Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder : Physics in Crisis

Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder is a prolific social media physics outreach star with many videos on YouTube, a blog (www.backreaction.com), Twitter, Facebook, and she also wrote a book I highly recommend.

Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray by [Sabine Hossenfelder]

Her book is now out in paperback which is announced in a recent video by Sabine. I’ll extract a few key quotes from her video and as usual, my remarks will be from the perspective of NPQG.

Sabine’s starting point is the correct assessment that physicists have not made progress in the foundations of physics for 40 years. “The problems [physicists] are trying to solve today are the same problems we were trying to solve half a century ago.”

“We have to look at the type of breakthrough where a theoretical prediction turned out to be correct. Think of Einstein and Dirac […] What did these correct predictions have in common? They were based on theoretical advances which resolved an inconsistency in existing theories. What I mean by inconsistency here is an internal logical disagreement. The conclusion I draw from looking at the history of physics is that we should stop trying to make our theories prettier. “

Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder

The irony is that Sabine is correct about current physics, but wrong about nature. Physicists are deeply intertwined and interlocked with the mathematics that they have developed to model nature and match experimental observations. However, they are operating at a scale far larger than the fundamentals of nature from which everything emerges.

When physicists break through the layer of complexity that has blocked their progress for the last 40 years, they will learn that nature is extremely parsimonious and in a way beautiful. The richness and diversity of the structure that emerges from positive and negative point charges is quite frankly a jaw dropping wonder.

J Mark Morris : San Diego : California