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MDT = Crackpottery?

  1. Jan 22, 2010 #1
    I was reading the reviews on Amazon.com of Sean Carroll's new book, From Eternity to Here, & was curious about one. All were laudatory except for 2, one of them by a failed Czech physicist that can safely be ignored. The worst one was by somebody calling himself "Ranger McCoy" & he raved on & on about something called Moving Dimension Theory (MDT). I Googled this & didn't find much, but most (all?) of the material I DID find seemed to be by the same person using different names, such as the one above, somebody calling himself Elmo McGucken or the like & maybe a couple of others. They all seemed to be saying the same thing over & over. I'm not a physicist so my question is: "Is MDT a crackpot theory & can it safely be ignored?" Thank you.

    -Yokanise
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 22, 2010 #2

    Physics Monkey

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    Hi Yokanise,

    You can most definitely safely ignore it.
     
  4. Jan 22, 2010 #3
    Thank you. That was my thinking, actually, but it's good to hear it from an expert. It was Sean Carroll's home page where I got the listing of this very site for asking questions such as this because he doesn't have the time to answer them himself.

    -Yokanise
     
  5. Jan 23, 2010 #4

    :smile:
     
  6. Jan 23, 2010 #5
    Yeah, that was the OTHER bad review. :devil: The guy's name is Lubos Motl. I discovered how he flamed out & ran away to the Czech Republic.

    -Yokanise
     
  7. Jan 23, 2010 #6

    arivero

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    About physics crackpots, it is better not to put a lot of time on them, and also it is better to ignore them if your own physics is still weak. At a later stage, it can be of some marginal use to look at them. Most of them, you spot common errors. Some, once every ten years, are close to a model. Probably tony smith, to put a famous "banned from arxiv", has been nearest of a correct GUT than most string theorists.
     
  8. Jan 24, 2010 #7
    Sounds like good advice. I am not & have never been a physicist, altho at one time many long yrs. ago I had hopes of becoming one, but it didn't work out & I became something else but I still like to keep up on the popular side, so to speak, with cosmology in particular.

    -Yokanise
     
  9. Jan 25, 2010 #8

    tom.stoer

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    His blog is still alive, but he hasn't published (arxiv) since 2006. Does anybody know why?
     
  10. Jan 25, 2010 #9
    Non sequitur.

    Lubos is most certainly a failed physicist - his professional academic career was even shorter than mine. However, he is still knowledgable about physics, and his opinion about Carroll's book may very well be correct. I would not be surprised if that is the case.

    Then again, criticising other's work is one thing, to make something worthwhile yourself another, and much harder. The only safe way to avoid making stupid mistakes is to never try to do anything original.
     
  11. Jan 25, 2010 #10

    MTd2

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    Actually, LM agrees with Peter Woit regarding Carroll's new book...
     
  12. Jan 28, 2010 #11
    OK, so now I need to find out who this Peter Woit character is ...

    -Y
     
  13. Jan 28, 2010 #12

    tom.stoer

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    google "not even wrong" +woit
     
  14. Jan 29, 2010 #13
    I did & discovered that he's some kind of anti-String Theory fanatic. (The MDT nutball Ranger McCoy seems to like him. That doesn't bode well ... <g>) Woit along with some other anti-String theorist named Lee Smolin. I read the Polchinski review of both their books & tried checking out the follow-up on Cosmic Variance, but there was too much material & much of it was highly technical in any case. Wikipedia mentioned that the books garnered almost universal negative reviews from physicists so it looks like they can both be safely ignored.
     
  15. Jan 30, 2010 #14

    tom.stoer

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    Lee Smolin is a top physicist; he contributed to the development of loop quantum gravity and for some time he participated in string theory research. You may look for his papers in peer reviewed journals as well as online in arxiv. I recommend http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0303185" [Broken]. I would not call Woit fanatic; he is certainly unbiased simply because there is no other theory he wants to promote.

    In essence both books are claiming that string theory fails to be a viable theory because it neither is well-defined (in terms of fundamental equations) nor does it make experimentally testable predictions; in addition all predictions we have today disagree with the physical world.

    In addition I recommend http://strings2009.roma2.infn.it/talks/Gross_Strings09.pdf" [Broken]. Gross (nobel prize 2004) formulated heterotic string theory and contributed over decodes to string theory research; he is definitly a string guy, but nevertheless he takes these problems seriously!

    My conclusion is that both Woit and Smolin simply published ideas that are shared by a rather large group of physicists (Feynman and others had this feeling already in the eightees!) Of course string theorists never liked this, but they should better accept fundamental difficulties instead of ignoring blind spots. Anyway, focus in string theory shifted over the years. I do not know if this is a direct reaction to Woit and Smolin, but nevertheless there is more interest in low-energy physics phenomenology like F-theory etc.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  16. Jan 30, 2010 #15
    I HAVE seen these views expressed elsewhere altho at the same time I understand that string theory unites relativity & quantum mechanics, which is supposed to be one of its strongest selling points.

    OK, I'll check it out. Right now I'm watching a cosmology lecture by Leonard Susskind given at Stanford last year.

    Interesting. Speaking of Feynman, I just finished reading Michio Kaku's Parallel Worlds & in it he described how he came up with one of the basic equations for string theory & that he gave a lecture on it with Feynman in the audience. After the lecture Feynman came up to him & said something to the effect that he wasn't sure if he agreed with all the string theory material but that it was one of the most beautiful lectures he'd ever heard.


    OK, now I'll have to Google F-theory & find out what it is. (No relation to M-theory, is it? <g>)

    -Y
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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