British University Physics Teaching Half Shuts Down
‘Since 1982 A-level physics entries have halved. Only just over 3.8 per cent of 16-year-olds took A-level physics in 2004 compared with about 6 per cent in 1990.
‘More than a quarter (from 57 to 42) of universities with significant numbers of physics undergraduates have stopped teaching the subject since 1994, while the number of home students on first-degree physics courses has decreased by more than 28 per cent. Even in the 26 elite universities with the highest ratings for research the trend in student numbers has been downwards.’
- http://www.buckingham.ac.uk/news/newsarchive2006/ceer-physics-2.html (Much more info: here.)
In the interview by John Horgan (you need to download the 206 MB file before playing because it will not stream the video), Peter Woit talks about the suppression of his efforts to counter stringy propaganda. I can add some explanation to the problem of raising awareness of the tragic consequences of string theory for physics. You see, I authored the opinion page in the October 2003 issue of Electronics World, before Peter Woit's blog started in March 2004. (Weirdly the closure of British university physics departments is now being blamed on Peter Woit by stringers: see my comments about this dispute here, here, here, and here.)
On that Electronics World page, I gave reasons why the closure of university physics departments in the UK is due to string theory. There is a ‘crimestop’ fear of asking real questions about physics by kids who don't want a sneering rebuff of the Euler sort.
‘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 (an authority) 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.’ - http://www.lewrockwell.com/hein/hein95.html
The consequence is that, instead of asking physics teachers for the evidence of string theory, kids give up physics: physics is supposed to answer questions so kids can tell that something is amiss with string hype going unopposed. So I’m glad that Professor Michio Kaku has admitted the great truth of human nature (at least in his draft article, ‘accidentally’ published on his weblog for a short time):
‘It’s a sign of the vitality of theoretical physics that people are so passionate ... Science flourishes with controversy.’
Contrast that to the referee report from the string theorist (at one time blamed on CVJ, who I admire greatly for his wonderful posts on the weblog Cosmic Variance) who stopped Not Even Wrong from being published by the academic publisher Cambridge University Press some years ago.
The mainly anonymous censors (so far only CVJ and LM have sneakily confessed - update 16 Dec 2006, CVJ has indicated that he has not read Peter Woit's book and appears to be suggesting he did not therefore review it) who stopped Not Even Wrong’s publication by Cambridge University Press, and other university presses, helped make the attack worse by opening the way for Penrose to get the book printed by Jonathan Cape and other popular publishers. So they are to blame for the damage done to string theory today.
Here in the UK the string theory crusades which have been hyped not just by Americans but also by Hawking in best selling books, have correlated supposedly by a pure coincidence, with a near 50% SLUMP in the number of students doing A-level physics (which is one vital asset required for undergraduate physics entry) since the rise of string theory in 1985.
As a result many university physics undergraduate teaching departments have had to close and staff have been laid off or had to be integrated into electronics, electrical engineering, and mathematics departments.
It is extremely sad to feel you know a cause, and to be told to shut up. People say the A-level physics decline is caused by a lack of hype of string theory (which seeing the vast sales of books by Hawking and other string theory acolytes in the UK, is ridiculous), or they blame a lack of physics teachers due to a lack of students of physics (which is a circular argument, because the lack of physics teachers is due to a lack of people studying physics, which in turn is due to the unhealthy religous type stringy hype lacking evidence etc.).
The evidence is that string theory is a real problem and so I disagree a bit with Lubos Motl's former student Jim Weatherall's statement: ‘ultimately, string theory simply isn’t very important ... there must be better things to worry about. For all the snide comparisons by string theory’s critics, at least a religion would speak to ethics and suffering.’
I've seen some suffering caused due to string theory, so if evidence of mere suffering is all that is remaining to prove string is a religion, then that's it: string is religion, and New Scientist magazine is it's sacred scroll.
New Scientist's old editor Dr Alun M. Anderson and its new editor Jeremy Webb BSc (electronics, Exeter University) a former BBC sound engineer, reject everything I have submitted which has been pro-physics, ie, string critical. See the damage they have done to the magazine and to student interest in physics by their financial expediency and bigmouth sycophancy: http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/category/2006/09/a_plea_to_save_new_scientist.html
Note: the last post on this blog - below - has now been revised and updated and posted at https://nige.wordpress.com/ which is more reliable than this blogger site. Since this site is often inaccessible due apparently to server overload, https://nige.wordpress.com/ will persist.
Update: Lambda (the CC) -> 0, when G -> 0. Gravity dynamics which predict gravitational strength and various other observable and further checkable phenomena, are consistent with the gravitational-electromagnetic unification in which there are 3 dimensions describing contractable matter (matter contracts due to its properties of gravitation and motion), and 3 expanding time dimensions (the spacetime between matter expands due to the big bang according to Hubble’s law). Lunsford has investigated this over SO(3,3):
‘…I worked out and published an idea that reproduces GR as low-order limit, but, since it is crazy enough to regard the long range forces as somehow deriving from the same source, it was blacklisted from arxiv (CERN however put it up right away without complaint). … my work has three time dimensions, and just as you say, mixes up matter and space and motion. This is not incompatible with GR, and in fact seems to give it an even firmer basis. On the level of GR, matter and physical space are decoupled the way source and radiation are in elementary EM. …’ - drl
“… the flat universe is just not decelerating, it isn’t really accelerating …”
All you need to do to make gravitational strength to fall toward zero over cosmic distances is to recognise the very plain, simple fact that any exchange of force causing gauge boson radiation between receding masses will suffer redshift related problems not seen in the QFT of nuclei and atoms.
Over short distances, any Yang-Mills quantum gravity will be unaffected because the masses aren’t receding, so exchange radiation won’t be upset. But over great distances, recession of galaxies will cause problems in QFT gravity that aren’t physically included in general relativity.
I don’t know if gauge boson’s are redshifted as or slowed down, but it’s clear between two masses receding from one another at a speed near c, the force will be weakened. That’s enough to get gravity to fade out over cosmic distances.
This means G goes to zero for cosmology sized distances, so general relativity fails and there is no need for any cosmological constant at all, CC = 0.
http://cdsweb.cern.ch/search.py?recid=688763&ln=en shows that CC = 0 if gravity and electromagnetism are unified by having three expanding time dimensions instead of one.
When you think about it, it’s obviously correct: GR deals with contractable dimensions describing matter, and one time dimension. Lunsford simply expands the time to three dimensions hence symmetry orthagonal group (3,3). The three expanding time dimensions give the cosmological recession! The Hubble expansion then becomes a velocity variation with time, not distance, so it becomes an acceleration. Newton’s laws then tell us the outward force of the big bang and the inward reaction, which have some consequences for gravity prediction.
We already talk of cosmological distances in terms of time (light years). The contractable dimensions always describe matter (rulers, measuring rods, instruments, planet earth). Empty space doesn’t contract in the expanding universe, no matter what the relative motion or gravity field strength is. Only matter’s dimensions are contractable. Empty spacetime volume expands. Hence 3 expanding dimensions, and 3 contractable dimensions replace SO(3,1). More here.