This sort of thing seemed to be dying down (2013 required a record low number of “This Week’s Hype” postings), but 2014 is starting off with the usual promotion by physicists of nonsense about how they have “found a test for string theory”. This time the news that Scientists find a practical test for string theory comes from a group at Towson University, who are basing their claims on this paper, published here. I’m not sure where phys.org got this, but it reads like a university press release, and they credit “Provided by Towson University”.
What’s actually in the paper is a proposal for a test (and not a very good one, as far as I can tell…) of the equivalence principle. The claim is then that a violation of the equivalence principle would be evidence for string theory. I’ve written about this kind of claim before (see here), pointing out that string theorists sometimes argue that the equivalence principle is a prediction of string theory. So, string theory can be tested, and the test is even “practical”, but since the prediction is that either the equivalence principle will be violated or not, it’s pretty likely to pass the test.
Update: Another source for the press release is here.
Update: Matt Strassler weighs in, a week later:
Baloney. Hogwash. Garbage.
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