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A The Crisis in Theoretical Physics - Gian Francesco Giudice

  1. Nov 5, 2017 #41
    ZapperZ, thank you for your reply. To put things into perspective, I have to say again that a lot of this is based on my experience within academia and conversations with people I have been talking to about this issue, not careful scientific studies. Also, I live in central Europe (Germany/Netherlands), so there may be some differences here.

    I am glad that the field you are working in is alive and healthy - I really am. It is a different field though. That is, of course, not to say that superconductivity does not have anything to teach to those working on the fundamentals, on the contrary. It is just that, as I view it, superconductivity is very close to experiment, so the try-and-error, ad-hoc-modifying way of doing things can be very successful. Because there is such a direct contact with the phenomena, one can always cross check whether the things one does make sense or not without needing to employ careful reasoning and mathematical proofs (without denying that this is done in some ways). However, this approach fails when one is trying to build theories on deep mathematical laws and principles of nature - as one inevitably has to do in the foundations, otherwise there can be no unified picture.

    To your points:
    1. Yes, you were already employed and had some status. But how was it like when you were a student?
    2. I fully agree here.
    3. Absolutely, it is a dialogue. But if fundamental research is done right, it should lead back to applications, make things more coherent and less ad hoc there. Why do you think you had to rewrite those textbooks?
    4. I do not have any. The question is also whether one can actually measure that. But I know of many researchers who have done very good work in the foundations (mostly GR) and never got a tenured position, many of them had to leave academia entirely. Off the top of my head, I also know at least two tenured professors, where I fail to see how their work constitutes a contribution to their field (both of them working on "quantum gravity"). So our experience differs here.

    I think you should be more careful with your accusations, you may very well be targeting the wrong people. If you believe in science, well, then let's try to figure out what's really going on. Maybe I have just seen too many of the ugly parts of academia (there were also good ones, to be fair), but I do dare to claim that there's more behind it than just personal experience.
  2. Nov 5, 2017 #42


    Staff: Mentor

    Since this thread has run its course, it is now time to reflect on the discussion and to close it.

    We would like to thank all who contributed here and await the coming of the next great physics revolution whatever it may be.

    Thread now closed.
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