Tonight will be the premiere of a new TV series called Flashforward, based on a novel with a plot that involves the Alice detector at CERN. CERN has put up a web-site about this, to reassure people that CERN isn’t about to change time around. The web-site is along the same lines as the one they put up about Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, to reassure people that CERN wasn’t producing quantities of antimatter that could be used in a bomb.
Dan Brown has a new novel out this week, entitled The Lost Symbol. The plot evidently revolves around a researcher in “Noetic Sciences”, who is quite the expert on “What the Bleep” pseudo-science, as well as string theory. Here’s where she learns that string theory was known to the ancients:
…I want to study cutting edge THEORETICAL physics. The future of science! I really doubt Krishna or Vyasa had much to say about superstring theory and multidimensional cosmological models.”
“You’re right, they didn’t.” Her brother paused, a smile crossing his face. “If you’re talking superstring theory …” He wandered over to the bookshelf yet again. “Then you’re talking about THIS book here.” He heaved out a colossal leather-bound book and dropped it with a crash onto the desk. “Thirteenth-century translation of the original medieval Aramaic.”
“Superstring theory in the thirteenth century ?!” Katherine wasn’t buying it. “Come on!”
Superstring theory was a brand new cosmological model. Based on the most recent scientific observations, it suggested the multidimensional universe was made up not of THREE … but rather of TEN dimensions, which all interacted of vibrating strings.
Katherine waited as her brother heaved open the book, ran through the ornately printed table of contents, and then flipped to a spot near the beginning of the book. “Read this.” He pointed to a faded page of text and diagrams.
Dutifully, Katherine studied the page. The translation was old-fashioned and very hard to read, but to her utter amazement, the text and drawings clearly outlined the EXACT same universe heralded by modern superstring theory – a ten-dimensional universe of resonating strings. As she continued, she suddenly gasped and recoiled. “My God, it even describes how six of the dimensions are entangled and act as one?!” She took a frightened step backwards. “What IS this book?”
Her brother grinned. … “The complete Zohar.”
(Thanks to Greg Sivco for the transcription).
Perhaps CERN-TH may want to put up another Dan Brown web-site at CERN to reassure people that the strings in 10d stuff has nothing much to do with reality and isn’t likely to lead to whatever trouble it leads to in the novel.
For more on this, Salon has a book review entitled Dan Brown swaps pseudohistory for pseudoscience.