Last week Shamit Kachru gave a colloquium at Fermilab with the title String Theory and Cosmology. The scariest part was the beginning when he noted that what he would be talking about was work due to 500-1000 theorists and he put up a couple slides listing many of them.
He spent the first part of his talk laying out the “Landscape” story, somehow neglecting to mention that it was ugly, completely unpredictive, and told us nothing at all about the properties of the world today. He then moved on to discuss branes and cosmology, not making clear that branes explain absolutely nothing about the early universe or cosmology, although they do give you a new slogan he has come up with:
“Big bang as brane damage”
There were a couple questions at the end, with no one standing up and asking if this was a bad joke or something. I’m curious if anyone from Fermilab can explain to me what a typical experimentalist’s reaction is to this kind of talk:
1. Are they impressed by this stuff and don’t realize they’ve been fed a load of pointless nonsense for an hour?
2. Are they smart enough to realize they’ve just sat through an hour of pointless nonsense, but are too polite to say anything about this at the end of the talk?
3. Are they so smart they know in advance this will be an hour of pointless nonsense, so don’t even attend, and are off somewhere else getting real work done?