Who are you to criticize string theory? Aren’t you just an embittered failure?

Actually, professionally I’m happy as a clam. I live in one of my favorite places in the world, and am well-paid to work at a great university with wonderful colleagues who I continually learn from. I also learn a lot from teaching here. Anyone who thinks I’m embittered about anything is someone who doesn’t know me. All in all, life has been extremely kind to me in many ways, far more than I deserve, starting with an excellent choice of parents.

My background includes a Ph.D. in particle theory from Princeton, and many years working in mathematics departments. String theory is a highly technical subject, but my mathematics background makes that aspect of the subject not so impenetrable. It is true that some aspects of string theory are highly complex, with the state of research quite a murky business where only a few true experts can tell you exactly what is going on. Over the past more than ten years of internet discussions one way I have learned things is by arguing about them with those much more expert than me. I’ve found that if I get something wrong, I quickly am informed about this and set straight. On the other hand, if I point out a problem with string theory and get in return a heap of personal abuse rather than an explanation of my mistake, that has also been highly informative.

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