Lost in math : how beauty leads physics astray (Book, 2018) [WorldCat.org]
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Lost in math : how beauty leads physics astray

Author: Sabine Hossenfelder
Publisher: ©2018
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : First editionView all editions and formats
Summary:
Whether pondering black holes or predicting discoveries at CERN, physicists believe the best theories are beautiful, natural, and elegant, and this standard separates popular theories from disposable ones. This is why, Sabine Hossenfelder argues, we have not seen a major breakthrough in the foundations of physics for more than four decades. The belief in beauty has become so dogmatic that it now conflicts with  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Sabine Hossenfelder
ISBN: 9780465094257 0465094252
OCLC Number: 1044713590
Description: xi, 291 pages : illustrations
Contents: The hidden rules of physics --
In which I realize I don't understand physics anymore. I talk to friends and colleagues, see I'm not the only one confused, and set out to bring reason back to Earth --
What a wonderful world --
In which I read a lot of books about dead people and find that everyone likes pretty ideas but that pretty ideas sometimes work badly. On a conference I begin to worry that physicists are about to discard the scientific method --
The state of the union --
In which I sum up 10 years of education in 30 pages and chat about the glory days of particle physics --
Cracks in the foundations --
In which I meet with Nima Arkani-Hamed and do my best to accept that nature isn't natural, everything we learn is awesome, and that nobody gives a fuck what I think --
Ideal theories --
In which I search the end of science but find that the imagination of theoretical physicists is endless. I fly to Austin, I let Steven Weinberg talk at me, and realize how much we do just to avoid boredom --
The incomprehensible comprehensibility of quantum mechanics --
In which I ponder the difference between math and magic --
One to rule them all --
In which I try to find out if anyone would care about the laws of nature if they weren't beautiful. I stop by in Arizona where Frank Wilczek tells me his little theory of something, then I fly to Maui and listen to Garrett Lisi. I learn some ugly facts and count physicists --
Space, the final frontier --
In which I try to understand a string theorist and almost succeed --
The universe, all there is, and the rest --
In which I admire the many ways to explain why nobody sees the particles we invent --
Knowledge is power --
In which I conclude the world were a better place if everyone would listen to me
Responsibility: Sabine Hossenfelder

Abstract:

Whether pondering black holes or predicting discoveries at CERN, physicists believe the best theories are beautiful, natural, and elegant, and this standard separates popular theories from disposable ones. This is why, Sabine Hossenfelder argues, we have not seen a major breakthrough in the foundations of physics for more than four decades. The belief in beauty has become so dogmatic that it now conflicts with scientific objectivity: observation has been unable to confirm mindboggling theories, like supersymmetry or grand unification, invented by physicists based on aesthetic criteria. Worse, these "too good to not be true" theories are actually untestable and they have left the field in a cul-de-sac. To escape, physicists must rethink their methods. Only by embracing reality as it is can science discover the truth"

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