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The Elegant Universe- string theory documentary

  1. Mar 13, 2009 #1

    Did a search and didn't see any posts about it, so if you haven't seen this, check it out, it's pretty cool and will let you know the basics about string theory if you're not familiar with it. Any opinions on it?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 13, 2009 #2


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    This is pretty old. I watched it years ago and was very disappointed at how much it was an empty shadow of the book. The book OTOH, is packed with mind-stretching ideas (read it slowly and read it twice, it'll reward you).
  4. Mar 14, 2009 #3
    I watched this documentary when it first appeared, and I think that in many ways it set the tone of discussion for laymen and string theory for years to come. In analyzing the elegant universe we see beginnings of the opportunity of the subsequent popular anti-string backlash movement from Peter Woit and Lee Smolin. The elegant universe created a lot of hype for string theory, and the patience of the public is such that when this hype did not materialize after a few years they began the backlash. Brian Greene does not do a good enough job at explaining why extra dimensions are a prediction of string theory, and so many viewers I have talked with came away thinking that extra dimensions were an assumption of the theory, which was chosen for some reason due to mathematical elegance or convenience.
  5. Mar 17, 2009 #4
    It was not the 'hype not fulfilled' scenario that created an anti string theory backlash. There were physicists who were skeptical about it long before 'Elegant Universe'. String theory may have started out in a promising fashion and certainly seemed to be new thinking but after 25 odd years, it seems unlikely that strings are the way out.
  6. Mar 17, 2009 #5
    The anti-string theory backlash I am talking about is the one in the general public. If you back to the time around the elegant universe there was a high rate of popular articles in favor of string theory. Around 2005/2006 the exact opposite was the case. Now things have gotten mostly back to normal, except on this forum there is an anti-string sentiment that exceeds the typical level of pessimism found in major universities.
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