Claim: Particle Physics is Stagnating Because of Groupthink

Theoretical Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder. By HossenfelderSOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder, impaired methodology and groupthink is retarding the discovery of new physics.

The present phase of stagnation in the foundations of physics is not normal

Nothing is moving in the foundations of physics. One experiment after the other is returning null results: No new particles, no new dimensions, no new symmetries. Sure, there are some anomalies in the data here and there, and maybe one of them will turn out to be real news. But experimentalists are just poking in the dark. They have no clue where new physics may be to find. And their colleagues in theory development are of no help.

Some have called it a crisis. But I don’t think “crisis” describes the current situation well: Crisis is so optimistic. It raises the impression that theorists realized the error of their ways, that change is on the way, that they are waking up now and will abandon their flawed methodology. But I see no awakening. The self-reflection in the community is zero, zilch, nada, nichts, null. They just keep doing what they’ve been doing for 40 years, blathering about naturalness and multiversesand shifting their “predictions,” once again, to the next larger particle collider.

I don’t take this advice out of nowhere. If you look at the history of physics, it was working on the hard mathematical problems that led to breakthroughs. If you look at the sociology of science, bad incentives create substantial inefficiencies. If you look at the psychology of science, no one likes change.

Developing new methodologies is harder than inventing new particles in the dozens, which is why they don’t like to hear my conclusions. Any change will reduce the paper output, and they don’t want this. It’s not institutional pressure that creates this resistance, it’s that scientists themselves don’t want to move their butts.

How long can they go on with this, you ask? How long can they keep on spinning theory-tales?

I am afraid there is nothing that can stop them. They review each other’s papers. They review each other’s grant proposals. And they constantly tell each other that what they are doing is good science. Why should they stop? For them, all is going well. They hold conferences, they publish papers, they discuss their great new ideas. From the inside, it looks like business as usual, just that nothing comes out of it.

This is not a problem that will go away by itself.

Read more: http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-present-phase-of-stagnation-in.html

The author, Sabine Hossenfelder, is a researcher fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies and author of the book “Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray.”

This isn’t the first time WUWT have seen this claim, renowned Theoretical Physicist Lee Smolin made similar claims in his book “The Trouble With Physics”.

The suggestion of a tremendous, pointless waste of effort, producing academic papers and good careers but very little advance, seems somehow familiar.

As Willis pointed out in his post The Picasso Problem, for decades there has been no real advance in climate science. Fundamental problems, answers to basic questions such as “how much does the world warm if you add CO2” are no closer to resolution today than they were in the 1980s.

Why is climate science stagnating? One thing we have seen over the years, in Climate Science nobody ever loses. As long as your estimated climate sensitivity is above 1.5C and not too much higher than 4.5C, your estimate will be accepted by the community as reasonable. If your sensitivity estimate is less than 1.5C, you’re a denier. If you make a truly ridiculous claim, such as predicting an ice free Arctic in the next couple of years, you might attract a pithy comment from Gavin Schmidt. But overall everyone’s career is safe, providing you churn out lots of papers which conform to the community view of what your results should be. There is no sense of urgency, no sense of concern, that the field of climate science is not advancing.

Similarly in Physics, according to Lee Smolin and now to Sabine Hossenfelder, your career is fine as long as your research proposal falls within the parameters of what everyone else thinks it should be.

If you want to ask uncomfortable questions like “Since the observable Universe is relativistic, why is most string theory based on the assumption that space and time are immutable?“, you may have trouble getting your grant proposal approved, because your grant proposal will be reviewed by scientists who built their careers writing papers based on flawed assumptions which you want to question.

The point is the malaise we have seen in the mainstream climate community is not limited to climate science, it is far more widespread. From rampant scientific fraud in the medical community, to stagnation in the climate science and physics communities, career scientists appear to be prioritising safety and job security ahead of progress. And nobody seems to have a solution for how to fix this problem.

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203 thoughts on “Claim: Particle Physics is Stagnating Because of Groupthink

    • Here’s how Sabine Hossenfelder describes the process.

      People often wonder what a theoretical physicist does. You might not believe it, but most of the time I think. Sometimes, I scribble funny looking things with a pencil on a notebook. Processes like this usually involve lots of coffee and walking up and down the corridor. link

      So, it’s pretty much an individual endeavor of the human mind.

      Further to the above, committees, and grant proposals are poison to scientific progress.

      Hossenfelder’s blog is http://backreaction.blogspot.com . She pulls no punches. I highly recommend it.

      • “it’s pretty much an individual endeavor of the human mind”

        Except increasingly in some fields, like particle physics, the “tools” have become so complex and large that many scientists (sometimes scores) are involved in the same experiment. They can’t all walk around and think. Most are attending to nuts and bolts.

      • Pretty much all physicists are brilliant people. Unfortunately the problema they seek to solve have very little to do with any normal human experience , and they are presented out of the infinity of the mathematically possible. Physics was pretty stuck before Einstein came along. The individuals who can push the science into a new era are not only brilliant, they are not bound by the orthodoxy. History shows us they are very rare.
        And they are sceptics!

        • “The suggestion of a tremendous, pointless waste of effort, producing academic papers and good careers but very little advance, seems somehow familiar.”

          The situation that today’s “research” universities are in is very, very similar to the position that the great Monasteries of Europe found themselves in after governments became stabilized and the printing press was developed. They had great wealth and a great following, but no true purpose anymore except to provide a comfortable living for their adherents, which was easy to do because of the immense wealth they had accumulated. (Before Henry VIII dissolved them, estimates are that the monasteries owned and controlled 1/4 – 1/3 of all of the productive farmland in the British Isles, and the rest of Europe was similar)

          I now think we are in the same situation today, and some vast social upheaval and reshaping of society is going to be required before any of this becomes rational. Sadly, every time that period of history has come round it always brings with it a lot of violence, and a lot of death. That’s where this is headed now. I used to have hope for the future – i have none now. Maybe I do for the different future, but rivers of blood will run first, just like they have before.

          • Sad but true.
            If / when the global warming narrative is exposed as an exploitative scam of the elites, after thousands have died needlessly of fuel poverty, universities and academics will provide soft targets for rage of the masses.

      • There is too much specialisation, so nobody can see the larger picture. And too many highly educated people, instead of clever people. My ex-dragon was highly educated, but would still put the plastic kettle on the gas cooker…..

        R

    • Sabine Hossenfelder is about the most loopy unscientific person you could ever meet, that anyone would call her a theoretical physicist is an insult to the term. She is your normal run of the garden mill quack, pure and simple.

      • Well, theoretical Physics isn’t scientific. It isn’t empiricism based on experiment, so by it’s very nature it cannot be science, nor can it prove anything or increase the knowledge base… So the people in Theoretical fields do tend to be “Loopy” and imaginative…. But that doesn’t make them, or their ideas about something, invalid… Only experiment can do that LdB…. and it is pretty much what she is talking about.

      • Who’s funeral we’re waiting for? Not Hossenfelder’s, she’s not the authority slowing down stuff.

        Not that I want names, I just wanted to point out it is more the grant system that keeps new approaches not coming. See Peter Shor’s comment in the blog.

    • Or maybe this is a part of the problem (Tony Rothman/Physicist, excerpt, entire article is worth a read):
      “Nevertheless, as a physicist travels along his (in this case) career, the hairline cracks in the edifice become more apparent, as does the dirt swept under the rug, the fudges and the wholesale swindles, with the disconcerting result that the totality occasionally appears more like Bruegel’s Tower of Babel as dreamt by a modern slumlord, a ramshackle structure of compartmentalized models soldered together into a skewed heap of explanations as the whole jury-rigged monstrosity tumbles skyward.
      It would be surprising if the strange world of subatomic and quantum physics did not lead the field in mysteries, conceptual ambiguities and paradoxes, and it does not disappoint. The standard model of particle physics, for instance (the one containing all the quarks and gluons), has no fewer than 19 adjustable parameters, about 60 years after Enrico Fermi exclaimed, “With four parameters I can fit an elephant!” Suffice to say, “beauty” is a term not frequently applied to the standard model.”
      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275701468_The_Man_Behind_the_Curtain

    • Yes. He said scientists will keep following the old paradigm even though observational evidence contradicts it.

      He has no answer as to how to breakout if the wrong path has been selected.

      It is important to be able to recognize when the parrot is dead.

      John Horgan in his book “the end of science” created the term ‘ironic’ science to describe science work that has no basis in reality.

      Ironic science looks like science and can go on forever, but will never converge on the truth as it concerns theoretical entities that have no basis in reality.

      The point is it time to relook at the entire cosmological problem as it is a fact that there are more and more anomalies concerning every aspect of the standard components due to multi spectrum data at all redshifts.

      The Frenk Principle:
      “If the Cold Dark Matter Model does not agree with observations, there must be physical processes, no matter how bizarre or unlikely, that can explain the discrepancy.”

      The Strong Frenk Principle: (2 versions)
      1: “The physical processes must be the most bizarre and unlikely…”
      2: “If we are incapable of finding any physical processes to explain the discrepancy between CDM models and observations, then observations are wrong.”
      – George Efstathiou

      https://www.astro.umd.edu/~ssm/mond/DMOct05.pdf

    • Karl Popper also chimed in about dogma and tradition in science. Science advances when it is questioned, not when it is defended. In essence the ‘real’ scientists are the ones who challenge the accepted, the ‘loopy’ ones.

  1. Sabine Hossenfelder and Eric are both pointing out that physics and climate science are stuck in their paradigms. When we hear CAGW supported because 97% of scientists think in a certain way, we see a group of people who are hide bound in their paradigm. Likwise, when physicists have difficulty publishing a paper which would shift the paradigm of the majority of physicists, it is strong evidence that physics is stuck in a paradigm. Ms. Hossenfelder sees the physics side of this more clearly than I do, thus I would not argue a contrary position. However, climate science is stuck in the mode of supporting the paradigm primarily because there are billions of dollars distributed to scientists who support the paradigm and little available to those of us who question it.

    • It isn’t so much that 97% of climate scientists think a certain way. It’s more that 99.7% of grants are for papers that come up with certain conclusions. Naturally if you pay people to think a certain way, you will get a lot of applications pointing out how firmly people think your way. The same is true in the other sciences. Who would give a grant for a scientist that wants to study a radical new way of doing physics? No, the grants are all for small increments on existing theories.

      The only solution is to stop paying for rubbish science. Isaac Asimov once wrote that (not his exact words), “If you keep paying for bad philosophers and not for good plumbers, you will have neither good philosophers, nor good plumbers. Neither your theories, nor pipes, will hold water”.

    • BH

      “Climate Science” may be called a science, but it’s not – it’s a hoax (think: beanie babies & Bitcoins). Treating this hot, steaming mess like a science is like conflating astrology & biology. If you can’t separate a simple hoax and real science, you’ll probably have an even harder time crafting a meaningful “philosophy” that addresses both….

      “Climate Science” claims not to make predictions (only “forecasts), has no recognized statement of theory (“CO2 is going to kill us, oceans are rising, and it’s worse than we thought” IS NOT A COJENT STATEMENT OF THEORY); there are no generally recognized mathematical equations that accurately track natural results (computer models are not equations describing physical reality) and produce testable predictoins. We can measure the transit of a planet across a skas millions of light-years away, but we still can’t measure the earth’s temperature (tree rings don’t count).

      Smolin observed that since Newton, physics produced great leaps forward (revolution?) roughly every 25 years; Hossenfelder makes somewhat the same point in describing the sheer number of wasted “scientific” man-hours spent writing papers about theories that are (so far at least) 100% wrong. (Ok, I understand investing SOME time in string theory & SUSY, but physics has been betting the ranch on this non-productive stuff for over 30+ years).

      Retrospective reviews of highly creative activities (physics, music, poetry…) generally show physicists are most creative before age 35. Today’s 60-70 year-old theoretical physicists have had a hammer-lock on the field since about 1980.

      • Here’s my hot tip for the physicists. Scrap the multiverse interpretation, scrap the Copenhagen interpretation an investigate the implications of Bohmian Mechanics for the underlying nature of space time.
        Once they figure that out, they can admit they have no idea how the Universe started. The Big Bang theory is the equivalent of Newton’s gravity . Merely a description, not an explanation at all and ridiculously deficient.

      • Writing pop physics books has been a hugely profitable cottage industry for the likes of Green, Smolin, et al. Especially since the popular science mags have falln’ under the junk Climate Change trance.

      • Actually, computer models are essentially complex sets of equations, that are used to try to describe reality. The problem is, if the output of a computer model does not match reality, rather than abandon it as incorrect, climate scientists argue with the data (aka reality).

        • Pretty well correct except I would be ok with them “arguing” with the data. They don’t argue so much as torture and disfigure it!

  2. This idea of groupthink in fields other than climate change pops up from time to time here. And every time I just add in that it’s the same for cometary science especially those scientists churning out papers on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, subject of the Rosetta mission. I’ve corrected several of their papers and argued for others to be corrected to no avail. The morphology team is the OSIRIS consortium of 9 universities and research institutions that built the Rosetta cameras. They continually misidentify features at the 100-metre scale (on a km-scale comet) and therefore misinterpret what they see. Their mapping and morphology work is used for understanding the morphological evolution and from there, the composition, pristine nature and its formation 4.5Gyr ago.

    I’m certain there will be a mass-retraction scenario in due course…or at least, a demand for one, which will be circumvented with piecemeal corrigenda that are totally ignored. I know this because my existing corrigenda are being ignored in subsequent citations i.e. mistakes are being propagated.

    The underlying problem is groupthink. This includes paying an unhealthy deference to precedent (i.e. citing important seminal works on 67P that contradict your results but nevertheless saying your results confirm their findings).

    • Scute

      This is an interesting phenomenon (citing defective works that confirm current errors). Surely that is the core problem with climate science as a philosophy? It emerges from the
      internal review” paradigm.

      It is easy to accept that GHG’s will increase the temperature of any atmosphere to which they are added. It is really hard to accept that there could be emergent phenomena that counter-act all that warming, because it goes against the easily accessible and simplistic consequence.

      Those who study systems, like systems engineers, are used to the emergence of unpredictable (not just unpredicted) consequences. For example increasing the % of males hired to assemble iPhones from 30% to 50% has brought forth problems that were not anticipated, and which cannot be detected by interviewing every single employee at length in advance. People in groups act different from people as individuals.

      No one is surprised by this, over coffee, but when it comes to physical systems there is a groupthink response: if we understand the individual components of the system, then we can predict the operation and outcome. Astrophysicists assume this over and over.

      When I worked at IMAX as an assistant to the inventor Bill Shaw back in its earliest days in Galt, Ontario, he told me a story. He was asked in the 60’s to build a device that could stop a memory platter set rotating at 20,000 RPM within 2 turns, max. These were stacks of one ft diameter platters each of which could hold a few hundred KB of data. If they coasted to a stop they were quickly erased by the head. He planned to do this by placing fixed plates very close to each platter and injecting water into the small space between the rotating platter and the fixed plates. Water at that thickness and relative speed is like cold molasses.

      So they built it and spun it up and fired the water into the spaces and lo, it really worked well! One Brownie point for the genius engineers. The platters came to a stop in about 1 turn. Cheap, easy, worked to spec.

      The emergent phenomenon (visible with 20:20 hindsight) was that the entire welded angle iron guts of the table on which they were working and to which everything was attached tore away from the frame and began spinning together. Oh yeah! Inertia! Stored energy! Dang. They got so involved in their solution they overlooked, in a groupthink manner, something that would emerge from their solution.

      This lesson (about coming to a stop quickly) was later applied to the problem that in 1968-9 the IMAX projector worked, but could not run above 13 frames per second. It turned out the inertia of the high speed film landing on the aperture plate was so large it tore the film to pieces. There is a great video online about how this was resolved by the time of the World’s Fair in Osaka, 1970 where it was demonstrated publicly for the first time.

      • But it is even harder to accept that there are positive feedbacks that will cause it to fry the planet.

      • So Crispin,
        if climate scientists find it hard to believe that emergent effects that might reduce global
        warming why do you find it so hard to believe that there might be emergent effects that
        amplify it? Is that not another example of groupthink?

        • Because evidence for emergent effects that decrease the amount of warming are all around us, while evidence for emergent effects that increase the amount of warming have yet to be found anywhere outside computer models which assume they must be present.

        • Well positive reinforcement in nature always leads to a change in state or in a runaway system. Examples of positive feedbacks are 1)fruit ripening 2)childbirth 3) Blood clotting . All those examples result in a change of state. Since the earth doesnt change state even over billions of years and there hasnt been runaway global warming even when CO 2 levels have been over 15 times higher, positive feedback doesnt exist for the climate system.

        • “why do you find it so hard to believe that there might be emergent effects that
          amplify it?”

          Because, if they existed, we wouldn’t be here to ask the question. Our ancestors would have been wiped out by runaway global warming millions of years ago, when CO2 levels were much higher.

          Those who actually know about these things are aware that you don’t get stable results from a system that has positive feedback. That alone is enough to completely discount any ‘global warming’ model that relies on them.

          Quite frankly, it’s pathetic that anyone in science takes any of this crap seriously when it’s so easy to disprove. But I guess they won’t have to worry about grants for science when people are sick of the nonsense and demand that governments stop funding it.

      • Any stable state should be assumed to be the product of various forcings and feedbacks, both positive and negative. The clear historical evidence for boundaries indicates strongly that both negative and positive feedbacks grow with deviation from a central region of stability. Ergo, such a system has a degree of inherent stability.
        A change of forcing is different. The history of Earth indicates that without a doubt we live in such a system.

    • I don’t actually think the underlying problem is groupthink. I think that that is a symptom. The underlying problem is the publish or perish approach to modern science. These people have performance criteria requiring so many published papers that they can’t actually do good science. Worse, people that write a lot of papers are promoted above people that do good science, simply because they outweigh them in the number of papers written.

      I have read a few of these papers (in the management field), and they are largely a complete waste of time. Rubbish methodologies leading to predetermined conclusions.

      • Hivemind

        Is it too presumptuous for a layman to suggest that science is disappearing up its own backside of self congratulation?

        It seems to me that science is now held as the new religion. We have abandoned religion of old and the world hails science as the new dawn because a few conundrums, amongst the myriad conundrums the world faces seem to have been solved.

        Medicine has taken strides with the gnome, electronics with the microprocessor, warfare with guidance systems, surveillance with satellites, communications with smartphones and all the other breakthroughs humanity has made in the last 50 years or so.

        And yet, we are so far away from where we want to be. These milestones are merely man’s first stumbling steps at science. Supercomputers can give us almost more solutions than we have questions, but it seems to me that scientists largely ignore the answers they get and keep asking the questions, no matter how ludicrous simply because answers can be churned out and they have a selection to pick from, one of which seems to answer their question.

        And I cite by way of example the recent article on WUWT titled: Could an anti-global warming atmospheric spraying program really work?

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/11/24/could-an-anti-global-warming-atmospheric-spraying-program-really-work/

        I mean, seriously? With all we don’t know about climate change, which anyone with a functioning couple of brain cells could tell you is much more than we do know, scientists waste time and money on crackpot research to answer a question no sane individual would seriously consider asking.

        Indeed, my example isn’t a clever scientific question, it’s one an idiot like me would ask after a lifetime of digesting the MSM garbage I have been exposed to. It’s the type of insane question ill informed drunk men discuss in the pub and wake up the next morning wondering why they are dressed in a clown outfit, in bed with a donkey, wondering who they offended the night before.

        Predicating climate issues on the day long existence of the the great crested, slimy, horn toed, natter-jack weevil when a cow fart could wipe out a whole community is just the most insane proposition anyone could conceive, yet we read about it daily. Some major construction project is delayed by years, roads by decades and god forbid someone suggests a tunnel, it now has to wait 50 years whilst said community is allowed to populate the planet. Even then it’s designated the ‘eastern’ western’ ‘northern’ ‘southern ‘ ‘lesser spotted’ ‘long tailed’ ‘long eared’……..variant and every other tunnel in the world is stopped because the darling wee beasties are threatened, despite them carrying some disgusting disease that threatens mankind.

        It’s science for the sake of science. Nothing to do with moving forward, and when something like carbon dioxide thermodynamic cycles for nuclear power conversion comes along to actually solve a problem we have (that of reducing size and complexity of nuclear power production) it’s swamped by the noise of idiotic research into things that just don’t matter. (details here: https://www.manchester.ac.uk/research/beacons/breakthroughs/carbon-dioxide-turbines/)

        I might be completely wrong, in which case so is 90% of the planet who are laymen like me, and our political and scientific elite are just not listening to us, the people who pay their grossly over inflated salaries.

        • My father use to sit me on his knee and warn me to be weary of the “silver tongue devils” (blowhards) out there as well as “men in grey suits” (sharks) ,which one are you????

          [The mods can reliably assure you that no grey suites were worn out in the pursuit of the silver-tongued HotScot. (T’was plaidly not flannel either!) .mod]

  3. Science related to the Human diet has also stagnated for decades, since the McGovern Committee in 1977, that demonized fat and praised carbohydrates. This, in my opinion, has lead to the premature deaths of probably millions.

    But science always corrects itself, eventually. A few “skeptics” begin to see contrary results, and in the case of diet, see real improvements in people’s health by not following the consensus. Papers start to be published; a trickle at first, then it snowballs. The same thing will eventually happen in Physics and climate science. Eventually.

      • Start with the premise; everything you believe you know is a lie. Start from there and re-evaluate from scratch everything you want to know. It clears the cobwebs 🙂

        • seriously?
          How long would it take you or anyone to rederive from scratch a mobile phone? It is way
          beyond the capacity of any single person. You would have to study general relativity to understand the GPS chip, quantum mechanics to understand semiconductors, material physics to work out the gorilla glass, computer science to understand the programming etc. etc. You have to take the vast majority of modern science on trust to even begin to think about doing research.

          • Percy Jackson

            That being the case, it should be easy for the scientific community that developed the mobile phone to demonstrate by empirical means, that CO2 causes the planet to warm.

            Yet there has not ever been a credible, successful field study completed which shows it.

            Why is that?

          • We don’t take it on trust. We take it on results.

            Relativity works. Quantum mechanics works. Material physics works. They all allow us to make predictions that prove true in the real world.

            ‘Climate science’ does no such thing. It’s Fake Science that produces Fake Results.

          • You want to re-work the entire world’s economy, spend trillions of dollars on unproven energy schemes, and when asked for data your only response is “trust me”.

            And you wonder why nobody takes you seriously.

          • Mark W

            “You want to re-work the entire world’s economy, spend trillions of dollars on unproven energy schemes, and when asked for data your only response is “trust me”.

            And you wonder why nobody takes you seriously.”

            The problem is that lots of people do take that kind of thinking seriously.

            The world is full of Chicken Littles who want to think it is all coming to an end and it’s all our fault. No different than ancient civilizations thinking everything that goes wrong is caused by gods that are mad at us and if we only sacrifice a few souls to them everything will be good.

    • Eventually, may be, but that may take thousands of years.

      I just read Ms Hossenfelder’s blog and I have read Smolin’s book long ago. When I was young I felt that I don’t understand particle physics and theoretical physics. Studies did not help a lot. Still perplexed – as were the other students. Fine mathematics but what has it to do with reality.

    • If “climate science” as practiced today becomes enshrined in policy, research on climate will come to a complete halt. All contrary data will be destroyed. Game over.

    • Sometimes the good research has already been done, but was forgotten or suppressed. I had to “relearn” economics after coming across Ludwig von Mises. Finally all the things that had bothered me about the modern orthodoxy were cleared up, like scales falling from my eyes.

  4. Particle physics suffers from diminishing returns. The description of experiments to test new theories all too often begins with “once we maneuver the two black holes close enough…”.

  5. I’m retired and haven’t published in 12 or 13 years. But this sure doesn’t sound like any physicists that I ever collaborated with. They would have sold their eyeteeth for a major discovery, maybe their left arm, if the discovery was big enough. Discoveries continue apace — but since they are by definition in early days, their consequences are unclear: gravity waves, an accelerating unit universe, rotation curves of the galaxies. Sounds like Ms. Hossenfelder needs to quit complaining about others and go to work. Their won’t be a lot of low hanging fruit until someone (e.g., Ms. Hossenfelder) breaks a truly hard problem. Go to work!

    • Lee Smolin said something similar in his book “The Trouble With Physics”.

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/10/12/the-trouble-with-physics-another-branch-of-science-captured-by-groupthink/

      I like Lee, he once answered a question I sent; I asked him whether the apparent acceleration of the expansion of the universe might be an artefact caused by time dilation from our vantage point due to the higher density of the early universe – looking back in time to the primordial universe is kindof like looking down the mouth of a black hole.

      He said no, the time dilation has already been accounted for.

      • Jim is right and you have added another name in lee Smolin who yes is like her, a quack. To say that either of them represents mainstream physics is a bit like saying the Pope represents Muslims. In any field there are those who did enough to get a degree but failed to actually understand anything.

        The funny part with grouping these two crazies together which none of this forum would understand is they actually are at opposite ends of the crazy spectrum and agree on nothing. I believe it started when “Aunt Bee” as she likes to be known reviewed a Lee Smolin book.

        Another interesting connection is one of the better physicists around who the CAGW crowd hates in Lubos Motl actually considers and call both crackpots.

        Having all these names linked who are in there own 3 way feud is actually quite funny 🙂

        • That’s what they said about Einstein. And Darwin. And Copernicus. I’ll pick the wackos for my team. At least they have original ideas.
          Mozart-1
          Saltieri- no score
          Where would we be without the first wacko who thought he could tame fire?

      • The core point both Smolin and Sabine made is theoretical physics is failing to advance.

        It might be that they just need a bigger particle accelerator or something, but I think its also reasonable to give a hearing to suggestions like Smolin’s, that the method theorists use to handle relativity is failing them, or Sabine’s suggestion that physicists are wasting their effort on non problems.

        • My guess is they don’t need a bigger particle accelerator, but that they need a bigger magnet.
          A really, really big magnet to find some new physics observations.

          • Big, non linear particle accelerators need big magnets. Except for finding the real estate and funding that may be the biggest problem.

        • “The core point both Smolin and Sabine made is theoretical physics is failing to advance.”

          It’s all relative. They could debate that point, but that does not make them right in anything else. Physics long ago left the realm of common sense, and those that do not understand the new ways long for the old ways, even the newest generations. Nevertheless, physics did advance, amazingly well. Now that the “easy” results have been picked, it is harder to move further. Everything experimental requires more money and bigger teams, and everything theoretical requires more math and more genius. What we get is more science by speculation and more calls for diversity and equality. And quacks. When few can understand the real science, quacks prosper.

          Some haven’t accepted quantum theories yet. It’s no surprise that string theories are hated.

    • Jim,
      See my comment below @ 1:48.
      Go to Luboš Motl (the Reference Frame ) and search on the names in this post.

      • Seriously don’t unless you like a good dose of toxic, Lubos does not like either let us just leave it at that.

        • Motl has the problem that he sees no error in what he does, and he’s seriously toxic in writing style. It is a shame that he makes himself so poisonous reading. He’s also a russophile, which makes me feel really bad; after what Soviet Union did to whole East Europe, it is rather difficult to understand why nationalist like Motl is so pro Putin’s Russia.

          • Motl grew up under communism. It’s not difficult to understand his stands, he explains them well. He is only “poisonous” to those who disagree. He certainly is not Politically Correct — but that does not make him wrong.

            Go back and look at his writings when trouble first started in the Ukraine.

          • Really he just doesn’t agree with or follow the normal science etiquette in politely pointing out you are wrong he uses a sledgehammer. He has been wrong on a few occasions but his strength is he can break most problems down to mathematics, where others can not. For grads with theories he is you worst nightmare and your best test of your pet theory 🙂

    • Sounds like Ms. Hossenfelder needs to quit complaining about others and go to work

      I think you got it all wrong and I also think Lubos Motl is very misguided in here. But it is not rare that great minds don’t agree on things, and only history will tell who was right on what.

      I value Hossenfelder as a thinker, and Motl as a string theorist, but not the other way around. Motl in horrible in philosophical questions he trods on.

      • However I think that Motl is correct that, unfortunately, a lot of protest and dissent against mainstream science including in the blogosphere, is not pure search for truth but is poisoned by envy of intelligence which turns into a form of general anti-intellectualism. Call it an intellectual penis envy. This often causes bloggers to turn on each other as well as lash out at the establishment. The ego must die in the search for truth.

      • The history has bolted, Lubos has contributed some fine papers on physics, correct countless errors on physics pages on wikipedia and to this day participates on advanced physics forums but can be a complete ar$e. Sabine does indeed have some interesting takes on philosophical questions and is probably a good mother and wife. That is pretty much how it will be recorded in history.

  6. Dark energy, dark matter, multiverse, string theory. It’s all a work of fiction, paid for by taxpayers.

    • It’s all a work of philosophy, which may be fantasy, faith, science, or unknowable. At this time, with near-observation and deduction, these ideas seem to intersect with, in the best case, faith, or, in the worst case, unknowable (e.g. theories of origin based on myth, assertion/assumption, and inference). They are also post-normal models of “consistent with”, which passes for science outside of the near-frame, observable, reproducible, and deduced. People want to believe, something, and political congruence is the mark of modern civilization.

    • I have no qualifications to give me any hope at all of understanding these concepts. I guess I do react a bit against the idea of dark energy, strings, and branes, perhaps for no better reason than they seem so alien to my thought processes. But doesn’t the confirmation of the Higgs, and the detection of gravity waves, represent some progress at least?

      ps – always liked the Multiverse idea. Seems quite logical to me, and the only thing I ever heard that could make some sense of quantum weirdness.

    • I partly disagree. Dark matter is an answer to inconvenient observation of rotation of galaxies. It is posited to bring observations in accord with laws of gravity. No one has ever observed it directly. If you believe in it, you are limited only by your fantasy. Theorists believe that it is composed of particles, just like visible matter.

      Dark energy is more theoretical, posited to explain an observed(?) acceleration of the expansion of the Universe. This observation is more indirect and has much larger error margins. I am old enough to remember the time when oldest Earth rocks were older than the Universe. The discrepancy was resolved by a discovery of two classes of Cepheids, variable stars which were used to measure the Universe -and suddenly the Universe was 15 billion years old, not 4 billion.

      String theory is a brave attempt to create a Theory of Everything. Unfortunately, it requires many dimensions beyond the three (plus time) we are used to. There are almost infinitely many ways to account for these additional dimensions, and each of them comes with its own set of not yet observed particles. It might well be the Theory of Everything, but right now it is a Theory of Anything.

      Multiverse – I prefer not to know anything about it.

      • As von Neumann is reported to have said, “With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk.” String theory seemingly has an infinitude of parameters (e.g. in how the extra dimensions are all curled up) which just seems crazy. I’ve only ever dipped my little toe into the ocean of string theory, but I sure hope it turns out to be nonsense. It just seems too arbitrary and complex to be a good candidate for TOE.

      • “and suddenly the Universe was 15 billion years old, not 4 billion.”

        At least this time the Astronomers’ did not do a Lord Kelvin and try to constrain Geology to the results of a physical model of planetary cooling with the flawed assumption of a totally solid earth.
        Maybe it’s just the professional courtesy of one observational science to another, or perhaps we are slowly beginning to discard the hubris that so clogs up the “Settled Science” TM that is ruled by models which do not agree with data.

  7. We should go back to traditional ideals of free research of free men. A patent clerk with good theoretical background has a better position than a junior scientist teaching at an university if professors judging his/her papers prefer to the ideals instead of giving deep state style favors to each other.

    Scientific peer review favors conjectures over validation. Students (below PhD) should just critically repeat existing papers. We should replace scientific journals with research pages of the universities (and other’s). These publish research for public review that others can do. Criticism given to others should be highly appreciated when researcher progresses in his/her career.

    • Master’s papers? No one would read them. They are largely sycophantic and boring. It is at that level that the paradigms are enforced.

      • Of course they’re sycophantic. That’s how you pass. On the other hand, it is possible to tweak the professor’s nose if you are willing to take a risk. I did and he didn’t dare fail me. On the other hand, he did give me the lowest mark he could get away with.

      • Sycophantic and boring? Geez, Crispin, I find that a Master’s thesis or two are the first things I read when I want to get up to speed with the current “state of the art” of some long rusty gateway of knowledge. But I’m talking Engineering, not Physics….

  8. We need to expand near-frame observation and deduction, and leave logical domain conflation and inference behind. Perhaps a venture beyond the fringe of our solar system, to confirm or reject the fidelity of signals received from without.

  9. i dont understand this obsession with CO2; explain glaciation. Demonstrating how different the glacial earth is from present would stop the CO2 business cold.

  10. Traditional ideals of free research of free men didn’t work out too well for Halton ARP when he carefully pointed to examples of discordant redshifts. Even his Nobel didn’t save him from being denied telescope time and calculatedly insulted by his peers.

    I’m still dubious whether his ideas have been given a fair evaluation, especially since if he is correct we will need to bin rather a lot of cosmology.

  11. When I was studying physics back in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s it was referred to as cookbook physics. At my small liberal arts uni they were doing x-ray crystallography. Most of the PHD holders had their degrees in this subject area and all they did was pick a different crystal to analyze every couple years. Write it up for the journals and they were all set for the next grant requests.

  12. “Any change will reduce the paper output, and they don’t want this.”

    That is when you get money for producing ‘quantity’. Quantity in quotations, quantity in accepted (!) articles in scientific magazines, quantity in ‘being in the news’ etc.

    In the old Sovjet Plan Economy glass factories were paid for the number of tons of glass windows they were producing. It was the most easy only to produce thick windows. But the market asked thinner windows as well. So the system was changed and the factories became paid for the number of square meters of windows they produced. Wanting lower costs for raw materials, the factories than decided to produce only (!) thin windows……

    You get what you ask. If you pay for quantity, you will never get (the needed) quality.

    • It’s the inevitable result of governments funding ‘science’ with taxpayers’ money. Eisenhower warned about it many years ago.

      Government science funding needs to be slashed, it not eliminated. Companies will pay for science that’s actually useful, and the Fake Science will simply disappear.

  13. Good review by Eric Worrall. When I graduated in 1962, I thought there were far to may particles to remember then.
    But Worrall shifted over to ask the question “Why is climate science stagnating?”
    Because governments are putting huge amounts of money into funding anything that enhances its power and revenues. So the world is again suffering “government science”. One previous example was that the Solar System rotated around the Vatican, using the then precise center of the universe,
    Another, of course, was the murderous concept and application of “Lysenkoism”, from the 1920s to 1964.
    However over the last decade, Svensmark and his team as well as work by Shaviv have made great strides with the cosmic ray-magnetic field variation-real climate change variation.
    Especially, the part when authorities in Europe tried to prevent Svensmark from using the accelerator to confirm his theory in the lab.
    Another bogus concept has been the notion that a committee can “manage” a national economy. First there is no such thing as a discrete national economy. The original tout behind the formation of the Federal Reserve System was that it could prevent the financial setbacks that preceded recessions. There has been 18 recessions since the Fed opened its doors in January 1914.
    This has been an incredible display of audacity.
    But it is minor compared to the audacity behind the ambition to “manage” the temperature of the nearest planet.
    Whew!

  14. I appreciate the analogy between physics and climate science. Much of it, as we know from the “peer” review system in climate publications, Climate Gate, and the like, that there is an “old boys network” which tends to suppress the work of those not part of the network. “Old boys” I use in the sense of past pupils of English Public Schools. Think “alumni”.

    However there is much that sounds like “sour grapes” from Sabine Hossenfelder. Theoretical physics must be a difficult discipline. Not many have really made it to the top. So, is she referring to only theoretical physics, or is she referring to the whole scope of physics? If the latter then she could not be more wrong. Think in terms of the advances in particle physics (LHC, FermiLab, and the like), results from the Hubble and other space telescopes, and recent advances in the application of quantum physics (entanglement and computation, for example).

    Practical physics is very expensive and will always win the lion’s share of funds available to the whole discipline. Is this, for her, the difficulty? If so, why? It seems to me Stephen Hawking managed to gain support for the directions he wished to take. On the other hand, practical physicists, such as Rutherford, always managed to find support to build the instrumentation they could not otherwise obtain.

    The big difference between physics and climate science is, however, what the vast amounts of money are being spent for. I would guess that many of us appreciate why the LHC cost many billions and the proposed Chinese accelerator many times more. Not many of us appreciate the similar amount of money spent on chasing the proverbial climate rainbow.

  15. There is a close analogy between particle physics and climate science, but a crucial difference. In the former the bulk of theorists work on confirming the “standard model”, but the hope is to find some phenomenon that doesn’t fit. In contrast the bulk of climate scientists work on confirming the “CO2 hypothesis”, but woe betide anyone who dares to mention any phenomenon that doesn’t fit.

    Particle physics is thus still a healthy science, but climate science is now largely theology.

  16. I have an example about this present culture that physical science does not allow any new and radical ideas. In Finland is my country man Tuomo Suntola who has a remarkable career in developing new physical methods and innovations. His first R&D work was a development a thin film humidity sensor Humicap for Vaisala Oy. It has been a market leader in meteorological humidity measurements since its introduction in 1979.
    His second development work was the development of ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition ) method for manufacturing semiconductors. This technology is used to manufacture ultra-thin material layers for a variety of devices such as computers, smartphones, microprocessores and memory devices enabling high performance in small size.

    On May 22, 2018 Tuomo Suntola won Finland’s take on the Nobel science prizes. The 74-year-old was awarded the Millennium Technology Prize worth one million euros ($1.18 million).

    What is more, he has developed a new theory called the Dynamic Universe (DU) theory. It is a holistic description of the observable physical reality. DU relies on absolute time and distance as coordinate quatitities essential for human comprehension and shows relativity in terms of local energy unit.
    According to my understanding this theory challenges Einstein’s relativity theory. According to Suntola, he could not get this paper published in any respected journal. So, he wrote a book about his theory and used his own money to get it published.

    Dr. Antero Ollila

    • How does the DU theory account for the time differences experienced by earth satellites?

      The author of this article claims that GPS coordinates would be skewed by miles in just one day were it not for time dilation corrections: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/einsteins-genius-changed-sciences-perception-gravity

      Ptolemy’s model of the solar system persisted for 1400 years until Copernicus showed that a system placing the sun at the center of the known universe was much simpler. Kepler defined the laws that explain elliptic planetary motion upon which Newton based his laws of motion and gravity. See https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/OrbitsHistory

    • Unless his theory does a better job of explaining all of the things that are explained by relativity, then it should be ignored.

      • So he claims. The theory is old skool, and awkward, but Suntola is not so crackpot as rather old crank.

        I haven’t studied the theory, but it is clear that Suntola”s original style including numerous mentions of Einstein doesn’t help making friends with contemporary cosmologists.

        I can’t decide if there resides some wisdom or just a misguided amateur with some grandieuse thinking. He wrote about the speed of light and contradicted with himself in a jiffy, by manner that suggested he’s not the best philosopher.

        Btw is awful more aweward than awesome?

  17. “Similarly in Physics, according to Lee Smolin and now to Sabine Hossenfelder, your career is fine as long as your research proposal falls within the parameters of what everyone else thinks it should be.”

    Chasing ghosts (e.g. dark energy) in modern physics is becoming subject of jokes. After another unsuccessful attempt to detect dark matter I read the following: in old, good days physicists were explaining to us their findings and how Universe works. Noways they are explaining only why they cannot find anything (dark matter, dark energy, multiverse etc.). And even in that they’re not particular convincing.

  18. Similar in Physics, according to Lee Smolin and now to Sabine Hossenfelder, your career is fine as long as your research proposal falls within the parameters of what everyone else thinks it should be.

    You see the same in Solar Science. Just think of [sometimes ugly] negative reactions to the revision of the Sunspot Number Series.

    • Leif,
      You can rationally explain and defend the “why” of all the corrections to past numbers. The solar physics field is healthy because arguments and disagreements can be discussed in the literature and conference presentations.

      – No one can defend the revisions that Tom Karl made to NCEI ocean temperature data set when he used the ship intake data to correct the more accurate buoy data, and then use the smaller uncertainty from the buoy data on the entire adjusted data set. So they suppress the dissent getting into publications.

      – No one can defend the methods used by Mann to create his hocket stick paleo-reconstructions that McKitrick and McIntyre exposed. So they suppress the dissent getting into publications.

      – No one can defend the climate modeling community validating their outputs by comparing them to other model outputs and not to observation. Those who try to are given pejorative labels to minimize them.

      Climate Science is diseased and dying as a result.

      • You can rationally explain and defend the “why” of all the corrections to past numbers.
        In spite of this, the revision is often vehemently dismissed by people on both sides of the debate…
        Even here on WUWT.

        • Einstein’s GR theory was vehemently dismissed by many of his peers and senior physicists. Some of it was ugly anti-semitism. Some of it was jealousy. And some of it was just anti-science stubbornness from scientists unable to accept variable time.

          But he held the day. And few, outside of science historians, remember his detractors’ names.

          To this day, good physicists are trying to find exceptions to his Equivalence Principle that underpins GR to point to something beyond GR. My suspicion is that will never succeed until we can examine the experiment from the outside. The observation that c never varies regardless of reference frame should be the big clue.

          • Even dear Einstein was sufficiently overwhelmed by the grouptink of Solvay 1927 that he did not stand up for the young deBroglie who closed his books for decades afterwards. J.S.Bell’s Speakable and Unspeakable in QM is an insider’s view into this.
            Born spent decades harassing Einstein who never submitted.
            And the very revealing insight on Bohr using “complimentarity” with a gnomish smirk meaning “contradictoriness” – shows what physics is infested with.

    • No Leif, there problem is in the physics any good student can easily shown what they believe is wrong and in some cases “not even wrong”. It is the way with actual science no-one cares what you think, or who you are they care what you can prove to be true.

  19. I amm of the opinion that most such “Knowledge”is sheer fiction.

    A good example i is the Big Bang thheory. No one assks where doess all the energy come from which would be required to expand a tiny ball, the condenssed Universe, to the giant size universe of today. Think energy and the whole concept of the Big Bang is nonsense.

    I am far more inclined to accept Fred Hoyles and the Induan scientists theory of “Steady State”

    MJE

    • Agreed, if scientists keep repeating the same words about current trend theories of:
      Big Bang,
      Global Cooling/Warming – Change,
      Black Holes,
      etc., etc..
      They solidify their pet theories and nothing changes, as fixation slows progress.
      It’ll be a boring world when we know everything, which of course can’t happen, as no one has touched on Abiogenesis and how Mind evolved from Matter – ‘What’s the Matter with Mind’ 😀

      • Stanley Miller demonstrated abiogenesis over 60 years ago. It’s not difficult to repeat his experiments and make many different amino acids that are found naturally.

        I find that the more we discover, the more wonderful the world and the universe is. Shame that the UNFCCC seem to want to end the spirit of discovery and pronounce their version of climatology as complete and irrefutable. The surface has barely been scratched, but they’ve got the answer we’ve paid for, and will continue to pay for if they get their way.

  20. Groupthink affects every avenue of human endeavour. Groupthink is the triumph of money over truth. In Climate science, corruption affects our finances. in medical research, corruption affects our health, in Physics, not so much.

  21. Crisis in science paradigms occurs when there are repeated, independent observations of a physical phenomenon that conflicts with or cannot fit into consensus theory.

    Examples:
    – Once telescopes came along, the independent observations of the Jovian moons clearly orbiting Jupiter put Earth-centric Ptolemaic celestial models in crisis 400 years ago.
    – The observation that antibiotics could cure gastric ulcers put the medical consensus on ulcers as caused by stress and too much acid production by the stomach into crisis.
    The list is rather long.

    Particle physics is not in crisis because every observation so far demonstrates the current Standard Model works very well. Cosmology is not in crisis (yet) because every actual observation so far supports General Relativity.

    The problem here that Sabine Hossenfelder highlights is that experimentalists can find no evidence to constrain so many different theories (that is to eliminate them), so they proliferate.

    The problem is they are finding no observational evidence from the LHC for things like the many different variations on Cold Dark Matter (CDM) theory envisions weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) to explain the rotation speed and formation of galaxies. But without WIMPs, galaxies like our own cannot be explained.
    And without Dark Energy, the apparent accelerating expansion of the universe (from 2 independent observations of type 1A Supernovae) cannot be explained.
    And without Inflation at the Big Bang, the universe we see in both the vast clusters of galaxies early after that beginning and the Cosmic Microwave background (CMB) cannot be explained.

    From the few observed Gravitational Waves, the LIGO/Virgo consortium of physicists have found (so far) no observational evidence for the existence of small, curled up extra dimensions predicted from String Theory, as these small, curled up dimensions should be permeable to gravity. So from String Theory, extra dimensions thus should bleed-off GW energy as the gravitational wave propagates the hundreds of millions of parsecs of intergalactic space to reach Earth’s detectors. Thus extra-dimensions would result in GWs that arrive at Earth’s detectors with less energy, as calculated from the binary blackhole inspiral “chirp” frequency spectrum. So far, there is no evidence of extra-dimension GW energy bleed-off and thus no evidence of extra-dimensions.

    All of these things makes the Theoretical Physicists uncomfortable because theories are proliferating with experimentalists unable to constrain them. At this point, it is not just a matter of building a bigger collider, but completely new kinds of basic experimental set-ups.

    This is all very different from the coming crisis in Climate Science, which is predictably coming. The adjustments to the surface temperature data sets can only go so far in a cooling planet that has seen many up and downs in the current interglacial. And the coming crisis in Climate Science won’t be because no one knows where to go with theory. The crisis will happen because the decades of outright dishonesty will come crashing down on the RentSeekers.

    • I take exception to your assessment that cosmology is not in crisis because everything is consistent with General Relativity. Cosmology is still addicted to epicycles; the latest being dark energy. Dark energy can be made to disappear by means of one very modest change to General Relativity that only allows gravity to be regarded as a real field rather than being merely a manifestation of spacetime geometry. Further, the cosmological redshift data can be encompassed nicely with only one free parameter and no dark energy. Partially separating gravity from General Relativity should also permit the development of a quantum field theory of gravity. It is amazing that no young theorists seem to be actively pursuing this at present. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1507.07809.pdf

      • The last sentence of your Abstract says CDM is still required for Yilmaz to be a consistent theory. CDM as WIMPs is possibly in crisis depending on your viewpoint. Light Bosons (< 5x proton rest mass) may be a possibility. And note I did put in the weasel word "yet". And despite intense efforts, the search is still empty on CDM. At this point, galactic unicorns or pixie dust theory works too.

        Without CDM, today's cosmology cannot explain why galaxies exist at all. Yet here we are.

  22. Yes.

    He pointed out that people stayed with groupthink (which he called ‘normal’ science) and suppressed any disturbing finding until the pressure became too great and the groupthink broke down in a paradigm shift.

    The only thing he got wrong was thinking that this referred to Science. It actually is the way ALL human thought works…

  23. Ask Luboš Motl (the Reference Frame ) what he thinks of her, and friends, and their ideas.

    Lumo, where are you?

  24. For Physics the answer is probably found in the necessitous of Dark Matter. I am not a “believer” in Dark Matter. Nor do I ever expect it will be “discovered”. But I am a believer that why it is needed is providing us a clue there there this is something as fantastic and revolutionary to be discovered as were Relativity and Quantum Mechanics where to 20th Century Physics.

    But as has been pointed out, the current incremental investigations may be insufficient. What happens to Physics when the energies required are beyond what is experimentally achievable? Or where there is no guidance in theory because there are no precedents? Or even sparse variations? It’s going to take some extremely weird “reasoning”. And it certainly will be astoundingly rebutted (at first) and it *will* require the persistence of amateurs, (as it did for the Natural Philosophers who came before Scientists) for it will certainly be along the rocky & narrow ridge of career suicide.

    • I don’t know where Luboš Motl gets his money, but many of his fellow travellers rely on money provided by ordinary people like ourselves to continue their research.

      So if we have a few questions from time to time about what they are doing with our money, he can stick his arrogance up his proverbial if he wants the flow of cash to continue.

    • Wow. A couple things jump out at me in that article by Motl.

      1: He uses a LOT of really childish insults to describe anyone he disagrees with.

      2: He constantly refers to Peter Woit as Peter W*it. I have no idea what that’s about, but it looks like more childish tantruming.

      3: He seems to have taken a throw away comment (that was probably ment as a joke) about ‘pulling the plug’ on potential future AI physicists if they won’t at least try to explain future science advances to us lowly humans so seriously that he needed to launch into a defense of the ‘Rights’ of future ‘silicon citizens’.

      Seriously, I know nothing of these people or their arguments, and know little about their science. But Motl comes across as a petulant man-child. It’s like watching ‘The Big Bang Theory’ on TV.

      ~¿~

    • Eric Worrall: “I don’t know where Luboš Motl gets his money, but many of his fellow travellers rely on money provided by ordinary people like ourselves to continue their research.”

      I doubt any money from “ordinary people like ourselves” makes its way to the Czech Republic (Czechia).

      Schitzree: “He constantly refers to Peter Woit as Peter W*it.”

      Because it’s a swear word to him.

      Schitzree: “It’s like watching ‘The Big Bang Theory’ on TV.”

      Yes, maybe BBT is modelled after him. He is very definitely a fan of it. He writes about this a lot.

      He has research and he has opinions. His research is beyond most people’s ability to judge. You may not like his opinions, but it is very useful to hear what a true skeptic thinks. You won’t hear his views on the MSM. They might seem like rants, but they are very well thought out.

      • I doubt any money from “ordinary people like ourselves” makes its way to the Czech Republic (Czechia).

        I’m sure the Czechs will be surprised to hear they don’t pay taxes.

        ^¿^

  25. “And nobody seems to have a solution for how to fix this problem.”

    Stop giving taxpayer money to the science community. That will cull the rubbish.

    • Bingo. You beat me to the punch. At this point it’s like bears at the town dump. They are going to be almost impossible to get rid of.

    • If you propose doing that, they will run around screeching: Atomic Bomb, Transistor, Lasers …

      Tell them that was 2 generations ago and ask them what have you done for me lately, they will yammer incomprehensible baffle-gab about the need for fundamental research.

      What we have here is white people on welfare. Politicians don’t have the heart to put them on the street.

  26. How could they possibly have stagnating groupthink? It is forbidden by policy. Just about every university spends millions on diversity and inclusion, including hiring highly paid people to head up such efforts. The even have forced (er, mandatory) scoldings and indoctrination lectures on this essential subject. So,almost by law all of these teams are so diverse that groupthink is by definition impossible.

    As proof of their diversity and inclusivity, just look at what percent of university faculty donated to the (D) party in the last election cycle.

  27. I still refer to Feynman’s “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts” — i.e we are fooling ourselves if we think we understand everything (anything? current theories?). And it will prob always be this way!!

  28. I look to Randell Mill’s work. He now in in touching distance of a working prototype. It seems like convention physics is just ignoring him.

  29. Like climatism, I suspect it’s due to an ossification caused by a few famous, and very comfortable, people at the top dominating both allowable opinions and direction of resources. Too ‘institutionalized’. Probably the same in fusion research too. Not enough time and resources given to people with genuinely new ideas, while the established elite gather ever more money and prestige to themselves, even as their discipline is being hollowed-out and rotting from within.

    All three that I have mentioned are characterized by a very long “turnover time”. I’m not referring to the people, but to the theories, models, and ideas. Thus it may take many decades for a bad idea to run it’s course. In chemistry or molecular biology, competitors in the field can do an experiment to prove you wrong in less than a week, not fifty years. This tends to help keep concentration here and now where it belongs.

    “But Master Yoda said to be mindful of the future.”
    “Not at the expense of the moment. Be mindful of the living Force.”

    Perhaps they should spend more time (and money) on something more immediately useful, not the grand problems of the universe or future climates. Sometimes the solution to a big problem arrives unexpectedly while you are doing something apparently much more trivial.

  30. Lee Smolin is a fascinating character. I heard him interviewed by James Delingpole, and then read his book “The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time”. He suggests that physical laws themselves are emergent and can vary over time. This is the opposite to the more common view that the laws are fixed and time itself is emergent.

  31. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237432405_Verification_of_time-reversibility_requirementfor_systems_satisfying_the_Evans-Searles_fluctuation_theorem

    THE MAJOR REASON WHY ALL CLIMATE COMPUTER MODELS ARE BOGUS

    When the climate computer models got sophisticated enough in the 90’s they found that the simulations were becoming unstable when run far enough in the future. So the climate modellers turned to mathematics to correct this. What they did was use the Evans Searles fluctuation theorem to damp down the stochastic process of the chaotic atmospheric system. This is a further refinement of the Fluctuation Dissipation Therorem which states that
    “The fluctuation–dissipation theorem says that when there is a process that dissipates energy, turning it into heat (e.g., friction), there is a reverse process related to thermal fluctuations. ”

    HOWEVER using the Evans Searles fluctuation theorem requires reversiblity of the process. In the above link I quote :

    “In the present paper, we confirm that the time-
    reversibility of the system dynamics is a necessary condition for the ESFT to hold. The man-
    ner in which the ESFT fails for systems that are not time-reversible is presented, and results
    are shown which demonstrate that systems which fail to satisfy the ESFT may still satisfy the
    Crooks relation (CR).”

    The earth atmosphere is not a reversible system.
    HOWEVER USING THE CROOKS relation doesnt save the climate scientists either BECAUSE

    I quote :
    “For systems in which the relaxed initial and final states
    have the same free energy, the Crooks relation (CR) states ”

    SINCE THE EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE NEVER HAS THE SAME ENERGY AT ANY TIME , the Crooks relation cannot be used.

    All these mathematical constructs were developed for enclosed energy systems where you can control everything. The attempt by climate scientists to use them in their computer code to model chaotic non linear systems where even all the degrees of freedom are not specified fully (Do you really believe that all the variables have been included in climate models?) is an assault against science itself.

  32. Are we seeing a generational/educational effect?
    Can we analyse by analogy?
    When will just one contemporary composer match Beethoven ?
    One modern artist match Rembrandt?
    Has society invented ways to suppress genius or even higher skill people?
    Have we turned gravels with the occasional diamond into uniform grey porridge?
    Geoff

  33. This article made me think of paper by Garrett Lisi a while back that took a fresh approach to a Theory Of Everything. It had its flaws but it was a very different way of looking for a TOE.

    Sabine and a few others were supportive but there was plenty of animosity from physicists including Motl. I never really understood why, but this article helps.

    I followed the story on the Not Even Wrong blog for a while.

    http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=617

    • Garrett is talking about infinite-dimensional E8 group and infinite spacetime cosmology. There are technical problems with these. I told him about it and I’m not satisfied with his answers. IDK if he can make a more sensible theory

  34. After Lee Smolin; Time is real, endures eternally, while space is emergent and contingent. Time does not ‘tick’, time is duration. Roberto Mangabera Unger did Lee Smolin and us no favors.

    Our Father, Creator, God, who art in Heaven, our universe, with us;
    Hallowed Holy be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done,
    On Earth as it is in Heaven. [The Pleas follow]. For Thine is the Kingdom
    and the Power and the Glory Forever and Ever.

    Our Univere does not admit the Supernatural, but some previous one did. He evolved to persist apart from evanescent space.

    My only remaining question is; does the ego survive discorporation. Will ‘I’ sit at God’s Right Hand?

    • “My only remaining question is; does the ego survive discorporation. Will ‘I’ sit at God’s Right Hand?”

      https://med.virginia.edu/perceptual-studies/research-area/children-who-report-memories-of-previous-lives/

      Children Who Report Memories of Previous Lives

      “Some young children, usually between the ages of 2 and 5, speak about memories of a previous life they claim to have lived. At the same time they often show behaviors, such as phobias or preferences, that are unusual within the context of their particular family and cannot be explained by any current life events. These memories appear to be concordant with the child’s statements about a previous life.

      In many cases of this type, the child’s statements have been shown to correspond accurately to facts in the life and death of a deceased person. Some of the children have birthmarks and birth defects that correspond to wounds or other marks on the deceased person whose life is being remembered by the child. In numerous cases postmortem reports have confirmed these correspondences. Older children may retain these apparent memories, but generally they seem to fade around the age of 7 . The young subjects of these cases have been found all over the world including Europe and North America.”

      end excerpt

      I don’t know if the ego survives. We have to die to find out, it seems. I’ve looked for ways to find this out without dying, but so far have been unsuccessful.

      If the ego does survive, you may come back for another shot of life rather than sitting at God’s Right Hand. Supposedly, you keep coming back to rid yourself of illusions and when that has been acomplished you transcend birth and death, and perhaps then you can sit at the Right Hand of God.

      I saw a television program some time ago ( a year of two) about a young boy, who from a very early age, told his parents about a past life as a man who had served in the U.S. Navy during World War II in the Pacific theater and was killed in action. This kid knew names of fellow servicemenbers and naval ships. He knew things he couldn’t possibly have known. He described the name of a US Navy vessel that upon cursory search could not be found in the hstoric record, but a subsequent, more detailed search found that the kid was exactly right, there was a ship by that name and it was involved in the naval battle the kid described.

      The kid has even connected with the family of the man who died in the battle and they also believe he is the reincarnation of their relative.

      It’s an amazing story.

      If we can’t explain this, then we don’t know everything that’s going on in the universe.

      According to the tv show, the university has about 1,500 similar cases on file of children recounting past life experiences.

      Btw, I’m not promoting reincarnation. My position is: I don’t know. And I’ll probably have to die to find out any real answers. But I try to practice the Golden Rule so maybe that will be sufficient for either way it goes, death of the ego, or continuation of the ego.

  35. The whole matter of Global warming come climate come disruptive weather come …..

    It can be easily fixed.

    First prove that the molucle CO2, with two parts of Oxygen and only one part
    of Carbon, does not store heat, but re-radiates it in the real world, not the PC or a in a enclosed jar in a classroom.

    Two. In the Oceans, all 73 % cent of them, plus all the water on land. They are the flywheels of the system. Via the wind they spread the heat energy around the globe. The bumps, ie Mountains, call local variations.

    And Three, “Time” That factor which is so important, but disliked by so many as just too far away.

    MJE

  36. “When you have a hammer everything starts looking like a nail”

    One of the problems with physics today is that they are addicted to smashing things with bigger and bigger hammers. They can’t even see what they’re looking for. There only able to infer it’s existence by looking for decay particles. Sort of like smashing a clock and then looking at the resultant shards and inferring what the clock must look like. They may have gone beyond the point of diminishing returns by this approach.

  37. I’ve been thinking about asking this question among those here for some time. Looks like this is a good time!

    My 75 year young mother has an interest to learn about physics, so could anyone recommend a good introductory book for a layman with no previous experience?

    Many thanks!

    • I have always recommended two sources:
      1. The Feynman Cornell Messenger Lecture Series from 1964. In my opinion, nobody explains physics as simply and as hubris free as Feynman. The lectures are available online at

      http://www.cornell.edu/video/playlist/richard-feynman-messenger-lectures

      A famous and favorite bite is in Lecture 7 at about the 16:30 minute mark, in which he explains how physics is done in language that has never been bettered, in my opinion.

      2. Another possible source is available on youtube (possibly also from PBS) and is called Crash Course Physics. They can be watched one at a time. They are generally about 10 minutes long. They are actually geared toward students taking physics, but the illustrations are first rate. Dr. Shini Somara is an excellent narrator. They don’t shirk from giving equations, but in context, they make sense, and of course the students need them. These can be found at

      https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8dPuuaLjXtN0ge7yDk_UA0ldZJdhwkoV

      Finally, a very good introduction to “understanding” physics is Feynman’s introductory section in his little book QED, which I will quote at length here:

      From Richard P. Feynman, QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter
      (Note QED here means Quantum ElectroDynamics, not Quod Erat Demonstrandum. The little book is a more or less accurate reflection of a series of lectures he gave at UCLA. As a boy he was inspired to study calculus from a book that began, “What one fool can do, another can.” He dedicated this book to his readers with similar words, “What one fool can understand, another can.”)

      “Most of the phenomena you are familiar with involve the interaction of light and electrons–all of chemistry and biology, for example. The only phenomena that are not covered by this theory are phenomena of gravitation and nuclear phenomena; everything else is contained in this theory.
      What I am going to tell you about is what we teach our physics students in the third or fourth year of graduate school—and you think I’m going to explain it to you so you can understand it? No, you’re not going to be able to understand it. Why, then, am I going to bother you with all this? Why are you going to sit here all this time, when you won’t be able to understand what I am going to say? It is my task to convince you not to turn away because you don’t understand it. You see, my physics students don’t understand it either. That is because I don’t understand it. Nobody does.

      I’d like to talk a little bit about understanding. When we have a lecture, there are many reasons why you might not understand the speaker. One is, his language is bad – he doesn’t say what he means to say, or he says it upside down – and it is hard to understand. That is a rather trivial matter, and I’ll try my best to avoid too much of my New York accent.

      Another possibility, especially if the lecturer is a physicist, is that he uses ordinary words such as “work” or “action” or “energy” or even, as you shall see, “light” for some technical purpose. Thus when I talk about “work” in physics, I don’t mean the same thing when I talk about “work” on the street. During this lecture I might use one of those words without noticing that it is being used in this unusual way. I’ll try my best to catch myself—that’s my job—but it is an error that is easy to make.

      The next reason that you might think you do not understand what I am telling you is, while I am describing to you how Nature works, you won’t understand why Nature works that way. But you see, nobody understands that. I can’t explain why Nature behaves in this peculiar way.

      Finally, there is this possibility: after I tell you something you just can’t believe it. You can’t accept it. A little screen comes down and you don’t listen anymore. I’m going to describe to you how Nature is—and if you don’t like it, that’s going to get in the way of your understanding it. It’s a problem that physicists have learned to deal with: They’ve learned to realize that whether they like a theory or they don’t like a theory is not the essential question. Rather, it is whether or not the theory gives predictions that agree with experiment. It is not a question of whether a theory is philosophically delightful, or easy to understand, or perfectly reasonable from the point of view of common sense. The theory of quantum electrodynamics describes Nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And it agrees fully with experiment. So I hope you can accept Nature as She is—absurd.”

      A final note, perhaps to be discussed later, is that it may be inconsistent to hold climate science (or cosmology, or evolution, or a number of other wonderful disciplines) to the same theory-experiment paradigm as physics (and likely the other basic sciences chemistry and biology). Perhaps more on that later.

      • If Feynman was alive today he would overturn this CO2 scam in a day. With his stature he would have been able to standup to the scam artists. He was a generalist that seemed to know about everything. It was easier in those days to know everything. Now a scientist knows more and more about less and less until he is useless outside his narrowly defined field.

        • Feynman did make one contribution to the debunking. He demonstrated mathematically that you don’t need CO2 or other “greenhouse” gases to have a warm planetary surface. All you need is the pressure differential generated by a planet’s gravity (it shifts the effective black body surface upward). Atmospheric mass and density determine the surface temperature, not greenhouse gases.

      • “Perhaps more on that later.”
        fah,
        Sooner please.
        Given that “it’s basic physics” (or words to that effect) are the standard repost to any query or challenge, go for it and don’t hold back.

        • PM: Sorry for the delay. While once-retired, I am still over committed.

          Unfortunately, conversations about climate science have a pall over them of connection to various political action advocacy positions. This seems to lead to a good bit of impugning of motives and focusing more on winning of some kind of contest than of improving understanding. It is too bad, but it is what it is for now. Two notions often arise that really should not be unclear. Call the two main “camps” in the conversation Side A, and Side B. Side A is sometimes called the camp of skeptics, deniers, non-alarmists, or whatever, and Side B can contain people sometimes called alarmists, mainstream consensus, or whatever.

          Side A often claims that anthropogenic CO2 dominated global warming (let’s call this ACDGW) is not “valid” because it has not been demonstrated in a controlled experiment, and that therefore, ACDGW is not scientifically justified (at least not yet). Side B often claims that the “science” of ACDGW is just “basic physics” and that therefore it is as established as basic physics and anyone who disputes that statement is, well, a scientific simpleton.

          It is helpful to be clear when discussing either A or B’s claims about what “science” is or is not. The word “science” sometimes means different things to different people. Focusing on just the physical and life sciences (and mostly physics) it is helpful to distinguish between two general classes of “science.” One could be called basic science and would include physics, chemistry, and biology. Another could be called complex or interdisciplinary science. (But don’t get riled up yet, wait for some explanation, neither is “better” or “worse” than the other).

          The central characteristic of basic sciences in this view is that they proceed by (of course constantly making observations) but fundamentally 1) propose a theory of how something works (not why, just how) 2) formulate the theory in non-arbitrary mathematical terms that can predict the outcomes of controlled experiments isolating the “something” and 3) perform controlled experiments and compare the non-arbitrary, previously well defined, predictions of the theory with the experimental outcome. If the prediction and the outcome are close enough, then the theory is, for now, assumed to not be wrong. Other theories, that predict outcomes that can be ruled out by the error bounds of repeated experiments, preferably using multiple phenomena and methods, are assumed to be wrong.

          The central difference between basic sciences and complex sciences is that (usually) in a complex science the definition of the problem rules out performing controlled experiments. Astrophysics and cosmology are good examples of this kind of science. Climate science is another. The approach of these sciences is to observe the system (or systems) under study, compare the phenomena that appear to be involved with phenomena from the basic sciences for which there is experimental evidence, and construct a theory that mathematically explains observed behavior and predicts future behavior in terms of results of experiments that can be performed, albeit not on the complete system. A key distinction is that what the theory does is explain current and past observations and predict future observations, but the observations are necessarily not controlled experiments. By definition of the system under study, a controlled experiment is not possible. Nevertheless, a theory is judged better or worse than another theory if it agrees the most with observations, both present/past and future. Because a single or a few definitive controlled experiments are not available to rule out incorrect theories, it can take longer to find a definitive complex theory. For example, in cosmology, working theories have gone from steady-state, to open big bang, to open inflationary big bang, to closed big bang with dark matter, etc. etc. Various alternatives, such as cosmologies in which the “constants” of the universe are functions of the universe itself and change as the universe evolves in time, have taken quite some time to rule out observationally (almost but not quite). In astrophysics, the original notion that a black hole was simply a mathematical oddity, a solution of Einstein’s equations, for an isolated mass in an empty universe, and that it did not represent anything that would occur in reality. That view evolved over the past 60 years or so such that black hole existence currently agrees more with observations than other explanations for a variety of astronomical systems. Another good example is the theory of stellar evolution. Based on the initial mass of a star at formation (assuming a pristine formation) the theory predicts how the star will evolve in time, what its luminosity and spectral output will be, whether and how long it will be a so-called main sequence star, how and when it will depart from the main sequence and become a giant or dwarf, or whether it will follow another path perhaps to an explosive event and collapse to a neutron star or black hole. All of these predictions are based on observations of many stellar objects and computer models that incorporate as much as we know about underlying physics (even basic physics) from experiments performed in labs or other facilities. None of the predictions are experimentally confirmed by a controlled experiment on a forming and evolving star.

          In this view, climate science is much more a complex science than a basic science. As such, the insistence that climate science “prove” its theory by experimental demonstration misunderstands this difference within the practice of “science”. From this perspective the insistence (usually by Side A) on experimental proof should not be constantly raised since it is essentially a straw man. Climate science need no more test its theories with experiments (to be considered “valid” in some sense) than should cosmology. It is unlikely (we hope) that we will have the opportunity to interact with a black hole, but the theories describing them are nevertheless constantly tested against observations, as in the recent observations of gravitational waves from what was most likely a collision of black holes.

          You point out that Side B often claims that climate science, in particular ACDGW, is just “basic physics,” and hence anyone who disputes its tenets is a scientific simpleton, akin to disputing the validity of Newtonian mechanics and gravity in regimes in which it applies, or relativistic theories when needed. This claim is wrong on several accounts, but mostly it has to do with what the meaning of “is” is (to quote a famous former president). The apparent intended use of “is” in “is basic physics” means to state that ACDGW = basic physics and therefore any quality of validity of basic physics is also held by ACDGW. This equality is false on a number of levels.

          First, trivially, if ACDGW = basic physics, then ACDGW would be taught within physics departments as a required course alongside mechanics, stat mech, QM, EM, maybe fluid mech, solid state physics, plasma physics, particle physics, and relativity for undergraduates with more advanced courses in all of these plus perhaps other specialized courses in field theory, math methods, etc. To my knowledge, ACGW or even the broader climate science, is not taught within physics departments but instead finds its home in other departments named things like meteorology and atmospheric science, or earth science, or something else typically with “science” appended and perhaps including oceanic or environmental in the title. On this count, climate science is not basic physics in the way the subjects mentioned above are basic physics and the equality lacks merit.

          Second, the equality does not hold since basic physics is a basic science as described above and depends on comparison with controlled experiments for testing its theories. ACDGW can not and does not do so (which is no shame, it is just its nature) and therefore is not equal to basic physics. Period.

          Third, ACDGW is not equal to basic physics because some of its fundamental concepts and quantities are peculiar to ACDGW and are not within physics at all. Things like “forcings” and “feedbacks” are much more at home in computer science or perhaps applied numerical techniques and engineering science than in basic physics. To my knowledge forcings and feedbacks are not part of the standard basic physics curriculum. One of the key quantities of interest seems to be the global spatial (and somewhat time) average of local temperature readings. It is often called an average global temperature, or various distinct subsets of it, but in the view of basic physics, the quantity is (as most of Side A is aware) not a temperature at all. In basic physics a global temperature would be (an intensive property of the global system) the differential of the global energy with respect to the global entropy (two extensive properties of the global system). But the global system is a big thing. Even just the global surface is a big thing, extending over land and ocean surfaces with widely varying properties, coupled to immense non-equilibrium thermodynamic systems such as oceans, and geology and atmospheres, including many mechanical sinks and sources and phase changes and on and on. To get a global temperature using basic physics one would need to specify the global energy and entropy and then find the differential of that somehow. It’s not too hard to show, under a variety of simplifying assumptions, that the average of the temperatures of a collection of systems is poorly (often chaotically) related to the temperature obtained from the summed system properties (energy and entropy). But it is even worse, since the sub systems, and likely the whole system, are not in equilibrium and the notion and definition of temperature as described above assumes equilibrium. All of this should not be viewed as a criticism of ACDGW for being wrong or bad for spending so much time with an average of global temperatures. It may be the right kind of thing to follow. But it definitely is not basic physics.

          The more correct statement side B could make is that ACDGW “uses” basic physics. But that does not translate the property of validity that goes along with equality to basic physics. Validity needs to be found another way, whatever is best for a complex science. Lots of theories “use” basic physics but are not determined to be valid. All of the various cosmological theories have “used” basic physics, but as some of them made predictions that became harder and harder to contort to fit observations, they were thought to be less and less valid. (At least until they are resurrected by new observations or clever modifications.) Astrology “uses” basic physics to get the positions of the planets and stars and whatever else is part of it, but its predictions are either wrong or so vague as to be impossible to non-arbitrarily confirm the theory.

          Summarizing:

          1. The fact that ACDGW is not confirmed by controlled experiment does not mean that it is an invalid theory, any more than the current theory of stellar evolution is invalid on that basis. Its validity needs to be judged by the standards of the kind of science it is.

          2. ACDGW uses basic physics but it does not equal basic physics. The validity of basic physics says nothing about the validity of ACDGW, which must be judged by the standards of the kind of science it is.

          Finally, the issue of validity of a theory comes up. In a basic science, one could view validity as the property that the theories are not shown to be wrong by any of many experiments so far performed. In a complex science, I am not expert, but my guess is that validity would be a result of how many observations show the theory not to be wrong, including future observations. The only difficulty apparent to me is that in the absence of control over the experiment (or observation), it can be difficult to rule out alternative explanations of observations. This process should not be viewed as a flaw in the science, but simply essential to its nature.

    • It is. Atoms are mostly empty space. This is why neutrons can go through most shielding. Charged particles get deflected by the electrostatic field inside or near an atom. Neutrons (and neutrinos) don’t.

  38. There is a colossal hindrance in cosmology and physics. We have to struggle to do our own projects and wonder how wrong many others are. The fact we do not know the origin of particles, forces, symmetry, gravity, consciousness, the origin of the universe and the theory of everything is mainly due to the fragmentation of physics: I happen to know that the fragments are: dark matter, dark energy, gravity, mass, String theory, theory of everything, origin of universe, the Standard Model, name it there are so many. In fact I happen to know how and why because the universe is like a living organism. All the different parts work as an integrated whole. Within the Theory of Everything you will see how all the forces and groups of the main particles make absolute sense and so you can more easily see what is the concept of the origin of the universe and the how and why of practically everything. The Higgs can be seen to be a logical creation and there is no second Higgs . However mathematically the universe is far more complicated and what the String theories are dealing with is elementary compared to the realities of spacetime, forces and particles. Dark matter has no particular nature. Dark energy does not exist. We go back 100 percent the standard model organization.

    • I probably should give you sort of grad student rating of all those in the science blogosphere

      Top tier:
      Lubos Motl: (https://motls.blogspot.com/) almost savant in his ability with mathematics. His caustic wit and extreme politics however makes him hard going for many. Regardless his science skill is extremely well regarded and most undergrads and grads read it.
      Tommaso Dorigo: (https://www.science20.com/quantum_diaries_survivor) Very mainstream active researcher and now teacher. Not as good with theory as Lubos but has the experimentation background that Lubos does not.
      Adam Falkowski: (http://resonaances.blogspot.com/) In early days was pretty much required reading by everyone. Personal life issues has reduced his blog entries to often months apart but still required reading for most.

      Above Average:
      Matt Strassler (https://profmattstrassler.com/) For layman this is the site I would recommend it is pretty much mainstream and given you may be starting out where you need to go. He is a very active researcher and blogger but more than that good at dealing the silly questions. His science knowledge is formidable but his communication skills even higher.

      Average:
      Sean Carroll (https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/) He is a mathematician who has now ventured into QM and Cosmology and unfortunately his lack of background in some areas of science brings him down. He falls into holes and ideas that have long been shown to be false and finds it hard to dig himself out. Lubos considers him a crackpot because he plays around in areas of QM long since buried and known wrong. He is however a good communicator and makes you think just be careful accepting his answers many are easily falsifiable.

      Below Average:
      Ethan Seigel (https://medium.com/starts-with-a-bang) Astrophysicist who if he stuck to that area would be really interesting. He often ventures out into broader physics topics and there gets torn to pieces. Many of his articles in the general physics topics are basically no better than a google search and often blatantly wrong. Read him for the astrophysics articles and take the more general stuff as probably wrong.

  39. The human race is devolving.
    The brain was the latest evolution and the will be first to lose functionality.
    We now have reverse natural selection breeding an idiocracy.
    Research will be produce more junk results in the future,
    as scientists lose fundamental understanding of science.

    • Lysenkoism had its day in the USSR.
      This climate fraud fever will pass too. We can only hope the host survives.

    • The Left embraced Eugenics at the turn of the 20th Century because those same feelings of humanity’s devolution due to inferior races breeding. Mendelian genetics and Darwin’s natural selection theories were all the rage in gilded parlor hall discussions at that time. Monochromatic pictures of people of color living in squalor from around the globe were their version of today’s Facebook and Instagram. It fueled vicious racism. The kind of racism that eventually led to the 3rd Reich’s ugly version of Lebensraum and gas chambers for not just Jews, but Gypsies, and the mentally handicapped taken from sanitariums.

      Today’s Liberals are not that much different from yesteryear’s Eugenicists. Like those of yesterday, today’s Liberals want to control via raw political power who can procreate, who can attain wealth, who can have access to the “good life” of abundance.
      And there is no ethical principle or moral value that will stand in their way. Only men and women of sound character and principle can stop them.

      • I am not, and no one else I know of, are advocating any action on the issue.
        And there is no action that would have the slightest chance of working,
        especially since 99.99% of people would not support it.
        We just have to wait to see how it plays out.

  40. Peer review guarantees that an article is not only not written by one of them cranky cranks but is also, mirabile dictu, Kosher, Halal and Orthodox.

    • Extra-ordinary claims still requires extra-oridinary evidence.
      So far, outside of climate science, I see no violation of this position.

      Climate science is the only science realm today whereby extraordinary claims of global catastrophe rests of the weakest of (or even no) evidence. Climate science has thus descended to quackery of models without validation.

      Today’s mainstream consensus Climate science is very much a diseased gangrenous limb on the Body Science. And like a gangrenous foot on the body, it will not vote for its own needed amputation. Only the body can do that amputation, which is needed at this point. Science must bring to effect the discipline needed to contain the rot and disease that is spreading from Climate pseudo-Science into the Body Science.

      • “Climate science is the only science realm today whereby extraordinary claims of global catastrophe rests of the weakest of (or even no) evidence. Climate science has thus descended to quackery of models without validation.”

        Exactly right!

  41. https://www.cfact.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/StateDepartmentNov95.pdf

    Just as in the 40’s and 50’s when the US State department was infiltrated to the highest levels with Communists (which resulted in the US stopping support for Chiang Kai Shek and letting Mao take over China), it seems that the US State department has never really got rid of the Communists in its midst. The above is a document which the State Department denies exists but was written by them in the Clinton era. It is a letter from them to the IPCC working group 1 which is the science working group of the IPCC.
    The letter is one long list of suggestions from the Deputy Assistant secretary Acting Environment and Development, a Mr. Mount who is certainly no scientist. The letter can be summarized in 1 quote below

    “What is missing from the summary statement is just how sure we are that our best guess is the right one. ”

    Don’t forget that this is 1995 and the climate models are not that sophisticated , compared to today. If the science is unclear today, it certainly was back then. This is an attempt by the State Department to undermine the USA by forging a link to CO2 and climate to lead to the mess we are in today.

    What is important to note that once a Communist agent gets into a high position within a government department he can hire other Communist agents underneath him. They dont have to have any further contact with foreign governments from then on because they will wreak havoc by themselves with the objective of always undermining the capitalist position. They are extremely slick and often almost impossible to root out. The only solution to this is that every so often, each government department should be completely dissolved and replaced from scratch with loyal people that adhere to capitalism and freedom.

    Notice that dictators like Stalin have followed that solution with the difference being that he executed anybody that had even a whiff of suspicion on them and quite a few , that weren’t even on the list of suspicion.

  42. Also, 99% of the research is about defining the magnitude of the problem (what’s going to happen if nothing is done – alarmism) instead of the more obvious research focus, how to solve the problem

  43. Sounds like the impatience of youth.
    The longing for each and everyone’s 5 minutes of fame, well Sabine Hossenfelder you’ve had your now clear the stage… next!

  44. First one learns how to pass the driving test; after that, one learns to drive.

    So it is with gaining a Ph.d. in Theoretical Physics; or so it would seem?

  45. The entire fundamentals of Physics as a subject are seriously broken and need work. But no one is interested, and if you attempt to publish a paper which is against the “group belief” then you are banned, loose your job, and very effectively silenced.

    Lets look at the basis of “climate change”, the latest name to cover up the fact there is no process happening which can be described. Greenhouse gas? Well as there is no such thing as the greenhouse effect, we are already in cloud cuckoo land. The experiments have been done, proved there is no effect, but they ignore all this and invent something which can be used to confuse everyone. Radiation thermodynamics is understood fairly well, except in the case of black body radiation, but that does not stop certain persons making claims which do not match experimental science. Then there is this magic 2% or 1.5% or whatever. Blame wild fires on a change of less than 1 degree in average global temperature? Good idea, but devoid of science. Remove all the positive feedback from models? Bad idea, then they say that the climate is stable and our funding will stop. It is always about money, particularly in the UN.

  46. The dynamics of the scientific world are a lot different from what most people think. Nobody likes a revolutionary. When half of someone’s career is built on string theory, pitching it in the trash is a hard thing to do. If that happens, what are they an expert in? Nothing. String theory has many years of non-progress to go before students decide to focus on something else, and the current crop of scientists die out.

  47. I am really old school. I believe the ether exist and is involved with each part of reality. I see particle physics as a chase for unstable balls of ether. The only stable one is a proton. Electrons are actually a charge void. Now with this understanding the great minds dealing with electricity and magnetism launched us into the modern age. I think science took a wrong turn around 1920 and has pretty much dead ended ever since. I see all modern devices resting on the work of the great minds at the turn of the century. I do not think great advancements in science will occur until we reexamine our roots.

    Let the stoning begin.

      • Actually the experiments have been done it is the interpretation that needs to be changed. When science views experiments through the lens of a paradigm the conclusions match the paradigm. Let us take the Michelson Morley experiment. Everyone assumed that the ether would instill a drift in the speed of light. That is because they did not understand the ether or light. There are two parts to light, the electrostatic part and the magnetic part. The electrostatic part if alone in the ether travels at infinite speed. So drift can not be attached to the electrostatic part of light. Now the magnetic part is linked to normal space and is the part that slows down light because it is actually propagating through normal space. The propagation is also why the speed slows when it goes through more dense material. It also accounts to why light speeds back up when it leaves a dense material. So the experiment was actually measuring the propagation of light in normal space. The ether did not come into play.

        • “The electrostatic part if alone in the ether travels at infinite speed.”

          No it does not. Nothing travels faster than the speed of light.

          • So goes the paradigm. The whole of science is swimming in group think. Some more than others. It is not my job or desire to change science. If the current paradigm makes you happy then I am happy for you. I happen to agree with a different paradigm. It is the future paradigm of science. Let science develop for a few million years. I suspect the understanding of future scientist will agree with me. Now one could feel that science has everything correct and no advancements will be made in a few million years. But I think history is on my side when I say that science will be vastly different in understanding in a few million years.

  48. The underlying spaces used in fundamental physics, space time, phase spaces, twistor space whichever are built on spaces that are differentiable so calculus can be utilised in the mathematical formulation. If the fundamentals are not built on differentiable spaces then progress will stop at some point until another mathematical paradigm can be found. A bit like water behaves according to Navier-Stokes equations until one gets down to the molecular level where it is actually particles tumbling about.

  49. Particle physics is a joke these days. She’s correct. So is Astronomy.

    One example of how idiots can be seen as geniuses is Prof Brian Cox and his AGW defence on Australian TV.

    He acted like a complete fool, make nonsensical arguments. How is someone so ignorant and moronic meant to further the field, well he did nothing for PP, and he ran away to become an entertainer, much like de Grasse Tyson who also flopped in Astronomy and ran away too from the field because the work was too hard

  50. The book I mentioned above about today’s “liberals” and yesterday’s eugenics promoters is:
    “Liberal Fascism”
    Jonah Goldberg
    Doubleday
    2007
    A highlight line is:
    “It is my argument that American liberalism is a totalitarian political religion.”

    And the line I like to use is Murray Gell-Mann’s definition of a totalitarian system:
    That which is not compulsory is prohibited.

  51. Dr Sabine, it’s worse than you think. Universities have been ruined beyond redemption by social justice/industrial democracy/equality of outcomes/affirmative action mumbo jumbo from the neomarxsbrothers. They decimated standards and threw the doors open wide. They even had to create a few dozen faculties for witless scholars (notably gender issue ones that didnt admit men, although that may have been because they worried no men would apply (remember the “Feminine Glaciology” paper that got published because no one had the guts to turn it down?).

    Yeah, but we are talking physics here! Sorry, even it has been watered down. Up to the first quarter of 20th Century, an individual so motivated could read the entire body of scientific, humanities and Belles Lettres literature. Since, although most of the science had already been discovered, “scholarly lit” mushroomed to 10s of millions of largely worthless verbiage. The fabled infinite number of chimps with an infinite number of typewriters sort of thing (we aren’t talking about the marvels of engineering here).

    Most climate scientists claim to be “physicists”. When
    97% Cook did his analysis, the only thing that struck me about it was that he had 12,000 (!) papers published in a decade to consult. 1200 a year. 24 papers a week. 3 papers per workday for ten years!! A colossal waste of money, resources and time that will have to be dumped after the game is up.

    We can apparently just hang on to Tyndall’s and Arhenius’s 19th century few days of thought with one linear formula that hasn’t seen any refinement, despite a few hundred billion spent by the numberless minnions with numberless keyboards.

  52. I managed to get booted from a Physics forum somewhere over a decade ago for having the audacity to question the speed of light. Empirically, the Michelson-Morley experiments were just over a century and a half ago. To say this is the absolute speed of light is analogous to sticking a thermometer out the window at any random second in the last millenia and claiming this is the temperature for all time. A couple years ago I noticed an Italian physicist was raising the same question. I wish him luck with his endeavors.

    • The assumption of the constant speed of light was one of the most fruitful in modern physics. So far there are no observations or experiments contradicting it. Of course, you can engage in just any speculation – and I wish you luck. Booting you from a forum seems uncalled for, unless you posted many thousands words.

    • Albert A. Michelson did his experiment.
      Came away miffed:
      Need a more accurate interferometer,
      Back to the drawing board; can’t get the drift.

  53. In other words science appears to resemble every other part of our current culture. This is surprising how?

  54. What positive, new and original hypothesis is Sabine Hossenfelder herself proposing? Aside from endlessly denigrating the research of others?

    It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Go on, Sabine – now is your chance to refute all those sexist and misogynistic assumptions about gender and scientific discovery. Be the next Lynn Margulies!

  55. Six words, one concept that explains _loads_ of what seemingly baffles so-called nuclear science: Grand Unified Theory of Classical Physics.

  56. As far as physics ‘breakthroughs’ go – what happened about the ‘faster-than-light’ particles detected from the LHC a couple of years ago? And, thinking of the LHC, have they got any further with the Higgs boson? I haven’t read anything in the MSM about EITHER of those discoveries.

  57. “If you want to ask uncomfortable questions like “Since the observable Universe is relativistic, why is most string theory based on the assumption that space and time are immutable?“, you may have trouble getting your grant proposal approved, because your grant proposal will be reviewed by scientists who built their careers writing papers based on flawed assumptions which you want to question.”

    Actually, you’ll have trouble getting your grant proposal approved because this is a stupid question. _Perturbative_ string theory assumes a fixed background, but this is no more surprising than that the perturbative Standard Model assumes a fixed vacuum, despite the fact that the vacuum in the SM is degenerate (aka The Higgs mechanism). This is how perturbation theory works; you assume a starting point and consider the dynamics of small deviations about this starting point. Works for masses and springs, works for experimentally verified particle physics models, and there’s no reason in principle why it can’t work for string theory.

    I have no dog in this fight; I don’t know if string theory is a good description of reality at the fundamental level, but to say that the background dependence of typical perturbative formulations is some serious deficiency is just wrong.

  58. This article in The Atlantic was mentioned above. It’s worth repeating and reading.
    “Science Is Getting Less Bang for Its Buck”
    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/11/diminishing-returns-science/575665/

    The first figure there says it all:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/posts/2018/11/Untitled_design_4/f39402350.png

    Brief History of The Decline of Science.
    1. Scientists were amateurs, some with royal patrons.
    2. Scientists worked for universities, in effect their patrons
    3. WWII happened and scientists invented many things, from radar to atomic bombs to nuclear power.
    4. Science became cool. Scientists became superstars and the money started poring in.
    5. The baby boom happened and the economy was good.
    6. Baby boomers grew up and went to university and created a degree explosion.
    7. Universities changed, the baby boomers changed the universities, the courses, the degrees.
    8. Physics PhDs started driving taxis.

    It’s safe to assume that the proportion of genius in the population did not change, which means that the scientist population was diluted with more of the lesser gifted sort. Just a guess.

  59. They just keep doing what they’ve been doing for 40 years, blathering about naturalness and multiversesand shifting their “predictions,” once again, to the next larger particle collider –>

    … about naturalness and multiverses -and- shifting their predictions …

  60. “Any change will reduce the paper output, and they don’t want this” — that’s a good one!

    less papers, more insights!

  61. “why is most string theory based on the assumption that space and time are immutable?“

    Because: in a muted space and time we would never know space and time were muted.

    With every new mutation we were mutet TOO, thinking we were borne that way. Into that mutet universe.
    ________________________________________________

    Maybe there’s a lot of mutable universes. They spring into existence and get lost likely fast – no duration, they’re mutable = unstable, mortal.
    ________________________________________________

    But that’s a good example:

    who believes in travel-faster-than-the-speed-of-light will never want to hear about a boring plain flat universe.

    and who believes in man made CAGW will never want to hear about plain meteorological basics.

  62. With every new mutation we were mutet TOO, thinking we were borne that way. Into that mutet universe.

    Because: if we were THE ONLY OBJECTS UNALTERED TO FIT INTO THAT ALTERED UNIVERSE

    our shear existence would abandon that altered universe.

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