the Darkest Hour in Particle Physics

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the Darkest Hour in Particle Physics

Postby hyksos on March 17th, 2018, 2:01 pm 

Today we learn hard lessons about life.

Sabine Hossenfelder maintains a blog called Backreaction. In a recent article, Hossenfelder has taken the gloves off and posted the most scathing, the most humbling, and the most brutally honest assessment of the current state of theoretical physics.

She shows that high-energy particle physics is in an experimental crisis. Not only that, but the theoretical side has become bewitched by what she calls multiversal math magic , which is eroding the discipline into a state of impotence.

http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-multiworse-is-coming.html
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Re: the Darkest Hour in Particle Physics

Postby DragonFly on March 17th, 2018, 6:44 pm 

The universe is not pretty and 'natural' because the Higgs boson and the CC are lightweights, by too many orders of magnitude, making the universe as fine-tuned as a multiverse variant. Apparently, most universes don't go to life.
Last edited by DragonFly on March 17th, 2018, 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the Darkest Hour in Particle Physics

Postby mitchellmckain on March 17th, 2018, 6:46 pm 

Things they expected to see but were not there is a pretty common story throughout the history of physics. Trying to explain why they are not there is what eventually leads to theoretical advances.

You must remember that a negative result in experimental science is still a result. The whole point of the scientific method is to test the hypothesis and show either that is right OR that it is wrong. Either way scientific knowledge is gained.
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Re: the Darkest Hour in Particle Physics

Postby someguy1 on March 17th, 2018, 11:25 pm 

hyksos » March 17th, 2018, 12:01 pm wrote:Sabine Hossenfelder maintains a blog ...


I've read some of her essays. Terrific writer. Thanks for posting this. I'm always up for a scathing assault on modern physics.
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Re: the Darkest Hour in Particle Physics

Postby Watson on March 18th, 2018, 9:50 pm 

Lower in the comments,


Don Lincoln said...

Hi Sabine,

I agree with you more than you'd think, given my connection to the LHC. However, I do think you overstated one point.

At the end of 2018, the LHC will have recorded a mere 3% of the intended research program. That means that there is 30x more data to come. I think you'd need to see the results of all of the data before you say that the LHC was a bust. It may be. But your claim is hasty.

Mind you, I'm not claiming that the other 97% will result in a discovery. But I'm still going to dig through it to find out.
9:28 AM, March 13, 2018
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Re: the Darkest Hour in Particle Physics

Postby Event Horizon on March 18th, 2018, 10:09 pm 

We assume multiverses to make sense of the maths, but we don't know for sure.
We assume dark matter on circumstantial, and maths again.
If dark energy exists, what does it interact with? Can we make it? How do you store it?
High energy physics produce a lot of hypothesis, but very little empirical evidence of any kind.
String theory turned out to have limited evidence - They were probably loops anyway, if they existed at all.
People should question the paradigm that these theories are valid because clever people devised them. Reality does not always conform to what we would want it to be.
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Re: the Darkest Hour in Particle Physics

Postby mitchellmckain on March 18th, 2018, 10:47 pm 

Event Horizon » March 18th, 2018, 9:09 pm wrote:We assume multiverses to make sense of the maths, but we don't know for sure.
We assume dark matter on circumstantial, and maths again.
If dark energy exists, what does it interact with? Can we make it? How do you store it?
High energy physics produce a lot of hypothesis, but very little empirical evidence of any kind.

Incorrect. There is an enormous amount of empirical evidence, but only for those things accepted as scientific facts like relativity, quantum physics and the Standard Model. But for multiverses, dark energy, string theory and even dark matter? No. In those cases (to different degrees) we do indeed have more hypothesis than evidence.

Event Horizon » March 18th, 2018, 9:09 pm wrote:String theory turned out to have limited evidence - They were probably loops anyway, if they existed at all.
People should question the paradigm that these theories are valid because clever people devised them. Reality does not always conform to what we would want it to be.

The basic methodology of science works. Of that there is no question. The problem you have here is that the non-scientist doesn't have such a good handle on the difference between scientific fact and hypothesis. When it comes to the latter, the scientists themselves will question their validity. But as for the former, it is only dilettantes and the uninformed who question their validity.

As for string theory it is still a VERY good hypothesis, but it has always been fairly obvious that something is still missing, and we don't quite have that one all correct yet. The supersymmetry question may be the key -- why no supersymmetric particles? Is there a way to get the mathematical advantages of supersymmetry without the prediction of particles which don't seem to be there?
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Re: the Darkest Hour in Particle Physics

Postby hyksos on March 19th, 2018, 6:43 am 

mitchellmckain,

I mentioned a "crisis" in the original post. On the theory side, the crisis is that physicists have been engaging in a certain approach. This approach is where you create a framework where anything is possible in a multiverse landscape. When anything is possible in a multiverse, then nothing particular is predicted for our universe. In her most cynical spot, Hossenfelder writes

The phrase “theory predicts” has become entirely meaningless.
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Re: the Darkest Hour in Particle Physics

Postby Event Horizon on March 19th, 2018, 2:13 pm 

Sorry for my earlier error..High energy physics does produce empirical evidence, I kinda lumped it in with the rest, and should not have done so.

I am not a proponent of a multiverse scenario. I think it's just a convenient way to "validate" various theories. A universe is very particular about how its physics work, and from the little I know, if gravity alone varied and our standards were not so precise the universe could not exist as is. Just by tiny amounts. To repeat this state multiple times correctly seems highly unlikely to me. It seems nothing more than a convenient construct that I think Einstein suggested. If it was Einstein, and if it was proven, it would be a spectacular discovery to make.
There is just one universe I know of, and this is it. Other universes would be unknowable, and even if they did exist they are likely unreachable and thus of little use.
Luckily I'm not a physicist and the math involved is far beyond me. It would be so interesting to know for sure.
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Re: the Darkest Hour in Particle Physics

Postby mitchellmckain on March 19th, 2018, 8:37 pm 

hyksos » March 19th, 2018, 5:43 am wrote:mitchellmckain,

I mentioned a "crisis" in the original post. On the theory side, the crisis is that physicists have been engaging in a certain approach. This approach is where you create a framework where anything is possible in a multiverse landscape. When anything is possible in a multiverse, then nothing particular is predicted for our universe. In her most cynical spot, Hossenfelder writes

The phrase “theory predicts” has become entirely meaningless.


It seems to me that she is confusing theory with hypothesis, especially if she is referring to things like dark energy, string theory, and a multiverse. Though... there is a grain of truth in this when it comes to theoretical frameworks like General Relativity and Quantum Field Theory. In those cases you need a little more than just the theoretical framework -- you need a more specific predictor within the framework like the Standard Model for QFT. But even in the slightly more difficult case of General Relativity the phrase would still be quite wrong. When it comes to Cosmology, GR mostly just gives us some analytical tools. Even so it has provided means to nail a few things down quite solidly such as the age of the universe, black holes, and stellar astrophysics.
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