I’m rather busy these days with a move to a new apartment, but maybe there’s time for a quick edition of “This Week’s Hype”.
A commenter on the previous posting points to Amanda Peet’s recent talk entitled String Theory for the Scientifically Curious. In the question and answer section, she responds to someone who asks her to comment on Phil Anderson’s claim that string theory makes no falsifiable predictions. She describes this claim as “absolutely fundamentally completely utterly wrong” and says that Anderson should “be smacked around the head” for saying it. She then goes on to a vigorous and extensive personal attack on Lee Smolin.
Her argument that string theory really is falsifiable is that a paper by Distler and collaborators shows this and has been published. The paper she is referring to is this one, which started off as a preprint with the title Falsifying String Theory through WW scattering, but was only published after a forced change of title to “Falsifying Models of New Physics Via WW Scattering”. One reason for this is that there’s actually nothing about string theory in the paper. Evidently Peet just saw the preprint, not the published version. If you want to know more about this particular piece of hype, see blog postings here, here, and here.