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Not Even Wrong, THE BOOK

  1. Aug 23, 2005 #1

    marcus

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  3. Aug 23, 2005 #2

    marcus

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    A roger penrose blurb on the front cover that is just two words:
    "Compulsive reading"

    and a new title (revised from what appeared in the Random House online catalog):

    The Failure of String Theory and the Continuing Challenge to Unify the Laws of Physics: NOT EVEN WRONG

    Woit kicks butt.
     
  4. Aug 23, 2005 #3
    I look forward to checking it out... except that I have so much reading to do, I don't know where to fit it in.

    I must say though that "compulsive reading" is a strange blurb to have on the book. It sounds vaguely pathological.
     
  5. Aug 23, 2005 #4

    arivero

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    So the rumours of a film are true?
     
  6. Aug 23, 2005 #5

    marcus

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    dammit Alejandro, put in a smiley when you say that!
    :smile:


    sometime your deadpan (pokerface) humor will cause a dreadful confusion.
    I or someone will actually believe something you suggest like a film version of N.E.W.


    I was referring to it as Not Even Wrong, the Book
    to distinguish it from Not Even Wrong, the Blog

    nowadays we have so many media options, besides the Blog and the Book we can have...I tried to list them and it just gets worse and worse.

    Not Even Wrong, the Quiz Program
    Not Even Wrong, the DocuDrama
    Not Even Wrong, the TV Serial
    Not Even Wrong, the Musical
    official Peter Woit and Lubos Motl action toys
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2005
  7. Aug 23, 2005 #6
    when does the film come out?







    :biggrin:
     
  8. Aug 23, 2005 #7

    Kea

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    I've already printed the jacket and put it up in the corrider! :smile:
     
  9. Aug 23, 2005 #8
    Do you know who's the intended target audience? The general public, non-specialists?
     
  10. Aug 23, 2005 #9

    marcus

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    I gather the book has [EDIT: Peter says technical parts, not equations though], indicating that at least part of the intended audience would be
    OTHER physicists, not string theorists
    and also students in the sciences, particularly grad students
    like those Woit teaches at Columbia

    (he is in the Mathematics department and sometimes gets the job of teaching the graduate-level courses in Quantum Field Theory and Group Representation Theory---graduate level math courses for physics students)

    but it is complicated by the fact that the book was originally written for publication by Cambridge University Press
    (with a less provocative subtitle, more academic-sounding)

    then when he switched to a commercial publisher, they wanted him to get rid of [EDIT: the technical portions] (i.e. go for sales to the general audience)

    and he fought that and with Roger Penrose help he managed to keep the harder stuff in, but even so the commercial publisher insisted on changing the subtitle and putting in the provocative attention-getting "failure of string theory".

    So the answer is not clear-cut this or that. he wants other physicists, he wants an audience of scientists and university students, and he has not DUMBED DOWN the book, but he also wants general audience----and his publisher wants to promote the book so it will sell to general audience.

    Berislav, this is the best I can do by way of answer to your question----I don't have enough information and must be partly relying on guesswork.

    A good discussion of the background of the book, and the various changes of publisher and related decision, is at Woits blog
    see blog discussion:
    http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=245#comments
    Look at Peter's original post, at the top, there
    --------------------------
    I edited this in accordance with better information from PW in a post later on in this thread, that cleared up a misconception I had.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2005
  11. Aug 23, 2005 #10

    marcus

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    splendid girl!

    I think the book is going to be a hit on university campuses
     
  12. Aug 23, 2005 #11
    I think that this will be difficult to accomplish.

    As I gather from the title and his blog, Peter Woit wants to show that string theory can't predict anything. Demonstrating that a theory has no predictive character is much harder than showing that it is wrong. Finding a contradiction or lack of causality in a theory is relativly easy, mathematically and physically. But how does one show that it is fundamentally void of predictability? In any case, I will buy the book. I hope that prof. Woit has actually successed in his quest.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2005
  13. Aug 23, 2005 #12
    marcus,

    why are there so many arrogant remarks being exchanged between peter and lubos ?

    I find it very unproffessional, and disrespectful.
     
  14. Aug 23, 2005 #13

    marcus

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    I wish there were a scholarship fund to help scholars buy books, Berislav. The initial price is planned to be 50 USD. That is a lot for a beginning university student to spend.

    But remember what happened to the price of Penrose book. It was also expensive at first and it was promoted for sale to general public. therefore many adults bought this book to give as gift. then after about 6 months there was a big supply of the Penrose book USED. Now I think "Road to Reality" can be obtained SECOND-HAND quite inexpensively. So students can now buy it.

    BTW I didn't see Woit say that string theory can never be made predictive.
    If you find him making such extreme statements please POST A LINK!
    What I hear him objecting to mostly is that string is overemphasized in the US.
    Too much hype, too many (up til now) empty promises. He has been on the scene watching carefully for some 20 years (princeton harvard particle physics PhD, I dont remember the details) and knows a good many of the people.
    One can argue that it has been a bad investment, to concentrate resources in string, and that (at least in the US) it needs to be downsized. Physics departments need to diversify and provide more options for young researchers. If you find Peter claiming that string reseach programs should be actually eliminated, please let me know.

    I dont think he says that, or that it impossible to make a predictive stringy theory, but of course i could have missed something.
     
  15. Aug 23, 2005 #14
    but is the way they are behaving right in your opinion ?

    I constantly see arrogant remarks exchanged between them, just because they both disagree on each others theories ?
     
  16. Aug 23, 2005 #15
    Well I'm not willing to say being arrogant and disrespectful are "wrong" either. Maybe unproductive is something that can be agreed on?
     
  17. Aug 23, 2005 #16

    marcus

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    I have found Peter Woit to be, on the whole, remarkably forbearing and polite, even when viciously attacked. So it would be interesting if you would find some quotes from him which you think are arrogant or lack courtesy.

    About Lubos, what you say is not news. he has a talent for a certain kind of verbal attack. There is no need to bring in samples---everybody is familiar with it. nothing can be done. Leonard Susskind, a string theorist, tried to quarrel with Lubos and make him take some word back. But in the end Susskind was humiliated and compelled to apologize and retreat. No one wants to quarrel with Lubos because he has a very sharp tongue.

    In my personal estimation, you misrepresent things by suggesting that it is an "exchange" of arrogance, as if the discourtesy were in some sense evenly balanced. But perhaps you can change my opinion by bringing in some new evidence.
     
  18. Aug 23, 2005 #17
    It could well be unproductive if both of their respective theories turn out to be wrong.

    But I don't understand why two grown men , are acting in such an unprofessional manner.
     
  19. Aug 23, 2005 #18

    marcus

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    roger you have not given any evidence. you are accusing Peter Woit of unworthy behavior without giving any substantiation. I have to call you on this. Provide some quotes or retract your innuendo.
     
  20. Aug 23, 2005 #19
    sorry, you are correct. It was Lubos who was the one provoking him into arguments.
    But, even on this forum, I have experienced this kind of arrogant attitude from some members.

    What has Lubos done in physics by the way ?
     
  21. Aug 23, 2005 #20

    marcus

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    Roger bless you! Thank you for exonorating Peter! I have seen him terribly insulted and still keep his cool. Now and then he may get huffy but he has real oldfashioned academic courtesy standards. I am so glad you took a second look and revised your opinion.

    In the end we have only each other's good opinion, so it matters.
    And fairness matters.

    yes of course, what you say about PF is true, nobody is perfect, but PF is actually pretty civilized. compared with some other boards. it has a "nice" culture which somehow got established by the agency of the people Greg chooses for mods. Or through independent efforts of some patient and civilized people. Or whatever reason.

    the occasional lapses into rudeness are not, I think, something to worry a lot about.
     
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