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Sunday, December 23, 2007

 

The problem with physics

‘I was recently talking with a colleague who was a fellow theoretical physics graduate student at Princeton University back in the early 1980s. He had been thinking about an obscure academic physics journal he would occasionally skim in the library during those years. This journal was filled with bizarre extra-dimensional models of particles and forces, esoteric ideas about cosmology, and a slew of highly speculative theorising, with little in common other than a lack of any solid evidence for a connection with reality.

“You know,” he said, “at the time I thought these things were a joke, but now when I look at mainstream physics papers, they remind me a lot of what was in that journal.”

Why is it that central parts of mainstream physics have started to take on aspects that used to characterise the outer fringes of the subject? At the very centre of the physics establishment, things have been getting more and more peculiar.’




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