I think part of Sen’s joke is that since the Higgs mechanism was 1964 and the vindicating discovery was 48 years later (2012), taking the birth of string theory as the Veneziano model in 1968, we’re on track for experimental vindication of string theory next year… ]]>

50 years will then also be the lapse of time before string theory predictions could be tested, but what would be the lapse of time before the appearance of those predictions?

Happy vacations Peter.

]]>https://strings2015.icts.res.in/speakerProfile.php?sId=70

I didn’t know that every physicist should know anything about ST so I’m curious what he meant.

]]>http://www.nist.gov/itl/csd/random-number-generation.cfm

Looks like NIST has formally removed the Dual_EC_DRBG from its recommended methods for generating pseudorandom numbers.

]]>I have before me Robert L. Weber’s delightful anthology *A Random Walk in Science*, copyright 1973. On page 191, is a selection entitled “Clouds, 1900″ from Lord Kelvin: “The beauty and clearness of the dynamical theory, which asserts heat and light to be modes of motion, is at present obscured by two clouds.

I. The first involves the question, How could the earth move through an elastic solid, such as essentially is the luminiferous ether?

II. The second is the Maxwell-Boltzmann doctrine regarding the equipartition of energy.”

The citation is “Slightly condensed from *Philosophical Magazine* (6) **2** 1 (1901).” The editor adds: “Kelvin could certainly recognize the important clouds. One needed relativity, the other quantum theory, to blow it away.”

Unlike a lot of people, my criticism of string theory has never been that too much attention is paid to mathematical beauty and not enough to experimental results, and I think the physics community is making a big mistake if they decide that is the lesson of the string theory fiasco. The current explanation for how string theory works, the landscape, is something of unparalleled ugliness, which only a physicist, not a mathematician, would find appealing.

The underlying problem is the fact that there are very few hints from experiment about how to do better than the Standard Model. It just is not true that there are lots of such hints and they are not being paid attention to. It has been clear now for a long time, long before the LHC results, that string theory unification predicts nothing. The problem is a failure to acknowledge that the internal problems of the theory are deadly, instead creating a bogus pseudo-scientific connection to experiment (the landscape).

What mathematicians are expert at is understanding exactly what the properties of a mathematical framework are, what works and what doesn’t. They have a strong culture of abandoning ideas that don’t work. Working in a situation where you don’t have experimental clues, but have to rely on the coherence of the ideas and models you’re studying is exactly what they are experts at, and I think this could be helpful. I don’t see the argument that they’re going to do worse than the “physical” path that has brought us to the multiverse.

]]>Like physics, mathematics is a huge activity with a wide range of people doing a wide range of things, with many of those things having various relations to physics. I don’t see the point of debating stupid caricatures of what mathematics is, what mathematicians do, and what the relations to physics are, even if they’re coming out of the mouth of Feynman. ]]>