This Week’s Hype

The hype campaign marches on, just three very recent examples:

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56 Responses to This Week’s Hype

  1. Somdatta Bhattacharya says:

    @Peter, I agree, the proof of the pudding etc., but in my opinion one is only being disingenuous when one dismisses it as hype at the very outset. Some tangible results are already in the offing, check out Subir’s latest paper, which is a direct offshoot of the SYK model and the SSS analysis regarding the spectral density function as pertaining to thermal correlators.
    @martibal Swampland conjectures are slowly relegating to the fringes of the field, mainly because there aren’t any concrete numbers that could be tested in experiments, so it’s something people will continue to pay lesser and lesser attention to, going forward, IMHO.

  2. martibal says:

    @Somdatta: so to your eyes this is not a problem to present “the fringes of the field” to a general audience, as the most advanced part of theoretical physics ? This is not a problem that the whole field has been, and is still in a rather active way, dishonest to colleagues, students, the scientific community and the general audience ?
    You seriously think that one should just stay silent because well informed people know that these guys are at the fringes of the field ?

  3. Somdatta Bhattacharya says:

    @martibal I don’t think he’s doing it on purpose, he sincerely believes it’s a promising direction to pursue which is why he is presenting it to a general audience with enthusiasm. But he’s a smart and resourceful person, and sooner or later the new developments will catch up on him and I believe he will pivot. Even today for instance there are more papers on black holes than anything else, and that I believe will also change, slowly at first and then all of a sudden, once people taste the blood of experiments and coming up with numbers that match them.

  4. Peter Woit says:

    Somdatta Bhattacharya,
    There’s plenty of history of ridiculous hype about strong coupling calculations already (see for instance the story of how AdS/CFT was going to be the way to understand heavy ion physics). If string theory has moved on to become just an arcane way to do certain specialized strong coupling calculations in condensed matter physics, I’ll leave it to condensed matter theorists to evaluate. Also, if that’s the case it would be a good idea to tell the public and the physics community that what they’ve been told for the last nearly forty years about string theory was a load of bullshit that string theorists no longer believe…

  5. Somdatta Bhattacharya says:

    @peter I agree, but I think the long arc of the field was what was responsible for and ultimately culminated in the goodies on offer that we see today. It was AdS-CFT that led to all this, and it in turn was preceded by and generated by the older style of doing string theory. Moreover S matrix methods that preceded string theory are returning with a vengeance and look poised to take over things like confinement and other things. So I am not sure that what preceded was entirely wasted, but I agree that it was definitely long winded.

  6. martibal says:

    A follow up on my previous comment: in the general audience talk, Vafa did not talk about string theory but made a beautiful overview of physics (as said by a friend of mine who attended). So the hype seems to have been limited to the talk for specialists (which is an attitude not exclusive to string theory :-))

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