The Trouble with Physics

That is the new book by Lee Smolin.  It is a fascinating take on theories of physics which have not worked out, including but not only string theory.  The author explains why progress in particle physics is tough, opposes the anthropic principle and multiverses, explains string theory better than its popular science proponents, and sees a future in "loop quantum gravity."  He stresses how differing views on "frame of reference dependence" underlie differences in fundamental approaches.  Highly recommended, and yes it does go beyond other popular science books on similar topics.  Excerpt:

As I reflect on the scientific careers of the people I have known these last thirty years, it seems to me more and more that these career decisions hinge on character.  Some people will happily jump on the next big thing, give it all they’ve got, and in this way make important contributions to fast-moving fields.  Others just don’t have the temperament to do this.  Some people need to think through everything very carefully, and this takes time, as they get easily confused.  It’s not hard to feel superior to such people, until you remember that Einstein was one of them.  In my experience, the truly shocking new ideas and innovations tend to come from such people.


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