A contrarian argues that modern physicists' obsession with beauty has given us wonderful math but bad science. Whether pondering black holes or predicting discoveries at CERN, physicists believe the best theories are beautiful, natural, and elegant, and this standard separates popular theories from disposable ones. This is why, Sabine Hossenfelder argues, we have not seen a major breakthrough in the foundations of physics for more than four decades. The belief in beauty has become so dogmatic that it now conflicts with scientific objectivity: observation has been unable to confirm mindboggling theories, like supersymmetry or grand unification, invented by physicists based on aesthetic criteria. Worse, these "too good to not be true" theories are actually untestable and they have left the field in a cul-de-sac. To escape, physicists must rethink their methods. Only by embracing reality as it is can science discover the truth....
|Title||:||Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray|
|Number of Pages||:||291 pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray Reviews
Sabine Hossenfelder says the book description was not written by her. For a better idea of what the book is about, see her blog post on it.
I have no way to judge Dr. Hossenfelder’s qualifications as a theoretical physicist, but I can say up front, she’s one hell of a writer.
I have a bunch of notes, but you know what? If you just want a straight review, go to Steven Woit’s, linked below. My first impressions: theoretical physicists are supposed to come up with stuff that can be tested by experiment. If you can’t test the idea, or if it flunks the test, you move on (see Feynman). Physicists have been working away for *30 years* to tr ...more
Really interesting approach to looking at math, theories of physics. Its always great to look at things we have been taught for granted, and it can be a little disconcerting, if not liberating to look at things through a new prism.
Really enjoyed, made me use my brain. Try it, you will like it.
Thematically similar to Smolin's "The Trouble with Physics" but not so similar as to be uninteresting. Contains some brief excerpts from interviews with a variety of physicists with widely differing views on the relevance of aesthetic principles in cooking up new physics. I found the style informal in a pleasant way, and there was enough technical detail (especially in the notes) for my taste as well.
The author is someone who rates their own books on Goodreads...
One of my favourite illustrations from a science title was in Fred Hoyle's book on his quasi-steady state theory. It shows a large flock of geese all following each other, which he likened to the state of theoretical physics. In the very readable Lost in Math, physicist Sabine Hossenfelder exposes the way that in certain areas of physics, this is all too realistic a picture. (Hossenfelder gives Hoyle's cosmological theory short shrift, incidentally, though, to be fair, it wasn't given anywhere n ...more
A look at high-energy particle physics* in its present nightmare (of deep inconsistency and vastly expensive new data). Her thesis is that the problem is sociological and aesthetic: in the absence of new data sources, we form cliques and regroup around incompatible, unempirical beauty intuitions.
it leads me to conjecture that the laws of nature are beautiful because physicists constantly tell each other those laws are beautiful.
experimentalists working with a detector developed to catch neut...more
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
Implausifiability in Physics: “Lost in Math - How Beauty Leads Physics Astray” by Sabine Hossenfelder
“The time it takes to test a new fundamental law of nature can be longer than a scientist’s career. This forces theorists to draw upon criteria other than empirical adequacy to decide which research avenues to pursue. Aesthetic appeal is one of them. In our search for new ideas, beauty plays many roles. It’s a guide, a reward, a motivat ...more