In recent years universities have taken to issuing press releases when one of their particle theorists gets a paper on some speculative topic published in a journal like Physical Review Letters. Many examples of such things, often involving bogus claims to have a “test of string theory” have been covered here.
The University of Delaware has now decided to break new ground: they’ve issued a press release promoting a 1997 paper by some of their faculty that was published in Physical Review D. I gather the argument must be that it’s timely because it’s about the multiverse and anthropics.
As a bonus topic in the “This Week’s Hype” category, there’s a new paper out yesterday promoting the idea that string inflationary models have been successfully tested by the Planck data:
We argue that as a group the predictions made before Planck agree well with what has been seen…
The authors start out by addressing the obvious problem with string cosmology:
given the complexity of these models it is worth first asking why they are worth scrutinizing in detail at all. After all, if the data is perfectly consistent with much simpler models, Occam’s razor suggests we should leave it at that.
It seems that in our new anthropic multiverse-based framework that drops conventional ideas about predictions and testability, Occam’s razor has to go too.
Update: I should have mentioned that the Delaware press release links to the article discussed here.
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