Category Archives: Mathematics

Joe Lykken on “Some good/bad news about string theory”

Joe Lykken, “String Theory for Physicists,” XXXIII SLAC Summer Institute, 2005, Lecture 1 [PDF]; Lecture 2 [PDF]; and Lecture 3 [PDF]. “Some good/bad news about string theory: Good: String theory is a consistent theory of quantum gravity. Bad: It’s really a … Continue reading

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String theory and mathematical fertility

“String theory dominates the research landscape of quantum gravity physics (despite any direct experimental evidence) due to its mathematical fertility. String theory has generated many surprising, useful, and well-confirmed mathematical ‘predictions’ made on the basis of general physical principles entering into string … Continue reading

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On the nature of time in string theory

The journal Foundations of Physics commemorates “Forty Years of String Theory.” Vijay Balasubramanian (University of Pennsylvania) steps back and ask what we do not understand about time. What is time?  Within the broader quantum gravity community outside string theory there has … Continue reading

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Lisi and Weatherall in Scientific American: “A Geometric Theory of Everything”

“In 2007 physicist A. Garrett Lisi wrote the most talked about theoretical physics paper of the year. He argues that the geometric framework of modern quantum physics can be extended to incorporate Einstein’s theory, leading to a long-sought unification of … Continue reading

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Baez & Huerta in Scientific American: “The Strangest Numbers in String Theory”

  “Octonions were largely neglected since their discovery in 1843, but in the past few decades they have assumed a curious importance in string theory. And indeed, if string theory is a correct representation of the universe, they may explain why … Continue reading

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Arnold & Fowler on “Nefarious Numbers” about the impact factor manipulation

“Goodhart’s law warns us that “when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” The impact factor has moved in recent years from an obscure bibliometric indicator to become the chief quantitative measure of the quality of a journal, … Continue reading

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Kane in Physics Today, “String theory and the real world”

“String theory solutions make unambiguous, testable predictions about our four-dimensional universe. To test string theory is like to test Newton’s second law F = ma (a relation between the force F on a particle with mass m and its acceleration … Continue reading

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