Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray
In this "provocative" book (New York Times), a contrarian physicist argues that her field's modern 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.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - fpagan - LibraryThing
A physicist's complaint. Hossenfelder thinks the last several decades' paucity of major advances in fundamental physics is partly due to an overemphasis on simplicity, "naturalness", and elegance ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - antao - LibraryThing
“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 ... Read full review
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