String Theory: peace in our time?

  • Thread starter Kea
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  • #26
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...a complicated issue which is rendered even more difficult by the fact that the foundations of category theory itself still have to be clarified

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/category-theory/

In light of that I can understand a reluctance to say too much about what it is cos it's not what it is that seems important, it's what it's not...

...shades of M-theory and it's possible relation to strings ???

The philosophical implications are what interest me but other than that it makes my brain hurt to think about it too much...

...gonna have to take some time to assimilate and internalise this, don't hold your breath though

thanx...
 
  • #27
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I prefer the twin wisdoms of not appealing to authority and not using the pathetic fallacy. By correlation I also prefer it when writers do the same, but we are not perfect. Sometimes people with gross eating habits are still welcomed at the table. String theorists may have snot on their noses but still be welcome if they bring in the roast beast, or even a tray of minor delicasies. Even the generic wanderer may be welcome from time to time, if only to contribute a song or an interesting story. I therefore try to read Lubos Motl, even when he talks with his mouth full, and also read others less exhalted who may happen by with strange tales.
If we are to declare truce in order to get on with the current work, we might begin by abandoning our jibes and personal attacks. Then we might also try to explain our sources, or at least provide adequate links. We might expect to be asked to explain what we mean when we use shorthand terms, such as DSR and TSR or Cat One and Naked Singularity, especially if a quick google or wiki search does not turn up an answer.
Aha! Perhaps I have found a new niche. Anyone want to nominate me as the maven of PF ettiquite?
Oh.
Well.
salve,
Richard

PS great link, Dubmugga. Thanks! R
 
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  • #28
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Kea said:
I'm sure you've heard this before:
"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." Mahatma Gandhi
Do a simple statistical research on sociology, Kea.

Write down all attempt to unify physics, all different schools on quantum gravity, etc.

Then detail what schools, guys, or lines of thought are attacked in a pure academic sense -"this argument is not convincing", "this is technically wrong by this and this", etc.- and what communities or guys are also personally atacked -"string theorists are very arrogant", "Kaku is dishonest", "string theory comunity is a sect" "string theory is a kind of church", etc.-.

After ask why the asimmetry did arise. That is, why does many people claim that string theorists are crakpots but nobody durely critizes in public practicioners of triangulation for example? perhaps is because the latter are more honest and less arrogant in his writtings? Perhaps does people not personally attack loop quantum theoreticians because later newer claim that LQG was the only approach to quantum gravity?

I NEWER have personally attacked all string theory community.

I have attacked string theory from a pure academic point of view in several ways. For example, in sci.physics.strings you can debate if i am wrong or correct in my "String theory is not a TOE" thread, where i write why string theory is, in many ways, outdated and, therefore, far from being a theory of everything, it is a theory of rather simplistic stuff. One thing is to read popular treatises on string theory where all is fantastic, all is beatiful, all is computed etc. and other is to read real published literature on the topic, then one finds a mathematical gulash rather ugly, and that predicts exactly nothing.

I have also 'personally' attacked some string theorists like Witten, Grene Schwartz, etc. but ONLY because they began first. Witten said first that chemistry was 'trivial' -well he does not used exactly the word but was the general feeling of his discourse- and then i said that he is completely ignorant on that and that before doing irrelevant claims that can be danger for other disciplines, Witten would do some relevant contribution to the topic. Brian Greene emphasized first that ST was the more fundamental discipline, and then i proved why his work on Calabi Yau (a 'simple' differential manifold) was not the more fundamental possible (curiously now Greene agrees that differential manifolds are not sufficient), etc.
 
  • #29
ahrkron
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Juan R. said:
then i proved why his work on Calabi Yau (a 'simple' differential manifold) was not the more fundamental possible
That's impressive. Can you post the reference?
In what sense is Green's work not "the most fundamental possible"?
 
  • #30
Kea
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Juan R. said:
I have attacked string theory from a pure academic point of view ...
Really. I haven't seen anything you've written that I would consider academic.

Well, you're doing a good job of spoiling the spirit of this thread, that's for sure.
:frown:
 
  • #31
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Hi Marcus, yeah, these are not the original lyrics but I like the billy bragg version for *aeh* personal reasons - and he has a very pleasant voice.
Some more lyrics from him

'You can be active with the activists
Or sleep in with the sleepers
While you’re waiting for the great leap forwards'

I dont think that 'merging' different approaches will lead to anything but more confusion and more people working out more details which might or might not have something to do with nature.

Instead, I think that we should focus on the similarities between different approaches (such as e.g. a minimal length scale, black holes, etc) and see what we can conclude out of this.

I also would like to add that even though stumbling along might lead eventually SOMEwhere, it is an enormous waste of young and potentially ingenious brains to be lead by stumbling leaders. It is a matter of responsibility to look for the best possible way.

Take Care,

Sabine
 
  • #32
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The scientific method is optimised for extracting local control models rather than global truth models. The sociology of academia works well in the middle ground (where the modelling is tied to the business of creating Western technology - he who pays the piper, etc) but creaks where people are tackling the extremes of mind and matter - the biggest questions, that are also the self-referential ones.

Better metaphysics is the answer. But technicians don't really have the time or desire to learn philosophy. Indeed, their careers depend on learning not to be distracted by what can be more usefully ignored.

The pharmaceutical industry perhaps is our shining example of how science is actually done in a complex environment. Take something very ecologically intricate and organic like a brain and then assault it randomly with new chemicals and observe the effects. If you see anything at all like an effect you want, which is of course unlikely to have been the effect you were seeking using some "designer drug" theory, fine-tune the experiments to increase the apparent crispness of the effect (enough to paper over side effects and get FDA approval). Sometimes science even lucks out and the randomly acquired chemistry actually works in significant fashion. Recent studies show that only 80 percent of the efficacy of Prozac need be credited to placebo, so Prozac can claim the remaining 20!

The common belief is that evolution is blind darwinism - throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks. What is good enough for nature should be good enough for (technological)science. Young thinkers who look before they leap would only slow down a scientific method that relies on many small sacrifices for the sake of the occasional big mutation.

Well obviously I'm being satirical now because we know that evolution does not work by hopeful monsters but the fine-grain tinkering of gene pools. So the blindness applies at the population level - the clumps of careers tied up in strings or LQG.

Still, makes you wonder how science would actually be run if it was optimised for global rather than local modelling.

I would say strings are global enough that they would still be encouraged. LQG seems too bogged down in the local view the way it is currently framed. Bigger picture guys like Prigogine would certainly be getting more respect.

Cheers - John McCrone.
 
  • #33
Kea
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mccrone said:
Bigger picture guys like Prigogine would certainly be getting more respect.
Humph. I met Prigogine once and he came across as a rude old bastard. Pity.
 
  • #34
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Kea said:
Humph. I met Prigogine once and he came across as a rude old bastard. Pity.
For sure. This is true of many people who worked hard to get things right and then find the world still ignores them (Nobel or not, chemists don't count in the grand scheme of things).

On the other hand, some of those who are most deeply wrong - like Francis Crick was about consciousness - are immensely charming and graceful.

If you've been reading up on Peirce, you may think he would make Prigogine seem an angel by comparison.
 
  • #35
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ahrkron said:
That's impressive. Can you post the reference?
In what sense is Green's work not "the most fundamental possible"?
I cannot post the reference still. But you will can access to it in brief and check details. Let me now focus in work of others.

You would know that now string theorist know that differential manifolds are not sufficient, but that already was known in other disciplines.

Fundamental means that you can derive the rest of known science. If your work arises from the approximation of the work of other then that is not fundamental is an approximation. If Schwartz string theory is based in HS math and Prigogine theory is based in RHS (with HS being an approximation oif the RHS math) then string thoery is not the most fundamental view of nature.

Remember also that M-theory clearly states that Calabi-Yau manifolds are a approximation that arise when coupling constant vanishes. In the full non-perturvative regime the 'correct' (i do no mean the correct manifold of nature!) manifold of M-theory is a 11D manifold.

Therefore, again, Brian Greene early work on Calabi-Yau manifolds was not the most fundamental possible. Now people is working with a substitute of Calabi-Yau manifold, so far as i know the best candidate are G2 manifolds.

No problem if the work of one is improved by work of others. This is a standard tendency on science. The problem is that string thoerists claiming in public that their work was the most fundamentla possible and the rest of people was second class scientists, when was not true.

Or at least was more true that Saddam...
 
  • #36
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Kea said:
Humph. I met Prigogine once and he came across as a rude old bastard. Pity.
And after you claim for peace!!
:yuck:

This is the typical arrogant attitude of string theorists (or 'simpatizers' or PhD students, or etc.)

Prigogine contributions to science are impressive. He did main contributions to physics, economy, biology, chemistry. He was one of first formulating a cosmology without big bang. Now string theorists are claiming the same and claim this is revolutionary. Revolutionary?

For a simple view to Prigogine REAL contributions to science (including his Nobel Prize for dissipative structures) you can see

http://order.ph.utexas.edu/people/Prigogine.htm

the 53 degrees his multiple Prizes, etc.

String theorists only achieve Prizes on marketing and 'New York Times articles'.

The only important string theorist is Witten who obtain the Fields Medal by his early work on field theory before he became and string theorists.

The contributions of string, brane, and M theorists to real science are easily summarized: none.

It is really interesting as some string theorists are now claiming for a generalization of string theory using outdated ideas of Prigogine of the last 60s. I am talking of the revolutionary non-critical String theory in cosmological framework...

A pure joke: wrong, outdated, irrelevant, etc. Not only string theorists simply are copying Prigogine work, simply are copying incorrectly. The formulas they use are completely wrong.

It is also intersting that whereas string theorists still are working in a old ultrasimplief version of quantum mechanics, Prigogine and his group began his generalization of QM. A generalization where i participated with his group and discussed many questions.

See, for example, references cited in his own page.

That is science...

Regarding your personal evaluation of Prigogine. He was not stupid and probably he used his six-sense for detecting who are you. When i met with anyone i approximatedly know that kind of person i am meeting. Do you know?

I contacted with him being still an undergraduate student. I explicitely said him that i was an undergraduate still, and he waste his time in reply to me and send my useful references. That is not done by many string theorists, who have absolutely none Prize except in 'self-proud'.
 
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  • #37
selfAdjoint
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Juan R. said:
This is the typical arrogant attitude of string theorists (or 'simpatizers' or PhD students, or etc.)

Kea is a string partisan???!

And she didn't say he wasn't scientifically significant, she said he was a rude old bastard, which none of his honors and degrees contradicts. Many leading scientists have met that description.
 
  • #38
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Perhaps when we rant against others we are really confessing our own sins, a practice some kept, perhaps wisely, in private for their spiritual ministry, but now is uttered blatently in any high and public place. You see immediately I hope that I confess my own sins here in response to others, as one drunk vomiting gets another to throw up. I mean no offense to any one more than myself, in saying so.

But really to me anyway the interesting thing is in the ideas. It is true that some ideas make me feel sick, but that is mostly vertigo, and if I am careful where I step I can weather that.

So these spin networks that make us all so dizzy, these loops in motion, these unbridaled braidings. These flaws in the essential pattern that open edges in spacetime, foliations like wet packed leaves, unitary, but each a manifold when dry. The fractal-like self referent repetitions, leaf after leaf, manifold on manifold. Where do we touch? Where do we leave off touching?

We live, physically, in thick foliations of spacetime, little better than blind worms in compost, and we should be thankful to be given that much. Slugs and paracytes, producers and consumers, ruled by the economy of scale. Volume to surface area, warmth to warmth, the endless extensions of the gradient, ashes of us, fall down.

Consider the volume of a Euclidean sphere, and divide it by some standard unit. Think of it as a bubble in glass, containing some number of smaller sphereical marbles. Only a certain integral number will fit in, with some fractions left over. Sometimes the fractions can add up to more than one, before the pattern is found where one more will fit in.

You might think of filling a spherical bottle with marbles of a certain color, one at a time, until it is full. The marbles add to each other and pile up in orderly rows and columns that lie in extended planes, but the ratio of the size of the marble to the size of the bottle (assume it is a nearly sphereical bottle) makes a difference in how fine the planes are. BB's in a gallon jug show the lines and planes along the glass surfaces. (If you try this be careful not to break the glass.) Fill the jug unitl it is full, then cap it and set it aside. Leave it a few days, or shake it up gently with a vibrater for faster results. The small marbles or bb's will settle, allowing more to be placed in at the top.

What has happened is that as the marbles fill, they form irregular structures which intersect each other in localized areas forming bridges and ridges, open membrane-like regions where for part of a distance several many of the marbles DO NOT TOUCH each other, but there is a void. The void may be much smaller than a marble, but if you rattle the marbles about a bit in a gravitational field they will tend to settle, the voids adding to each other, so that at the top of the field they may add together sufficiently to allow another integral marble to be admitted to the volume. The density of the marbles in the space of the jug is a number which changes with a rate determined by two metrics, one, the metric that defines the boundaries of the volume, the other, the metric which defines the "perfect structure", Keplarian, which corresponds to densest packing.

If we vary the ratio of the size of the marble to the size of the jug, there should be a continuum of values divided into a spectrum where integral jumps occur each time another marble is added. Think of running this sequence backward in zero gravity. You take a bottle full of marbles into extended free-fall and remove the marbles one at a time. What patterns do we see develop in terms of where the marbles are in contact with each other? What patterns are there if we think in terms of average seperation? Is there a phase shift from solid to liquid?

Have another glass of Dirty Bastard Chardonnay, why not? Open up another bottle. There is the warm smell of fire below the hill. Wish I were wood.

Salve

Richard
 
  • #39
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^^^I do hope you're working on a book, I'd read it...

RK
 
  • #40
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Hi Richard - some actual figures on sphere packing.

Random packing achieves density of about 65 percent. There are two ways of stacking that achieve the maximum possible density of 74.048 percent.

See - http://mathworld.wolfram.com/KeplerConjecture.html

Or for some neat fractal pix, which are probably more physically relevant - http://www.josleys.com/creatures54.htm [Broken]
and http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/~pbourke/fractals/apollony/ [Broken]
Cheers - John McCrone.
 
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  • #41
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selfAdjoint said:
Kea is a string partisan???!
Remember, "Or sympatizers, or etc..."

selfAdjoint said:
And she didn't say he wasn't scientifically significant, she said he was a rude old bastard, which none of his honors and degrees contradicts. Many leading scientists have met that description.
Hum, attack to a dead guy is very easy and proper of...

Many people claim that he was a kindy man. I between them.

Moreover, i do not see the same emphasis on insulting string theorists :-)

How can she claims for 'peace' with phrases like "he was a rude old bastard"?
 
  • #42
Kea
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Sigh. Go iceclimbing for the weekend and look what happens. :rolleyes:
 
  • #43
john baez
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sphere packings

mccrone said:
Hi Richard - some actual figures on sphere packing.
Random packing achieves density of about 65 percent. There are two ways of stacking that achieve the maximum possible density of 74.048 percent.
I'm not sure what this has to do with "Peace in Our Time" or Kea declaring herself a string theorist, but....

There are infinitely many different ways of packing equal-radius spheres in 3d that achieve the maximum possible density. You can get these by first forming hexagonal layers of spheres. Then stack up the layers. Each time you set one layer on the previous one, you have two equally good places to put it. So, there are infinitely many choices.

If you keep following one very systematic pattern, by putting the (n+2)nd layer directly above the nth one, you get something called the "hexagonal close packing".

If you keep following another very systematic pattern, by putting the (n+3)rd layer directly above the nth one, you get something called the "face-centered cubic close packing". The easiest way to visualize this is to imagine a pyramid of spheres where the bottom layer is a big equilateral triangle, then the next layer is a slightly smaller equilateral triangle, and so on. Sometimes you see oranges stacked in these pyramids.

But, there are infinitely many other ways to stack the layers and achieve the maximal density: pi / 3 sqrt(2), or about 74.048%.

It's hard to understand this stuff without actually stacking some spheres! This webpage may help a bit:
http://www.chem.ox.ac.uk/icl/heyes/structure_of_solids/Lecture1/Lec1.html#anchor4" [Broken]
 
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  • #44
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john baez said:
If you keep following one very systematic pattern, by putting the (n+2)nd layer directly above the nth one, you get something called the "hexagonal close packing".

If you keep following another very systematic pattern, by putting the (n+3)rd layer directly above the nth one, you get something called the "face-centered cubic close packing".

But, there are infinitely many other ways to stack the layers and achieve the maximal density: pi / 3 sqrt(2), or about 74.048%.
Would it have helped to have said that there are two regular ways of stacking? But, of course, you could mix the binary choice made with each layer to generate an infinity of "different" outcomes?

If that is all you are saying here, it seems a puzzlingly pedantic point. And is neither here nor there in the context of the discussion.

Cheers - John McCrone.
 
  • #45
john baez
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mccrone said:
Would it have helped to have said that there are two regular ways of stacking?
Yes.
But, of course, you could mix the binary choice made with each layer to generate an infinity of "different" outcomes?
Right. Lots of people don't realize this, so I thought it was worth mentioning.
If that is all you are saying here, it seems a puzzlingly pedantic point.
Sorry, I have a professional dedication to accuracy, and I actually think it's cool that there are infinitely many equally dense ways to pack equal-sized spheres in 3 dimensions - unlike the case of 2 dimensions.
And is neither here nor there in the context of the discussion.
Sorry, I had some trouble telling what the context of the discussion was: Kea started it off by explaining why she decided to declare herself a string theorist, and this led someone to start talking about "foliations like wet packed leaves, unitary, but each a manifold when dry", and somehow that led you to say there were two maximally dense ways of packing spheres. So, I figured everyone was just having fun.
:tongue:
 
  • #46
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well i'm having fun...

hey JB you ever been to NZ ???

...you should come down under and hang out for while
 
  • #47
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john baez said:
Sorry, I had some trouble telling what the context of the discussion was: Kea started it off by explaining why she decided to declare herself a string theorist, and this led someone to start talking about "foliations like wet packed leaves, unitary, but each a manifold when dry", and somehow that led you to say there were two maximally dense ways of packing spheres. So, I figured everyone was just having fun.
:tongue:
Still seems crazy that you would pick on that of all things to "correct". There is endless other stuff I write that could do with actual correction.

Anyway, in that post I was flagging the FRACTAL sphere packing story in a perhaps too subtle hint that people should consider instead a dynamic scalefree packing picture rather than a frozen fixed scale packing - spheres of every spatiotemporal scale rather than a single spatiotemporal scale.

For people interested in SO background independent approaches to spacetime, this is the kind of useful geometric image to have in mind. So much early LQG thinking is done on a lattice. Too orderly. You need a maximally disordered geometry that has scalefree or fractal character IMHO.

This is indeed a general failing in maths I feel. Everyone knows about the discrete vs continuous argument, but not the broader local~global distinction in which scale takes things to a whole new level.

Now that is the kind of substantive point I would appreciate being corrected upon.

Cheers - John McCrone.
 
  • #48
Kea
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mccrone said:
Everyone knows about the discrete vs continuous argument, but not the broader local~global distinction in which scale takes things to a whole new level.
mccrone

We would appreciate it if you started a mathematical thread about scale-free network ideas.

:smile:
 

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