24 June 2017

Scientific American: “Why String Theory is still Not Even Wrong”

Horgan: Do you still think string theory is “not even wrong”?

Woit: Yes. My book on the subject was written in 2003-4 and I think that its point of view about string theory has been vindicated by what has happened since then. Experimental results from the Large Hadron Collider show no evidence of the extra dimensions or supersymmetry that string theorists had argued for as "predictions" of string theory.  The internal problems of the theory are even more serious after another decade of research. These include the complexity, ugliness and lack of explanatory power of models designed to connect string theory with known phenomena, as well as the continuing failure to come up with a consistent formulation of the theory.

John Horgan

I am aware that my personal opinion is irrelevant in science, but I have always felt that string theory is not the right path to the grand unification theory, despite its popular support among physicists. In recent years, the theory has been more frequently criticized for the lack of experimental confirmation, as in the meantime experiments have confirmed other big theoretical predictions like the Higgs boson and gravitational waves, and none have been able to disprove aspects of general relativity so far. It’s possible string theory needs more time and more complex experiments to show confirmation – or maybe physicists should start focusing on other theories that may prove closer to reality.

Physicist Brian Greene explains superstring theory, the idea that minscule strands of energy vibrating in 11 dimensions create every particle and force in the universe.

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