Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The End of Physics

Every few decades, it seems, there is reason to start fearing that the end of physics has arrived. This might be another one of those times: From Peter Woit:

Earlier this week the Simons Center at Stony Brook hosted another big public event promoting the latest deep-thinking from theoretical physicists. On Monday Andrei Linde gave a talk on “Universe or Multiverse?”. Besides the usual pseudo-science, there were some things I hadn’t seen before. Linde argues that one should replace the “pessimist’s”:
If each part of the multiverse is so large, we will never see its other parts, so it is impossible to prove that we live in the multiverse.
withe the “optimist’s”:
If each part of the multiverse is so large, we will never see its other parts, so it is impossible to disprove that we live in the multiverse.
and goes on to argue that multiverse theory is more basic than universe theory because it is more general. At a more technical talk the next day he showed an implementation of this new way to do science, arguing for a new class of supergravity inflation models where “we can have any desirable values of ns and r”. Somehow also, the ability to get any r you want is great since “A discovery or non-discovery of tensor modes would be a crucial test for string theory and SUSY phenomenology”. I’m not sure how you reconcile measuring r as a “crucial test”, and having a theory that gives any value of r you want, but maybe I’m missing something.

Oh well.