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String Forecast Poll

  1. Like the good old days: 11 or more

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Happiness returns: 10

    6.7%
  3. Bit more than last year: 9

    6.7%
  4. Same as last year: 8

    13.3%
  5. Bit less than last year: 7

    13.3%
  6. Bad news, slump continues: 6

    20.0%
  7. Yikes!: 5 or less

    40.0%
  1. Jul 10, 2005 #1

    marcus

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    ellipse raised this issue of "string deadend?" or where is string research going. like, is it currently in a slump but will pick up later? or is it going down the tubes, or what?

    so if you want to, let's put down what we forecast for 2005 and then later, probably early next year when the results are in, we can check who guessed closest.

    In 2000 there were 21 recent string papers that got 100+ citations.
    The list is here
    http://www.slac.stanford.edu/library/topcites/top40.2000.shtml
    By recent, I mean published any time in the previous 5 years (1996 through 2000).

    In 2004 there were 8 recent string papers that got 100+ citations,
    the list is here
    http://www.slac.stanford.edu/library/topcites/2004/annual.shtml
    and recent means the previous 5 years (2000 through 2004).

    Citations (how many times other scholarly papers cite a given paper in their references) is a pragmatic indicator of how interesting or important or influential research is. research that other scholars think is important tends to get cited a lot. The citation count is not a perfect index but it is used a lot. That is why Stanford/SLAC library tabulates it.

    The drop in string citations between 2000 and 2004 is more marked if you look at the really highly cited papers, that get 125+. Then you see there were 16 recent such string papers in 2000 and only FOUR in 2004. But just for definiteness let's forecast the number of papers that get 100+ citations---there were 8 of them in 2004.

    And one can minimize the importance of this, or explain it away in various ways, or say that it is just a temporary slump, or doesnt mean anything. That is all fine, but anyway it is a change in a number which happened, and we can ask WHAT WILL THAT NUMBER BE IN 2005?
    Let's see what different forecasts we make and check later to see who got closest.

    How many recent string papers will get 100+ citations in 2005?

    Like the glory days: 11 or more
    Happiness returns: 10
    Bit more than last year: 9
    Same as last year: 8
    Bit less than last year: 7
    Bad news, slump continues: 6
    Yikes!: 5 or less

    If you would like to, or if I goof and the poll mechanism doesnt register who guessed what, please post your guess and I will keep track.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 10, 2005 #2

    marcus

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    that was quick! Thank you Igor_S!
    Now at least it is a horserace between us two. :smile:

    [EDIT, later]Oh no!, selfAdjoint is pessimistically predicting 6!

    Our forecasts, so far, as follows.

    How many recent string papers will get 100+ citations in 2005?

    marcus: Same as last year, 8
    Igor_S: One less than last year, 7
    selfAdjoint: Slump continues, 6
    ============

    [EDIT, still later]

    Meteor has joined us in forecasting string citations for the current year. Here is an update on who predicts what:

    Meteor: One better than last year, 9
    marcus: Same as last year, 8
    Igor_S: One less than last year, 7
    selfAdjoint: Slump continues, 6
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2005
  4. Jul 11, 2005 #3
    Hi Marcus,

    Fun for the whole family!

    I'm guessing 5-6 papers from 2001-2005 with >100 citations, and I'll even tell you which ones they'll be, roughly in order. I voted already and put 5 in my vote, but had forgotten about one. But leave my vote at 5, I think the last two on this list will be close to 100 citations and one of them may not make it.

    KKLT hep-th/0301240
    Berenstein et. al. on PP-waves hep-th/0202021
    Giddings et. al on Flux compactifications hep-th/0105097
    Kachru et. al. on inflation and string theory hep-th/0308055
    Douglas, Nekrasov on Non-commutative field theory hep-th/0106048
    Witten on strings on twistor space hep-th/0312171

    Peter
     
  5. Jul 11, 2005 #4
    Put me down for exactly 4, with a suprise of NO Ed Witten paper!

    This will surely be the tolling of the "division bell" :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2005
  6. Jul 11, 2005 #5

    marcus

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    Here is an update on who predicts what:

    Meteor: One better than last year, 9
    marcus: Same as last year, 8
    Igor_S: One less than last year, 7
    selfAdjoint: Slump continues, 6
    Peter Woit (notevenwrong): Yikes! 5
    Spin_Network: More yikes! 4
     
  7. Jul 11, 2005 #6

    marcus

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    for those who haven't met "notevenwrong" yet, here is his blog:
    http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/blog/

    selfAdjoint first told me about Peter's blog, I think he started a thread about it, or flagged it in the link-basket thread. the name of Peter's blog is a quote from Wolfgang Pauli who said contemptuously of some proposed theory that it was "so bad it is not even wrong!"

    Peter is going further here than just guessing how many recent string papers will be highly cited this year. He is actually going on record predicting WHICH PAPERS THEY WILL BE! He lists 6 that might make the 100+ citations mark.


    KKLT http://arxiv.org/hep-th/0301240
    Berenstein et. al. on PP-waves http://arxiv.org/hep-th/0202021
    Giddings et. al on Flux compactifications http://arxiv.org/hep-th/0105097
    Kachru et. al. on inflation and string theory http://arxiv.org/hep-th/0308055
    Douglas, Nekrasov on Non-commutative field theory http://arxiv.org/hep-th/0106048
    Witten on strings on twistor space http://arxiv.org/hep-th/0312171

    If all 6 get 100+ citations, and they are the only ones, then it is Bingo for selfAdjoint.
     
  8. Jul 11, 2005 #7

    marcus

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    Peter has posted a link to slides from the talks given at this week's String 05 conference in Toronto

    http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/audio/05-06/#strings

    not a bad way to see what's happening in the various lands of string

    here's the list of scheduled speakers and the titles of their talks
    http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/programs/scientific/04-05/string-theory/strings2005/speakers.html

    more talks' audio and slides will presumably become available later, for now media for only a couple of talks are online
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2005
  9. Jul 11, 2005 #8

    Gokul43201

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    Hello again, Mar

    I'll say about 5-ish.
     
  10. Jul 11, 2005 #9

    marcus

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    Hi Gokul, thanks for contributing a prediction!

    Meteor: One better than last year, 9
    marcus: Same as last year, 8
    Igor_S: One less than last year, 7
    selfAdjoint: Slump continues, 6
    Peter Woit (notevenwrong): Yikes! 5
    Gokul: 5-ish
    Spin_Network: More yikes! 4
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2005
  11. Jul 11, 2005 #10

    marcus

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    it's my impression that the seven who have so-far ventured to take a guess here could carry on a lively and convivial conversation, on lots of topics, not just string theory, were they to meet. A pleasure to be of your company, gentlemen.

    we seem to have the bases pretty well covered here. does anyone have anything ELSE they'd like to see predicted?---but please if you do, let it have a nice numerical index that we can find online somewhere without having to do research on research to find it out!
     
  12. Jul 12, 2005 #11

    Chronos

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    Being bold by nature, I predict non-TOE QG papers will out-cite string papers in 2006.
     
  13. Jul 12, 2005 #12

    marcus

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    it's a thought, but you may have accidentally typed 2006 when you meant 3006 :wink:

    there are roughly 10 times more string theorists, and citations tend to be within research communities or fields (the definitions might start getting circular, a research community is a group of scholars who cite each other...)

    so gross citation numbers reflect the size of the field, the number of researchers already in it, and comparisons between fields ....well you get the idea.

    the better string papers, even in a bad year, will be apt to garner roughly 10 times more citations than their non-string QG counterparts. order of magnitude. at least that's been true in the past.

    If there are any more interesting indices for us to look at (and maybe we've done all that's worthwhile, but if there are) then they would probably be about changes over time within some field. not cross-field comparisons, anyway that's my thought on it

    Chronos, I've been listing the numbers people guess and i am interested what number you would predict ("5 or less" is a range not a number). Would you care to pick a favorite?
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2005
  14. Jul 12, 2005 #13

    marcus

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    I was going to ask selfAdjoint or Gokul to close the poll, but decided not to.
    We might still get interesting stuff in this thread,
    so I deleted my request
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2005
  15. Jul 12, 2005 #14

    selfAdjoint

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    Basically I put 6 because reading the blogs of Distler, Motl, etc. I got the feeling this is not a year of deep productive papers in SST, but a year of clever technical approaches "way up the abstraction tree" as Korzybski would have said. Such papers don't get 100 cites. It doesn't prove SST is dead, just that it's in one of its periodic doldrums.
     
  16. Jul 12, 2005 #15

    marcus

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    Hi selfAdjoint, I put 8, for 2005, because that's the same as last year and i don't sense any big difference. But i think I understand your reasoning and I think 6 is a sensible forecast. In any case you might just turn out to have picked the winning number! by whatever process of guesstimation and hunchery. I see that Peter identified 6 candidates he thought might possibly break the 100 mark.
     
  17. Jul 14, 2005 #16

    marcus

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    The last time I updated the list of forecasts it was

    Now there are 10 people in the poll and our predictions are

    How many recent string papers will get 100+ citations in 2005?

    One better than last year, 9: Meteor
    Same as last year, 8: Locrian and I
    One less than last year, 7: Igor_S
    Slump continues, 6: selfAdjoint
    Yikes! 5: Peter Woit, Ohwilleke, Chronos
    5-ish: Gokul
    More yikes! 4: Spin_Network

    I suppose the most noticeable thing about the predicitions, whether they are 9 or 4 or in between, is the difference from past years. for instance in the year 2000 the number was 21, more than twice our high estimate for 2005.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2005
  18. Jul 14, 2005 #17

    marcus

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    Peter Woit has offered a list of 6 recent (publ. 2001-2005) papers which he thinks might reach the 100 citations mark this year.
    Has anyone checked to see how many citations each of these papers *already has* accumulated this year? I have not. It would not be hard, I think---just take a few minutes using arxiv or the SLAC/Stanford search.

    I think Peter said he would have intended to guess 6, and merely by oversight said 5 (but didnt want me to correct his guess).

    Here is his list:

    KKLT http://arxiv.org/hep-th/0301240
    Berenstein et. al. on PP-waves http://arxiv.org/hep-th/0202021
    Giddings et. al on Flux compactifications http://arxiv.org/hep-th/0105097
    Kachru et. al. on inflation and string theory http://arxiv.org/hep-th/0308055
    Douglas, Nekrasov on Non-commutative field theory http://arxiv.org/hep-th/0106048
    Witten on strings on twistor space http://arxiv.org/hep-th/0312171

    KKLT is the January 2003 paper which is the immediate cause of the present turmoil and agony in string research-----KKLT gave researchers the "Landscape" of 10100 possible groundstates for the theory, or vacuum states, as they are called. Some big number of possible versions of physics, with an apparent inability to select out and predict one distinct version (so one might test to see if the prediction is wrong or right). So it would not be too surprising for the KKLT paper to be cited a lot, like the stone in the shoe.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2005
  19. Jul 14, 2005 #18

    marcus

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    Lubos encouraging homily---don't give up, string is the way.

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2005/07/next-revolution.html

    these are dark days when PhD students are questioning what they should really be writing their theses about. there was a panel discussion at String 05 about the present state and prospects of the string research program and some expression of discouragement and doubts got on Distler's blog afterwards.

    Lubos has responded with a longish blog which says basically not to be downhearted, string is the way, don't give up the ship.
    he comes across as quite likeable in this one, although he rakes Jacques Distler over the coals about something, with his accustomed relish.

    =========some related links===========
    Here is the online poster for the panel discussion, which was hopefully titled "The Next Superstring Revolution".
    http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/programs/scientific/04-05/string-theory/strings2005/panel.html

    After hearing the discussion a PhD student named Florian Gmeiner wrote that he was quite depressed. Another PhD student Marty Tysanner was critical of Distler for not reporting his sense of the panel discussion because it might be relevant to people choosing a research area to work in.

    Here is Florian's post on a string blog kept by J. Distler
    http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/~distler/blog/archives/000593.html#c002467

    Here is Marty's post
    http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/~distler/blog/archives/000593.html#c002483

    Here is the conversation so far:

    Florian: "Hi, it’s a pity that you don’t comment on the panel discussion.
    Being a phd student I feel quite depressed after having listened to it."

    Distler's reply: "My best suggestion is to ignore such silly exercises and get on with the business of doing physics."

    Marty: "I too am a phd student (starting second year), interested in high energy theory, and am puzzled by your advice to “ignore such silly exercises and get on with the business of doing physics.” I didn’t attend the conference, but have the impression that the panel discussion was relevant to making an informed decision about risks of studying string theory. If that is correct, wouldn’t it be better to lay the cards on the table and discuss it openly so that students have the best available information to make an intelligent decision about their future? To be silent about possible big problems or act as though they don’t exist in the interest of “just doing physics” seems more appropriate to participation in a belief system than doing good science. There seems to be a lot of poorly informed opinion on the subject; let’s hear about it from an informed source!"

    Jacques Distler then replied to Marty as follows:

    "The topic of the Panel discussion was “The Next String Revolution.” If you think that a bunch of people prognosticating about future “revolutions” in their field is of the slightest relevance to anything, then I have a bridge you might be interested in buying …

    '… making an informed decision about risks of studying string theory.'

    A formulation of the question that only a reader of Peter Woit’s blog would come up with.

    Lookit, if you’re trying to decide what to work on, you want to see what progress people are making in the field now, not what progress they think they will be making 10 years from now.

    Lots of interesting talks at this conference (I wish I had the energy to blog about more than a handful). Lots of interesting things going on in the field. I don’t get the sense that people feel “stuck,” or are thrashing about for stuff to do.

    As a graduate student, you need to find something to work on now, not 10 years from now. So these prognostications — even if they were accurate, which they surely are not — are irrelevant to you.

    The other thing you need to do as a graduate student is get trained as broadly as possible. I didn’t mention the survey talks on LHC physics (Friday) and Cosmology (Monday), but there is real data coming in and much more to start coming soon to our field; you need to be prepared to think about it.

    The most intelligent thing said at the panel discussion was when Martin Rocek (in a question from the audience) suggested that people should be thinking about neutrino masses. They’re being observed now, and they’re a window into very high energy (M new?10 15 GeV) physics.

    I, personally, would much rather think about that, rather than about when the next Revolution is coming."

    Parallel stuff on Peter Woit's blog:

    http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/blog/archives/000218.html
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2005
  20. Jul 21, 2005 #19

    marcus

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    Sean Carroll new blog: "string is the most promising"

    Sean Carroll a blogger cosmologist---smart articulate and often funny---has a new blog, a group blog with a handful of his friends. He has just posted a kind of pep-talk for string.

    there are lots of comments including from some who post at PF on occasion (arivero, notevenwrong)

    the new group blog is called Cosmic Variance:
    http://cosmicvariance.com/

    today's blog by Sean Carroll is:
    http://cosmicvariance.com/2005/07/21/two-cheers-for-string-theory/

    Sean's blog is basically very upbeat and pro-string. I mention this partly for balance. The numbers are discouraging and apparently there is some doubt and unease among young string researchers. there are speeches like from Lubos that clearly are intended to shore up morale. And there is this cheerful upbeat talk from Sean. I feel like I have to include some of all to get a rounded picture.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2005
  21. Jul 21, 2005 #20
    According to Citebase:

    KKLT - 396
    Berenstein et. al. on PP-waves - 698
    Giddings et. al on Flux compactifications - 393
    Kachru et. al. on inflation and string theory - 201
    Douglas, Nekrasov on Non-commutative field theory - 485
    Witten on strings on twistor space - 138
     
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