Recognitions:
Gold Member

## Sociology of Physics: comment and indices

As a gauge of popular interest in string I've been recording midmonth averages of the salesranks of the current five most popular string books. The readings are normally taken at noon Pacific time or as close thereto as I can conveniently manage. In the months when I've recorded them, midmonth averages have gone like this:

Code:
Midmonth average of string topfive salesranks
(recorded at noon on several days around the 15th of each month)

January2007:     4396
February2007:    3789
November2008:    3711
July2009:        6485
March2010:       7521
April2010:      11983
May2010:         6884
June2010:        9731
July2010:        8461
August2010:      9606
September2010:   1060
October2010:     1344
November2010     2220
Starting in September 2010 we see the effect of the Hawking's Grand Design, which can be counted as string-pop because it suggests M-theory (if and when finally formulated) could turn out to be an overarching law governing a multitude of versions of physics actually realized in a "multiverse".

This month the plan is to record 5 days around the 15th.

13 Dec 2787.0
14 Dec ...
15 Dec ...
16 Dec ...
17 Dec ...

At noon 13 December the top five string books (grand, e-grand, Yau, elegant, hyperspace) ranked 98, 1628, 3617, 3975, 4617, for an average of 2787.0
================
String research publication figures for first 11 months of successive years

Harvard Abstracts, keywords M-theory, AdS/CFT, superstring, brane, compactification, heterotic.
Jan+...+October+November figures as of 13 December: 4952, 4965, 4953, 4667 (preliminary)
===============
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor Loop publication for consecutive years: 2005 40 2006 82 2007 122 2008 141 2009 147 2010 146 (as of 14 December) 2010 search: http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...=www&SEQUENCE= 13 Dec 2787.0 14 Dec 2757.2 15 Dec ... 16 Dec ... 17 Dec ... At noon 14 December the top five string books (grand, e-grand, elegant, Yau, hyperspace) ranked 108, 1353, 3065, 4201, 5059, for an average of 2757.2
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor Loop publication for consecutive years: 2005 40 2006 82 2007 122 2008 141 2009 147 2010 147 (as of 16 December) 2010 search: http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...=www&SEQUENCE= =========================== Popular market for stringy books, mid-December noon readings 13 Dec 2787.0 14 Dec 2757.2 15 Dec 2791.2 16 Dec 2692.8 17 Dec ... At noon 15 December the top five string books (grand, e-grand, elegant, Yau, parallel) ranked 113, 1711, 3475, 3844, 4813, for an average of 2791.2 At noon 16 December the top five string books (grand, e-grand, elegant, Yau, parallel) ranked 121, 1503, 2821, 3768, 5251, for an average of 2692.8 Code: Midmonth salesrank averages of string topfive (recorded at noon on several days around the 15th of each month) January2007: 4396 February2007: 3789 November2008: 3711 July2009: 6485 March2010: 7521 April2010: 11983 May2010: 6884 June2010: 9731 July2010: 8461 August2010: 9606 September2010: 1060 October2010: 1344 November2010 2220 December 2010 2700 (estim.) January 2011 .... ================ String research publication figures for successive years 2007: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1 2008: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1 2009: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1 2010: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1 Harvard Abstracts, keywords M-theory, AdS/CFT, superstring, brane, compactification, heterotic, as of 16 December: 5494, 5450, 5507, 5018 (preliminary, will increase) ===============
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor At noon 17 December the top five string books (grand, e-grand, elegant, Yau, parallel) ranked 107, 1588, 2435, 3686, 4665 for an average of 2496.2 mid-December noon readings 13 Dec 2787.0 14 Dec 2757.2 15 Dec 2791.2 16 Dec 2692.8 17 Dec 2496.2 Midmonth average: 2704.9 Code: Midmonth averages of string topfive salesranks (recorded at noon on several days around the 15th of each month) January2007: 4396 February2007: 3789 November2008: 3711 July2009: 6485 March2010: 7521 April2010: 11983 May2010: 6884 June2010: 9731 July2010: 8461 August2010: 9606 September2010: 1060 October2010: 1344 November2010 2220 December 2010 2705 January 2011 ....
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor Loop publication for consecutive years: 2005 41 2006 82 2007 122 2008 141 2009 147 2010 152 (as of 4 Jan 2011) 2010 search: http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...=www&SEQUENCE= =========================== String research publication figures for first 11 months of successive years 2007: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1 2008: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1 2009: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1 2010: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1 Harvard Abstracts, keywords M-theory, AdS/CFT, superstring, brane, compactification, heterotic. Jan+...+October+November figures as of 4 Jan 2011: 4990, 4973, 5144, 4971
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor At noon 15 January the top five string books (e-grand, hidden, grand, e-elegant, Yau) ranked 186, 186, 255, 1890, 3072 for an average of 1117.8 The mid-January average (14-16th) was 1252.2 Code: Midmonth averages of string topfive salesranks (recorded at noon on several days around the 15th of each month) January2007: 4396 February2007: 3789 November2008: 3711 July2009: 6485 March2010: 7521 April2010: 11983 May2010: 6884 June2010: 9731 July2010: 8461 August2010: 9606 September2010: 1060 October2010: 1344 November2010 2220 December 2010 2705 January 2011 1252 We are witnessing an enormous popularity of multiverse books. In September, just a few months ago, it was "The Grand Design" and now it is "The Hidden Reality", which is basically about the various different multiverse notions (as one sees by looking down the TOC). These books are not primarily string, although they invoke "landscape" (the vast variety of different versions of physics resulting from different ways of wrapping up the "extra dimensions".) Lack of determinacy in the pre-eminent theory suggests somehow that nature should actually realize each of the mathematical possibilities---separate regions governed by each theoretically possible set of laws. Lack of a principle of selection encourages belief in existence of a multiverse. Plus the idea appeals to popular imagination. ================ Loop research publication for consecutive years: 2005 41 2006 82 2007 122 2008 141 2009 147 2010 156 (as of 16 Jan 2011) 2010 search: http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...=www&SEQUENCE=
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor Loop research publication for consecutive years: 2005 41 2006 82 2007 122 2008 141 2009 147 2010 157 (as of 21 Jan 2011) 2010 search: http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...=www&SEQUENCE= String research publication figures for successive years 2007: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1 2008: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1 2009: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1 2010: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1 Harvard Abstracts, keywords M-theory, AdS/CFT, superstring, brane, compactification, heterotic: 5533, 5462, 5699, 5412 (as of 21 Jan) Spires top cited articles during some past years (with number of recent string papers making the top fifty) http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...1/annual.shtml (twelve) http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...3/annual.shtml (six) http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...5/annual.shtml (two) http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...7/annual.shtml (one) http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...9/annual.shtml (one) http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...0/annual.shtml (zero) Papers are counted as recent if they appeared during the past five years. In 2009 one of the fifty top-cited papers was recent string (recent being 2005-2009). It was number 33. In 2001 twelve of the fifty were recent string (recent being 1997-2001). Their ranks were 2,3,4,5,6,13,14,17,22,39,49, and 50.
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor Significant changes in the 2010 numbers so I will update the previous post: Loop research publication for consecutive years: 2005 41 2006 82 2007 122 2008 141 2009 147 2010 159 (as of 28 Jan 2011) 2010 search: http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...=www&SEQUENCE= String research publication figures for successive years 2007: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1 2008: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1 2009: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1 2010: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/np...=YES&version=1 Harvard Abstracts, keywords M-theory, AdS/CFT, superstring, brane, compactification, heterotic: 5534, 5462, 5704, 5542 (as of 28 Jan) Spires top cited articles during some past years (with number of recent string papers making the top fifty) http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...1/annual.shtml (twelve) http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...3/annual.shtml (six) http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...5/annual.shtml (two) http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...7/annual.shtml (one) http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...9/annual.shtml (one) http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/...0/annual.shtml (zero) Papers are counted as recent if they appeared during the past five years. In 2009 one of the fifty top-cited papers was recent string (recent being 2005-2009). It was number 33. In 2001 twelve of the fifty were recent string (recent being 1997-2001). Their ranks were 2,3,4,5,6,13,14,17,22,39,49, and 50.
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor A huge pop-multiverse book buying frenzy. At noon, Brian Greene's new book is #15 at amazon. The new Hawking hardback is #331. BG's "Hidden Reality" and SH "Grand Design" are multiverse books, not proper string books. The idea that there could be a law of the universe that instead of having a single solution has multiple solutions and that therefore there must be multiple universes. Scientists didn't use to make that jump. If they had a law or math model with adjustable parameters they would say let's adjust the constants so we get the right solution, the one that fits the data*. They wouldn't start fantasizing about there being a different universe for every possible set of parameters. At any rate I count these multiverse books as string books and have been keeping track of the average salesrank of whatever are the 5 most popular string books that day. We just have to guess the salesranks of e-books by their positions on the physics bestseller list, because amazon ranks kindle separately, so today my estimate is the noon topfive average is about 190 15, 15, 300, 300, 331 The top five were e-hidden, hidden, e-elegant, e-grand, grand *the simple model-fitting plan breaks down when your theory fails to have a tractable set of parameters to make systematic adjustments on.
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor As noted earlier the pop string topfive average is dominated by new multiverse books by Greene and Hawking. I record an average of noon salesrank readings around the middle of the month. 14 February 195 15 February 174 At noon on the 15th the five most popular string books were hidden, e-hidden, e-grand, e-elegant, grand. The electronic "kindle" books have taken over a large share of the pop physics book market.
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor The 16 February noon reading was 301. So I'll average 3 days and call it the mid-February topfive stringy salesrank average. (195+174+301)/3 = 223 Code: Midmonth averages of string topfive salesranks (recorded at noon on several days around the 15th of each month) January2007: 4396 February2007: 3789 November2008: 3711 July2009: 6485 March2010: 7521 April2010: 11983 May2010: 6884 June2010: 9731 July2010: 8461 August2010: 9606 September2010: 1060 October2010: 1344 November2010 2220 December 2010 2705 January 2011 1252 February 2011 223 We are witnessing an enormous wave of popularity of multiverse books. It started in September with "The Grand Design" and has now risen further with "The Hidden Reality". At noon on 16 Feb the five most popular string books were hidden, e-hidden, grand, e-elegant, and e-grand.
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor The storm of enthusiasm for pop multiverse books shows no signs of abating. At noon 28 Feb the top five stringy/multi books, e-hidden, hidden, e-grand, e-elegant, grand, ranked an estimated 97, 97, 247, 279, 430 for an average of 230. This is much the same as it's been all the past month, whenever I've looked. In the case of Amazon's "kindle" e-books I estimate their equivalent print-book ranks based on the separate kindle ranking provided by Amazon. To follow trends in professional research literature, I've begun using the German mirror of Stanford Spires. The Stanford homesite has become too slow, and often times out. So here is the mirror: http://www-library.desy.de/spires/hep/ So for example here is Loop research publication for consecutive years: 2005 41 2006 82 2007 122 2008 141 2009 147 2010 160 (as of 28 Feb 2011) 2010 search: http://www-library.desy.de/spires/fi...=www&SEQUENCE= http://www-library.desy.de/cgi-bin/s...=www&SEQUENCE= Keeping track of string research publication, I see no clear trend. Here are figures for four successive years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 using the Harvard Abstracts search, keywords M-theory, AdS/CFT, superstring, brane, compactification, heterotic: 5549, 5471, 5734, 5667 (as of 28 Feb)

 Quote by marcus The storm of enthusiasm for multiverse books shows no signs of abating.
What is the world coming to?

/Fredrik
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor Hah hah! Well you tell me where it's going, if you see any significance. Lacking evidence I must suppose that multi-dreams are just a temporary fad. I fear that in the long run authors like Greene and Hawking undermine the respect for science. Confusion and mistrust build up, after being taken for a ride and disappointed folks will tend to suspect subsequent popularizers of half-baked hucksterism. AFAICS the only safe path for science in the long run is avoid excesses of speculation and stick staunchly to the rigorous Empiricist tradition. Don't raise unfounded hopes or peddle fantasy to sell books. I need to keep this DESY database search link, for recent quantum cosmology papers, handy so I'll put it here for the time being: http://www-library.desy.de/cgi-bin/s...tecount%28d%29

 Quote by marcus Hah hah! Well you tell me where it's going, if you see any significance. Lacking evidence I must suppose that multi-dreams are just a temporary fad. I fear that in the long run authors like Greene and Hawking undermine the respect for science. Confusion and mistrust build up, after being taken for a ride and disappointed folks will tend to suspect subsequent popularizers of half-baked hucksterism.
I'm associating to the romantic era beeing a reaction to the enlightenment. I'm starting to think that the lack of success or reason with regards to unification and QG maybe have created this "romantic reaction" of mysterious multiverses... when reason fails what do you do? ;)

Worst case we just have to ride it out, and await the next counter reaction. But I feel the counter reaction coming already... it could be the inferencial views that is like a purification of empiricism. I see it as far away from multiverses or ensembles of universes you can come.

I'm not sure what to expect. But the romantic era laste for what was it a century? When did this multiverse stuff get started? then add 100 years... before the train is turning?

Maybe the amplitude is lower these days, but then at least overall humanity is improving.

/Fredrik