Last Wednesday night, a paper appeared on the arXiv that spelled very bad news for the whole “Landscape” scenario of how to get physics out of string theory. This paper produced what appears to be an infinite number of possible vacuum states for string theory, ruining hopes for getting predictions out of the Landscape by doing a statistical analysis of vacuum states.
Tonight a new paper by a prominent Landscapeologist (Michael Dine) has appeared. The abstract gives no hint of trouble, claiming evidence of “distinctive predictions for the structure of soft breakings”, but the beginning and the end of the paper tell a different story. The second paragraph of the paper admits that the infinite number of states destroys this research program, but deals with this by saying that the author will just ignore the problem for now:
“If this (infinite number of states) is true, many of the ideas discussed in this paper will have to be reconsidered…. the discussion of this paper will be predicated on the assumption that the number of relevant states in the landscape is finite and naive statistical ideas can be applied.”
In the paper’s conclusion, Dine states:
“There are many ways, as we have indicated, in which the ideas described here might fail. Perhaps the most dramatic is that the landscape may not exist, or alternatively that there might exist infinite numbers of states, whose existence might require signficant rethinking of our basic understanding of string theory and what it might have to do with nature.”
I’m looking forward to Dine and others finally getting around to “rethinking what string theory might have to do with nature”. It’s about time.