String theory

Yesterday, CBC’s ‘The Current’ had a section about the discord in the theoretical physicist community regarding String Theory. There’s an excellent recording of that section right here (Scroll down for recording, or try this link [RealAudio!])

While not going too deep in the Theory itself, the program includes audiobits with opponents of the theory, Lee Smolin and Peter Woit. Smolin has a more conciliatory tone but he criticizes the group mentality of String Theory followers who according to his latest book, carry too much power over other theoretical physicists. Woit, on the other hand, has problems with the theory: he states that all scientific theories are supported by evidence and predictions that can be tested, something that (even after two decades of research) still doesn’t apply to String Theory (Woit sound fragment at 8m:55s). String theorists say, that while they haven’t been able to test their theory, evidence may come as soon as the construction of the Large Hadron Collider has finished.

In the mean time, there are some who question what happens when String Theory proves to be not so right, as Lawrence Krause says (at 22:20):

I do think we’ve lost some really good young minds that could have been trained to physics but probably never will, but I suspect that on the other hand, there are a lot of bright young string theorists, who, the minute something else comes on, will be able to jump on to it.

1.String theory (wikipedia), The String Theory website and the art behind the science of String theory.
2. What do you mean, they just did a power-up test?

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