from the theory-of-nothing dept.
vk38 writes, "The New Yorker is running a story on whether String Theory is really a scientific theory or just an abstract exercise in math designed to churn out papers and Ph.Ds for the established academics. The article reviews two current books, by Lee Smolin and Peter Woit, laying out the case against string theory."
From the article: "Dozens of string-theory conferences have been held, hundreds of new Ph.D.s have been minted, and thousands of papers have been written. Yet... not a single new testable prediction has been made, not a single theoretical puzzle has been solved. In fact, there is no theory so far — just a set of hunches and calculations suggesting that a theory might exist. And, even if it does, this theory will come in such a bewildering number of versions that it will be of no practical use: a Theory of Nothing... String theory has always had a few vocal skeptics... Sheldon Glashow, who won a Nobel Prize for making one of the last great advances in physics before the beginning of the string-theory era, has likened string theory to a 'new version of medieval theology,' and campaigned to keep string theorists out of his own department at Harvard. (He failed.)"
"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?"
-- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)