Still Not Even Wrong

A while back Tushna Commissariat of Physics World came to talk with me at Columbia, partly to discuss the topic of “Not Even Wrong, ten years later”, and that has now been turned into a podcast available as Still Not Even Wrong.

I’ve now forgotten what I said then, but presumably I still agree with it. This coming week I’m traveling and won’t have much time to deal with the blog, so comments from me may be few and far between.

: There’s an appreciative blog post about this here from ZapperZ.

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11 Responses to Still Not Even Wrong

  1. Shantanu says:

    Peter something OT
    Jim Gates’s colloquium at CFA

  2. Shantanu says:

    I think his punchline in answer to Giovanni Fazio’s question is “string theory still does not exist”

  3. Shantanu says:

    Peter any rumors/guesses for this year’s nobel prize?

  4. AcademicLurker says:


    Gravity wave detection? Maybe it’s too soon and they’ll wait a year or two.

  5. N. says:

    Jeez, 10 yrs…
    I read your book after Lee’s Trouble and I remember thinking, now well, this must be a conspiracy, strings rule, don’t they…
    I remember I read your book twice. And Lee’s as well.
    It was my serious intention to read it again one of these days, but it is unfortunately impossible.
    Moral of the story: do not lend good books to good friends. 🙁

  6. AcademicLurker says:

    Well that was a surprise. I remember studying the Kosterlitz–Thouless transition in grad school.

  7. CWJ says:

    Heck, I had Thouless as a professor in grad school. I always thought of him as being on the long list for the prize, but after this many years I assumed it wasn’t going to happen. Congratulations to the winners!

    (And my bet for next year is gravitational waves…)

  8. It was a long time since I thought about the KT transition. IIRC, there is a continuum of inequivalent critical points depending on the coupling constant, which is possible because the relevant CFT does not belong to the unitary discrete series but to a continuum of unitary models with c=1.

    The Wikipedia article already mentions the 2016 Nobel prize.

  9. Rob says:

    I think it was wise not to give the prize for gravitational radiation this year. I’m nervous about the reliability of the result. I don’t doubt that the experiment has done a great job. However, experimental science rests on reproducibility. Ideally this would come from other experiments. However, this is some way off. Therefore, at the least I’d like to see Advanced Ligo collect a more substantial sample of gravity wave “events” than it presently has.

  10. pie inskee says:

    Good interview…your voice/manner is very much as suggested by your blog/mission.
    May I ask a question. I ‘feel’ like things are going your way. This last year or so seems to have seen significant rise in hard criticism of Strings. The question is whether you concur with this perception.

  11. Peter Woit says:

    pie inskee,

    The lack of any evidence for supersymmetry over the past year or so, given that the LHC is now running at nearly full energy, I think removes the last hope for some sort of experimental vindication of the ideas behind string theory as a unified theory. This may have an effect, I’m not sure that I’ve seen much of a change recently. I do think though there has been a big change over the last ten years, as string theorists themselves have given up on the idea of getting predictions out of the theory. The embrace of the multiverse as an excuse is a move that doesn’t convince most people.

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