One Ring to Rule Them All

This week in Sweden the Nobel Foundation is running a symposium on LHC results. It’s invitation only, but the slides of the talks are available here.

One of the scheduled talks today was about string theory, and I was wondering how that would fit into the “LHC results” framework since string theory has nothing to say on the topic. Now that the slides are available I don’t see anything about the LHC, but there are some remarkable revelations. The first is that string theory is not science but “Magic”, with several slides describing the “Magic of String Theory”. The relationship to mathematics is that in string theory “No concept in Math remains unambiguous”, which I guess is about what you would expect when you’re dealing with magic.

An even bigger revelation comes later in the talk: string theory is Sauron’s Ring of Power! It is described as “Concentrated Power” and it seems that the markings on the ring are a SUSY Lagrangian. Part of the Ring Poem is quoted

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

To put this back in context, recall that this is Sauron’s ring he created in order to control everything from Mordor. Here’s more of the poem, including the original language

Ash tug Shakhbûrz-ûr Ulîma-tab-ishi za,
Uzg-Mordor-ishi amal fauthut burgûli.
Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul
Uzg-Mordor-ishi amal fauthut burgûli.

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

This interpretation of string theory as Sauron’s ring I suppose could explain a lot…

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24 Responses to One Ring to Rule Them All

  1. rings says:

    “… I was wondering how that would fit into the “LHC results” framework since string theory has nothing to say on the topic.” IIRC, the Higgs boson results were announced at Lepton-Photon at Melbourne, despite the Higgs boson being neither a lepton nor a photon nor even a gauge boson. Methinks the L-P conference organizers polluted the purity of essence of the bodily fluids of the attendees by allowing such talks.

    Would you prefer the Ring of the Nibelung? At the end of it all, Brunnhilde rides into Siegfried’s funeral pyre and burns the whole world down. Note that Brunnhilde doesn’t ask her horse if he wishes to join in the immolation. It’s my guess that ST theorists won’t ask your opinion if ST burns all of theoretical physics to an end.

    There were many talks, with slides for most of them (not fot John Ellis at the end). ST was one of many talks, in the session on BSM physics. (Note that Lepton-Photon has talks on supersymmetry, although SUSY is neither leptons nor photons.) I had a look at the slides on “Future Accelerators”. It contained the standard blurb, but one could hardly expect anything else. There was a nice slide at the end though:

    I have a Dream
    E = mc^2
    Extended Multiprobe Collider Complex

    I admit I had to read it twice to catch on. I thought it was clever.

    So there were many talks. ST was but one of many. Nothing really new, but the Future Accelerators talk, which was very down to Earth, also had nothing really new. One could hardly expect anything else.

  2. Hack says:

    Lol! Yes Peter we all know how the ring corrupts any one that posses it, perhaps working on string theory for a time has a similar affect on particle physicists. Hobbits were especially resistant to Sauron’s ring, perhaps we need more Hobbits in Particle physics….

  3. PeterPetersonSenior says:

    Thank you for the commentary and the link. A have got a lot of laughs, mostly kindergarten stuff, I am would be curious to hear the talk, and the audience reaction.

    My favorites (in addition to one’s you covered, so I will not repeat):
    1. It is always funny how the black hole is always trumped, ST success and mystery. The accumulated mass determines the horizon radius, entropy and gravity gradient should dictate the radiation. I could not be more ambivalent about information fate in black hole – on current level of theory it is unprovable either way. – Not so much funny, I am just curious what was said along with this slide.
    2. “Singularities are a reflection of a breakdown of an approximation.” – makes sense, so it follows: “Gravity has magic cloaks to hide its secrets” – Ha-ha-ha.
    3. The best laugh: “One Equation? Infinite number of solutions!!”
    4. “Algebra, matrices and representations to replace geometry ?” (last page) – I think this is what gets us in trouble in the first place, see 3.

    And pages 68 and 69 – partial admission of realization that there is no way out of this paper bag.

  4. Bernhard says:

    So, is Witten Sauron’s human form?

  5. SpearMarktheSecond says:

    Creme de la creme of the 50ish experimental community, IMO. Alex Read, Kevin Einsweiler, Valerie Gibson, Andy Parker, Rene Ong… Nima’s talk looks a bit odd…. bifurcatory moment?

  6. Peter Woit says:


    The Arkani-Hamed talk was basically the same as the colloquium he gave at Columbia a couple weeks ago. My take on that is here


    I don’t know about that, but based on my years living there, I always suspected Princeton might be Mordor…

  7. CIP says:

    I thought that the LHC was the ring to rule them all.

  8. srp says:

    When I read the title of the post and the first paragraph I thought the reference would be to the LHC particle ring. Now that it’s the “only game in town” the LHC really does “rule them all.”

  9. Maciej says:

    Yep, Witten (or Maldacena) is the Dark Lord and Princeton must be Mordor.
    Peter, you have managed to mentally resist the shadows in their nest!

    More seriously, in the slides Rabinovici argues why 1=3 and at the same time 4=10. This follows from magic of ST because strings are extended.

    Damn, their proofs get more and more sophisticated!

  10. SpearMarktheSecond says:

    Thanks Peter. Nima makes me appreciate Dirac’s communication skills.

  11. M says:

    The problem is not the Sauron ring quote, but the rest of the talk. String theory has nothing to say about physics.

  12. chris says:

    it seems strange to me to cite one ring ruling all on an LHC meeting and letting this ring be anything other than the LHC – but taste does not seem to be one of the fortes of Rabinovici (see slide 35).

  13. Erestarchos says:

    So, the Sauron’s ring should be destructed. And we should hope this will destruct Sauron too and all his minions. ;-)

  14. destruct says:

    Be careful what you wish for. Destroying things is a two edged sword. Destroying ‘Sauron’s Ring’ will do more than just destroy ST. When the SSC was ‘destroyed’ the solid staters expected that this would “free up much needed funds” for condensed matter research. But the ‘pot of money’ did not flow to them. Quite the reverse, funding for physics was cut across the board. Destroying ST will likely destroy your own funding.

  15. Shantanu says:

    Peter, FYI another conference at KITP with talks on supersymmetry etc
    Would be interested to hear your views on some of these talks

  16. Anonyrat says:

    Yes, as destruct pointed out, be careful of what you wish for. The destruction of the One Ring meant that the Elven rings – Narya, Nenya and Vilya – faded in power and the diminished Elves moved out of Middle Earth. This could be a metaphor for physics as well.

  17. TD says:

    Ask yourself this question: If I were asked to spend MY hard-earned money on a failed speculative theory (ST), would I? That is the fiduciary standard. Taxpayers’ money is usually treated as “free” money, but it isn’t.

  18. Pingback: Black Hole Revisited « Log24

  19. Kalyan says:

    Human’s are so creative, even if I tried, I couldn’t make up something so bizarre, but here it is as trying to be accepted reality using Sauron’s one ring. Beyond astounding!

  20. MathPhys says:

    What ST conferences badly need is an anthem. Something along the lines of ‘Rule Britannia’ in Conservative party meetings.

  21. anthem says:

    Why is that any different from many other physics groups?

  22. MathPhys says:

    I am not aware of any other group of physicists with a comparably ideological attachment to a theoretical idea in spite of their total failure to find a shred of experimental evidence for it.

  23. Tmark48 says:

    @ MathPhys : Maybe not a group of physicists, but history has shown time and time again that single physicists (even/especially famous ones) tend to cling to their ideas even in face of failure. Hence the motto, science advances one funeral at a time.

  24. Mehmet Efendi says:

    Not related but since this is not a serious post I may as well attract your attention to : Hard evidence for the multiverse has been found, article in the Daily Mail.