Video from last weekend’s Fundamental Physics Prize scientific meeting at Stanford is now available, in unedited form, here.
The first video there is a discussion moderated by Yuri Milner, who does a good job of asking Strominger, Polchinski, Green, Schwarz and Vafa questions, although getting pretty much exactly what you’d expect out of them (the hot topic is firewalls).
After skimming through the rest of several hours of video, what struck me is that Milner has managed to all by himself implement the bubble-universe picture of reality that has been propounded at Stanford for many years by Linde, Susskind and others. By smashing tens of millions of dollars into a small target (some prominent academics), he has created a new bubble-universe, with new laws of physics and a new conception of science. In this particular bubble-universe, problems with string theory unification have magically vanished and don’t need to be mentioned. Whether a scientific theory can predict anything or not is irrelevant, since you just know what has to be true (the idea with the big money attached to it). The embarrassing fact of no SUSY at the LHC does get fleeting mention, but John Schwarz assures everyone that in his view, there is no question that superpartners exist, whether or not the LHC ever sees them. The multiverse is seen as the answer to all problems, although Cumrun Vafa does warn that maybe one should also look for other answers. Polyakov says that he has nothing against this kind of “Anthropology”, except that it is very boring. That’s an accurate characterization of the science of the new bubble-universe at Stanford.
Most remarkable is the last video, where things truly become causally disconnected from the universe outside Stanford. After a long introduction from Susskind, Michael Green takes the stage with a talk recapitulating the entire history of science, with string theory the successful culmination of this history. He and Schwarz then settle in to accept congratulations from the audience for their great discovery that has made the bubble-universe possible.