Saturday, November 07, 2009

Experimental Search for Quantum Gravity 2010

I'm organizing a workshop!
will take place July 12-16 at Nordita, in the top intelligent city of the world, beautiful Stockholm, Sweden. This is the 2010 installation of our 2007 PI workshop of which you can find my summary here.

We meanwhile have the website up, and a preliminary list of participants.

The purpose of the workshop is to bring together people who study various possibilities to experimentally test quantum gravity in order to assess these possibilities and encourage discussions. Some topics are:

  • Predictions for existent and planned earth based experiments (accelerators, high-precision measurements), possibly in scenarios with a lowered Planck scale.
  • Cosmological measurements: signatures from the universe's early quantum phase (in the cosmic microwave/neutrino/graviton background, large and small scale structure)
  • Astrophysical measurements: cosmic rays, gamma-ray bursts, supernovae.
  • Quantum effects caused by space-time fuzziness (decoherence), status and proposals for experiments.
  • Miscellaneous and other (emergent gravity, non-locality, etc.).

Yesterday, I submitted an application for conference support to the Swedish Research Council. (Many thanks to Thomas for helping with a Swedish title!) If this application goes through, most of the grant is meant to support students or postdocs in the early career stages, who have little or no travel grants available. I would really like to give these young researchers the opportunity to participate and learn something about what is still a very young field. So, if you feel addressed, mark the week July 12-16, and send me a note to be put on the waiting list (hossi at nordita dot org).

Since the topic touches on many different fields the workshop is bound to be interesting, and I'm very much looking forward to it.

69 comments:

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

It’s gratifying to find you are assuming a central role in a project for which you where part of its beginnings. I also find it compassionate of you to be concerned about the new researchers having the means to be able to participate, so that they and the whole endeavour might become more fruitful. This presents also as a opportunity to forge and strengthen the ties between Perimeter and Nordita. Thus I wish you succes regarding your grant application and I’m confident it will be approved if they properly consider the gravity of the situation. A bit of pun perhaps, yet one of a serious nature.

Best,

Phil

Steven Colyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven Colyer said...

Yes, here here, well done, Bee. We look forward to your daily reports here at this blog, or your summary actually as I'm sure you'll be quite busy in-workshop.

May I suggest you have at least one seminar deconstructing "The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory" by Scientific American's George Musser, which has been out for a few years and is likely the number one resource for the public (and therefore eventually the decision-making politicians) on the subject?

Particularly, I mean the top ten ways to prove String Theory in that book. Having read the book, I was pleasantly surprised at the attention he gives to other theories in QG, in order: Loop Quantum Gravity, Causal Dynamic Triangulations which he calls Buckyspace, and Causal Sets; but given the title you can tell which way he leans. No mention of Connes, alas.

String Theory for Dummies by Andrew Jones will be out Nov 16. I can hardly wait. I love deconstructing stuff.

Bee said...

Hi Steven,

Sure, I will have more updates. However, while your suggestion it is certainly interesting, the topic of the workshop is the experimental search for quantum gravity, and not book reviews. We will probably have some discussion session though, maybe you have a topic or a question to suggest? Best,

B.

Bee said...

Btw: In case that isn't obvious, I get the comments by email, including all your typo corrections. I would prefer the typos...

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

Well, it's still fresh in my mind how annoying it is not to be able to go to a place where one could learn what one is interested in, just because the funds aren't where they should be. And yes, I surely wish PI would do more phenomenology. Best,

B.

Robert L. Oldershaw said...

Dr. Hossenfelder,

If you, or other conference members, would like any help with the critical step of determining whether the tests of QG models are:

(1) definitive, i.e., doable, quantitative, unique and NON-ADJUSTABLE, or

(2) effectively not predictions at all: impractical, hermetic, non-unique, and adjustable-to-fit-all-data,

I would be only too happy to offer my sevices.

For Free,
RLO
www.amherst.edu/~rloldershaw

Phil Warnell said...

HI Bee,

Perhaps your influence will have them to eventually see things differently. Oh yes, by the way, although I to receive Steven's many revisions, I find it heartening that at least for now I have a rival in this. In regards to this I checked out the specs on the new Windows 7 hoping they had come up with a logic checker, to augment spelling and grammar checking, yet unfortunately I still have to wait; well perhaps window 8 will have it, as hope springs eternal :-)


Best,

Phil

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

Yeah, Steven has out-competed you with revisions. Let me assure you that my brain is able to correct a lot of grammar and spelling bugs, so there really is no need to be impeccable. Best,

B.

Bee said...

This makes me wonder though whether the 15-minutes correction-feature at Cosmic Variance had a positive impact? Do you know whether Sean ever summarized their experience after they introduced that?

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

I must admit not to reading Sean’s blog as much as I should, although I noticed the feature and found it useful regarding a recent comment I left. From my own experience it did then prove being helpful. It also gives one pause to consider if your comment is warranted in the first place. I’d call that as serving as being a good conscious checker of sorts. Of course then again there are some that don’t seem to understanad the concept and thus would find no utility in it :-)

Best,

Phil

Giotis said...

July is a good date. The weather would be nice and some of the participants will have the time to recover from the last burst.

Uncle Al said...

Suppose the Equivalence Principle has an empirical exception. What quantized gravitation theory does not demand it, explicitly by postulate or implicitly by argument? An axiomatic system is no stronger than its weakest axiom.

A problem cannot be solved with the thinking that created it. Somebody should perform the parity Eotvos experiment. Theory must always bow to observation.

Robert L. Oldershaw said...

Hi All,

If anyone wonders what I mean by a "definitive prediction", I would like to show you 3 specific predictions that are simple, straightforward and definitive.

Go to: the CosmoCoffee Blog.

Choose the Understanding Cosmology section.

Choose "The Gravitational Coupling Constant...".

Go to pg. 6 [the last pg.] and read the last 2 posts dated 11/6 and 11/7.

These definitive predictions are the type of predictions that theoretical physics should be able to offer. The observational tests are underway. Preliminary results are already available.

Definitive predictions let us know if we are "in the right ballpark" or drifting randomly in an imaginary dimension, or 10.

RLO
www.amherst.edu/~rloldershaw

Steven Colyer said...

Regarding this first topic:

"Predictions for existent and planned earth based experiments (accelerators, high-precision measurements), possibly in scenarios with a lowered Planck scale."

Is there a complete list for non-accelerator high precision measurements? I have LIGO, VIRGO, Auger, and up in the sky, Gravity Probe B, whose funding I believe runs out next month, yes? I presume the "lowered Planck scale" is because of the Fermi results?

That's a wonderful list of topics Bee and hopefully you attract 4 times the number signed up already otherwise how can all those topics be discussed in satisfactory detail?

Also, well done on where the money will be spent.

Bee said...

Hi Steven,

No, sorry, I have no complete list.

I presume the "lowered Planck scale" is because of the Fermi results?

No, lowered Planck scale refers to scenarios with large extra dimensions, in which quantum gravity can become important at energy scales much lower than usually thought. The reason is that the usual argument relies on an extrapolation of the gravitational interaction over 16 orders of magnitude beyond what we have tested so far. If there is a qualitative modification that becomes important at lower scales, like eg the mentioned extra dimensions, quantum gravitational effects can be much stronger. That btw is the scenario in which production of black holes can become possible at the LHC, I'm sure you've heard of that. This has nothing to do with the Fermi result, since these models do not have an energy dependent speed of light.

hopefully you attract 4 times the number signed up already otherwise how can all those topics be discussed in satisfactory detail?

More participants isn't always beneficial for a more satisfactory discussion. In my experience, with more than 50 people discussions become unconstructive, thus I'll keep this small. Best,

B.

Captain InterStellar said...

Hi Bee,

Any comments on Schiller's speculative strand model which among his other predictions:

http://www.motionmountain.net/research/index.html

"No quantum gravity effect will ever be observed - not counting the cosmological constant and the masses of the elementary particles"?

Cheers, Paul.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

In reading your response to Steven, discussing the different approaches regarding the various extra dimensions proposals, with some having them curled up while in others there large, yet not having themselves evident for various reasons, a question comes to mind. That being has there ever been to your knowledge any serious consideration given to have entities of lesser dimension being responsible for the phenomena and action found in our world.

That is to suppose things of one, two or even fractional dimension might exist that are individually real? I guess what provokes me to ask such a question is brought on when we struggle to imagine how things of extra dimension are and how they might appear when presented in a three dimensional world. Of course the classic example of this is to imagine a four dimensional sphere (hypersphere), passing through the space directly in front of us, where it would appear at first as a small (dotlike) sphere, growing to a larger size, then shrinking again until finally vanishing from sight. This had me always wonder how entities of lesser dimension would present themselves in the world in terms of phenomena and action? I’m not proposing any theory here, just simply wondering if such considerations have ever been explored.


Best,

Phil

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

When you talked about conferences having a optimum size at which they would be the most productive, it has my mind go back to that now famous picture of the attendance of the Fifth Solvay Conference , which was a by invitation only affair. In counting the numbers I get 29 attendees and had a thought come to mind. That being, if you were to organize such a conference today, which was focused on the quantum gravity question and the numbers where to be limited the same, who might those people be? The first thing to note here is with the Solvay Conference it was not just attended by theorists, yet rather a mixture of both experimental physicists and theorists, which for me always presented as being useful in terms of having each better able to keep their eye on the ball.

Best,

Phil

Steven Colyer said...

@ Bee – Thank you for your prompt response. Um, fine, if the workshop is such that all participants at the workshop are in one place at one time, then I can see 50 people as a rational upper bound. I was thinking there would be 4 mini-workshops (one for each topic) going on simultaneously, such that 25 people per lecture hall/auditorium would cut down on the noise level, with Q&A roundtable/discussions being videotaped not just for posterity, but for those wishing to review discussions they couldn’t attend being able to review them in the evening or later when they returned home.

@Phil – I like where your head is at. I’m personally investigating the same stuff, specifically that Ted Kaluza was right on the mark exploring a 5th dimension, but that Oscar Klein’s assertion that “extra” dimensions being “rolled up” was wrong (i.e., I explore the next higher D as 5th dimensional intersections with 3-1 4D spacetime rather than little rolled up balls). I’m not saying he was wrong, I’m just exploring it. I’m not trying to step on String Theorists toes here, as they worship Kaluza/Klein as well as SR Lorentz-invariance holding all the way down to L=0. Fractals are indeed astounding, and if you read Oldershaw’s stuff you’ll note he also worships at the feet of Mandelbrot; however he apparently rejects quarks and asymptotic freedom which is an attitude I have a hard time wrapping my head around. To paraphrase John Stewart Bell commenting on Many-Worlds: “well if that’s true than nothing else is true.” I can’t see us going forward in Physics if the many falsifiable but not falsified results of QCD are wrong, as I consider QCD a given assumption that any theory must at least explain or at worst not ignore.

Indeed Phil I like your reminder for us to at least consider 5th dimensionality so much I’m going to change my image to a hypercube or tesseract. Uh huh, that’s where my head is at. Also, I believe many of your questions were begun to be taken seriously in that eventful month of September 2001, at Perimeter in its first month, when João Magueijo became Perimeter’s 2nd vistor, and he and Lee Smolin et. al. banged out a lot of the gravity in 2+1 spacetime maths. Lee offers up a nice non-technical description of that stuff beginning on page 232 of the chapter “Building on Einstein” in his book “The Trouble with Physics”, and continuing to the end of the chapter.

@ Bee again – will any Randall or Sundrum advocates attend, or Randall or Sundrum themselves? Also, what of the Quantum Computing group at MIT? They do massive hands-on work at the quantum level, and I bet they could not only offer up good real world advice of “real-world decoherence” but possibly learn quite a bit themselves from the wonderful theorists I note you have lined up so far. Also, how many CDT folks will be there (I didn’t see Renate Loll’s name on your list) and what is the current status of buckyspace, currently?

@ Phil gain – I’m afraid you’ll be regaining your title as King of the Typos soon as I am sufficiently embarrassed as to write and heavily proofread my stuff on Word before submitting. My apologies, Bee.

Bee said...

Steven: We will have some talks on models with extra dimensions, yes. As I said earlier, the workshop is on experimental search for quantum gravity, period. It's not a survey for models for quantum gravity, it's not a workshop on book reviews, it's on experimental search for quantum gravity. Fay might be speaking on CDT, but as you can see on the website we don't yet have abstracts.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Steven,

“I like where your head is at. I’m personally investigating the same stuff”.

That’s of course is the most interesting thing about science and particularly physics, is to discover that our world and with it reality is much different then as it first presents itself as being. That’s why I find it hard to imagine a physicist being anything other than a Platonist, at least in the sense that they spend their time and effort not interpreting the shadows, as the prisoners of Plato’s cave where content to do, yet rather attempting to discover what might be responsible for them.

So whichever it turns out to be in the end, for me the only thing that rests as being important, is that the shadows be revealed for what they are, that being only the consequences of our limit of perception, as for what the light truly is when discovered .

The ultimate hope and dream of course, is that we come to the point where we are no longer the captive slaves held at the mercy of the shadows, yet rather have become so free as able to be their masters. Those are the kind of thoughts that I would like to inspire and serve to drive humanity, rather than the fear and uncertainty which it presently seems to be the only thing it rallies in response to.

Best,

Phil

Bee said...

Hi Steven,

I hope that we will be able to record all the talks and put them online. I've been told the technical equipment is available, we'll see how it works in practice. Best,

B.

Steven Colyer said...

@ Bee – that’s the second time you mentioned, “book review.” I assure you I did not review that #1 most popular book on String Theory/Quantum Gravity. I only pointed out that The Top Ten Ways to Test String Theory list in that book would probably be the list that the political non-Scientific pursestring-holders would use first as a benchmark to compare what I feel will be the much more realistic results to come out of your wonderful workshop, in order to decide where to distribute government funds. That’s all I was saying. So yes, I think that list should be discussed.

Personally, I think its disgusting that p[people with very little knowledge of CURRENT science have as much say as they do as to where the funds get distributed, but that’s Politics! I would personally prefer they read Woit’s NEW and Lee’s TTWP, but those two books are not the top 2, which in my opinion, they should be.

Here are the top 13 books on ST that come up at Amazon, which it where the politicos will look first when it’s money-dispensing time, like it or not, and no I don’t like it. We’ll continue down the list till we get to Woit’s book, then one more for good measure:

List of String Theory Books, in order, that come up when you input “String Theory” at amazon.com

1) The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory by George Musser (2008)
2) A First Course in String Theory by Barton Zwiebach (2009)
3) String Theory and M-Theory: A Modern Introduction by Katrin Becker, Melanie Becker, and John H. Schwarz (2007)
4) The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory by Brian Greene (2003)
5) String Theory, Vol. 1 (Cambridge Monographs on Mathematical Physics) by Joseph Polchinski (Paperback-2005)
6) The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, The Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next by Lee Smolin (Paperback - Sep 4, 2007)
7) String Theory Demystified by David McMahon (2008)
8) String Theory For Dummies (For Dummies (Math & Science)) by Andrew Zimmerman Jones (Paperback - Nov 16, 2009)
- good grief, the book isn’t even out yet! That’s pre-ordering for you.
9) String Theory in a Nutshell by Elias Kiritsis (2007)
10) String Theory, Vol. 2 (Cambridge Monographs on Mathematical Physics) by Joseph Polchinski (Paperback - Jul 11, 2005)
11) Supersymmetry and String Theory: Beyond the Standard Model by Michael Dine (2007)
12) Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law for Unity in Physical Law by Peter Woit (Paperback - Sep 3, 2007)

Since we don’t want Leonard Susskind to be left out, here’s the next entry:

13) The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design by Leonard Susskind (Paperback - Dec 1, 2006)

Bee said...

Sorry for the misunderstanding. I though with "deconstructing George Musser's book" you meant discussing its content. Which is definitely not what we'll do at this workshop, most of the participants probably won't have read it. Best,

B.

Plato said...

Hi Phil,

I liked your example of a sphere as well. "A zipper" opening in front of you on a bridge while a leg emerges to step into our reality?

Sometimes, if you place yourself in a future position, the landscape around you changes and you begin to see how things would react according too. So it's a way of seeing how the world can exist if one sees what the moment has in store for us, can produce( So you create the circumstance as a now.)Has nothing to do with fear but the removal of boundaries and circumstance, as a choice

But again to your points on the shadows.

Through mathematical analogy, Abbott sought to show that establishing scientific truth requires a leap of faith and that, conversely, miracles can be explained in terms that don't violate physical laws. Like early scientific theories, miracles could be merely shadows of phenomena beyond everyday experience or intrusions from higher dimensions. Flatland raises the fundamental question of how to deal with something transcendental, especially when recognizing that one will never be able to grasp its full nature and meaning. It's the kind of challenge that pure mathematicians face when they venture into higher dimensions. How do mathematicians organize their insights? How do they see and understand multidimensional worlds? How do they communicate their insights? Flatland is a novel approach toward answering those questions.---Shadows from Higher Dimensions by Ivars Peterson

Thomas Banchoff came to mind.

To understand why some geometers are Platonists, it is important to understand how they see?

This is why sometimes an artist can push the boundaries of such circumstance to allow the scientist to actually see what he has produced geometrically.

Best,

S.C. Kavassalis said...

I hope the "Cosmological measurements" topic will produce some great new suggestions for methods to hint at the global topological structure of the universe - I think "circle matching" in the CMB may not be progressing.

George Musser said...

Steven: Goodness, I hope that politicians won't use the list in my book as a guide for dispensing money! I wrote that list simply to demonstrate that quantum gravity and GUTs are empirically accessible; it's not a prioritized or comprehensive survey. If you have thoughts on this list or other parts of the book, I'd love to hear them; you can contact me offline at gmusser@sciam.com.

George

Plato said...

Hopefully he is able to cope with adding more to his plate while we wait to hear how he completes the solar panel project?:)

Best,

Steven Colyer said...

Hi George Musser,

Thanks for writing. I definitely like your book and in spite of the slight but noted bias toward String Theory, I find it a very fair assessment of various Quantum Gravity theories. Indeed if you revise it later, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Quantum Physics" might be more descriptive. But, um, OK, "String Theory" is the bigger seller to the public, thanks to the aggressive marketing of their theory by String Theorists.

Indeed, other than Lee Smolin's "The Trouble with Physics," I don't think there is a better book out there about Buckyspace.

No, no single politician will read any of those books, that's why they have "people," who do and will, thus leaving the boss more time to play gold with the President, or vote on bills they also haven't read.

But yes, you book is listed first (is success all that bad?) so if the politicians' people read only one book on the subject, it will be yours, I'm sure. It remains to be seen how your competition's book out on the 16th will do.

Hey I read your Wiki entry and I see we have several common interests: Scientific American, Cornell, Venus, and Solar Energy. I will definitely be writing to you tomorrow, thanks for your e-mail address.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Steven,

It appears this blog has a reach and power I never realized before, that is if one wants to make contact with a book’s author, all one has to do is leave a critique of their book here in the comments. This blog must have a readership even far wider than I ever imagined. Actually that raises a interesting point, for if all one does is receive the RSS feed of their favourite blogs, does it count in terms of its ranking, as no actual clicks are recorded.

In as I’m also a avid reader of such books I would wonder if you feel that Muller has said anything more about string theory that you would find as being more compelling then the arguments of Brian Greene. Also as not having read it and as being primarily a fence sitter in all this I just wondered what you take was.

Best,

Phil

Steven Colyer said...

It's Musser, not Muller, Phil.

Greene and Kaku write good introductory books on String Theory, but they're also very one-sided (in favor). I've read them, and the critics' as well.

In that regard I strongly recommend Musser's book, it's ST leaning but very fair toward other points of view. Then read Lisa Randall's Warped Passages chapters on the history of ST. She seems to accept some ST but rejects AP (keep reading) albeit in a very nice diplomatic way, regarding ST's internal Civil War.

The civil war going on in String Theory: Susskind (Stanford) and Polchinski (Kavli) et. al. in favor of the AP = "Anthropic Landscape" and Gross (Kavli's head) and Princeton-IAS et. al. against AP. Peter "Pit Bull" Woit's book "Not Even Wrong" gives an extremely detailed account of the war and should be required reading.

Then there's my hero, Lee Smolin, Mr. Diplomacy in all of this. He doesn't reject ST, indeed to him it's a length scale issue, with LQG possibly being true at the smallest levels and possibly building up to ST. But because he's nice, Lubos "Stubborn Mule" Motl goes after Smolin, as did Joe Polchinski, father of the D-brane and D-brane / p-brane duality in ST, but in a fair and gentlemanly manner as opposed to Lubos. Brian Greene thanks Lee for being at least open to ST. Neither Motl or Polchinski or Susskind is going to go after Woit because they like their heads right where they are, on their necks, and because Woit's expository skills are without peer, in "Not Even Wrong" he sets his case up beautifully.

Musser does an excellent job of explaining the situation.

The gist of Woit's and Smolin's books is this: FAR too much of the percentage of High Energy Physics funds by the American government (NSF and DoE) have gone to String Theory in the last 25 years; there ARE other worthy approaches, and the funny thing is, their 2006 books have had an effect, politically! But sadly, also at the expense of other ongoing fields like QED, as the overall funding of HEP has diminished. Enter Perimeter, and the funding of seers like Bee kept safe and sound from the screwed-up American system. We have a chance.

Personally, I find the 2 ongoing String Theory Wars sad and immature, but that's people, and where there's people and money, there's politics. Sigh.

At least it's very entertaining. :-}

Bee said...

Except that Bee is no longer at Perimeter, is she?

Steven Colyer said...

That's right, Bee and Stefan are in Sweden. You can take the girl out of Perimeter, but you'll never take Perimeter out of the girl once she's worked there, right?

Same goes for Surfer Dude, yes? :-}

Correction: a few posts up I said Musser's revised text should be (IMO) "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Quantum Physics", but I meant to say "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Quantum GRAVITY"

Damn my one-quarter dyslexia. I hate me that way.

Plato said...

Like Phil I can't comment on George's book, but if you've been around long enough and are following discussion boards and compilers of information(books supplying the latest synopsis) like George has done, then you can sort of stay close to where research is currently going on. Stay close to our science bloggers.

As a science journalist running a science magazine you need to be able to offer subscribers and avid readers something new to look at, right?:)

So last I seen, George's roof was prepped for the panels.

But to the point of "sharing animosity" of a particular research area its more likely that the characterization of individuals, and their opinion of an individual can take over. Rather should have been, one offers an opinion about this particular research area or that, and that to me is sort of the issue in production of the "science wars" then what is the underlying issue with regards to falsifier of the proposals being put forth.

Even while our host Bee has remain diplomatic in terms of the how Lee has conducted himself as Steven portrays, she has been kind enough to hold a standard here about bashing of any kind while holding her beliefs. Why I think Lee offers his insights to articles Bee puts forward.

Science first right?:)

Distilling the essence of leading researchers in quantum gravity and their discussion is more toward the reporting and recognition of differences of opinion, that progression can be seen.

Made much like, had taken place when one understands Stanley Mandelstam's movement and Lee's recognition of the limits of where this research had gone on. Then admits, the limitations of what he is cognizant of in the valleys and then moves forward in discussion. In all this PI continues to maintain discussions in all research areas.

While writing a book and offering opinion, it did not stop the active discussion of his colleagues.

If someone cannot move along and follow in that discussion, then I think they are limited in their perspective on the subject of a particular area and are less then willing and able to meet at that level for discussion.

This is not what comes forward in science diplomacy when hearing opinions about those characters more then about one's effort in one's research area or another.

Best,

Phil Warnell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil Warnell said...

Hi Steve,

I wish I could claim my butchering of the author’s name was a simple typo, yet “s” and “l” are to be found on the opposite sides of the keyboard, so Dr. Musser please accept my apology. I thank you for your take on the other books, although most of the titles you cite I have read and am familiar with what could be call the politics of the theories as opposed to their substance. I also draw a sharp distinction between books focused around the exploration of the subject and those that actually turn out being disguised autobiographies, as in being primarily self promotional. So for me of the ones you have mentioned Green, Randal, and Smolin do an excellent job of explaining and sharing with the reader their fascination with the subject, while some of others you noted for me are the tongue in cheek standing on the shoulders of giants type, with their posture leaving me less confident in what they are proposing.

With all that said, you really didn’t say how Musser fairs at all this. That is does he bring a different prospective or offer a greater insight to the reader regarding string theory, as to what has him convinced it represents nature at a deeper level. In that context I’ve been recently going through Christopher Schiller’s new speculations with his Strand model and find it to lend a useful perspective on things. I find some of his ideas consistent and very similar to Sundance Bison’s concept, yet haven’t found where he’s given him any credit for them.

In the end however I must confess the one thing that has me the most perplexed regarding all the current popular approaches is in them all denying, in one way or other, the utility for the existence of space as possibly being a construct representing an indivisible whole, that has consequence when considered being alongside aspects of the divisible domain; although I must say Schiller comes the closest in such respect. Plainly put it’s this aspect of nature as being in part indivisible, for which David Bohm first made serious note of, is something I feel that most theorists today still refuse to fully recognize or dance around at best in terms of any serious explanation. Further I think the premature passing of J.S. Bell was certainly a great loss in such regard, for he demonstrated a great ability for seeing through all the smoke and mirrors, to have his colleagues to look straight in the mirror they hold as being their own, which of course is science itself, as to what being its method, utility and purpose in serving as representing as being an explanation of nature.

Best,

Phil

Steven Colyer said...

- can you give us a link to anything by Christopher Schiller, Phil? Cuz I did a Wiki and Google search and got nothing.
- no problem messing up people's names, none of us are perfect and we all make that mistake from time to time
- Sundance BISON ? Did he shorten his name? I thought Sundance O'Bilson-Wilson was the coolest name ever in MathPhys, just ahead of Surfer Dude. Well OK if so, Bison is cool enough.
- Musser's book is fine and gives a grand overview, especially about Buckyspace. I think he actually did submit the book as "Quantum Gravity", but the editor overrode that idea and made him use "String Theory", instead. One thing he notes about Peter Woit is that Woit is being too impatient regarding ST results. I'm sure Peter would object. But there's very little sign that ST is even close to a prediction, IMO and hundreds of others'. It is however IMO The Greatest Story Ever (Over)Sold, so I understand the Editor's position.

I'll say this though: ST has helped Mathematics immensely, and it's forced people to think multi-dimensionally, and that's fine.

But is it "Physics," that is to say, "Reality"?

Hey Phil et. al., click on my name and check out the pic of the center of our galaxy. It took long enough, but Astronomy finally came up with a pic to kick the Eagle Nebula off its perch as best Astronomy pic so far.

@ Bee - I love your challenge re experimentation. I'm thinking about it every day. Great workshop topic, important too. Right now I'm at Feynman's "By golly it's a wonderful problem because it doesn't look so easy." :-)

Workin' it ....

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Steven,

As per usual I seem only to be able to butcher somebody’s name. So that should be Christoph Schiller author of Motion Mountain and more recently a new book explaining his own speculations. The second name I totally destroyed should have read as Sundance Bilson-Thompson who like Bee was a researcher at Perimeter. In going over Schiller’s Strand model it is very reminiscent of Sundance's work . So close in fact that I wonder if Schiller is aware of Bilson-Thompson work.

Oh yes thanks for that link to the new composite photo of the centre of the galaxy. It reminds me of a discussion I had once with someone who complained about such photos since they are not what one would see with the naked eye, to which I responded it wasn’t the fault of the photo not representing reality, yet rather the limitation of our eyes as not able to as do as well. Thus I always thought a more practical solution to our energy woes, was not to struggle to develop more efficient light bulbs, yet rather develop practical glasses which would widen, amplify and better interpret the EM spectra as to be seen. That’s turning the problem around so to speak:-)

Best,

Phil

Steven Colyer said...

No worries, Phil, I screwed up Sundance's name even worse than you did. None of us are perfect, but we all have our charms, yes? As long as the good outweighs the bad, THAT is what's important.

And save us all from the extremists, who think they're perfect, e.g., Woit and Motl at the opposite extremes of String Theory.

Then again, extremists are important. In politics there are only 13% (in each extreme camp) that think their particular extreme is “take a stand!” right, which means that the open-minded among us are in the great 74% "normal", but MORE to the point, the extremists define the parameters.

And THAT's important, IMO. Without the extremists, we would have no parameters.

What does good old Plato have to say about that? His conversations with Socrates pretty much set the stage, eh?

BTW, before I go on, I wish to give you a shout-out Phil for unifying that which I never thought would be unified: Language and Physics, um, I mean English and Physics, no, Shakespeare and Physics (same thing though, right?) when you said "Much ado about a single photon". That's a classic, man, Props. :-)

Moving on and back on topic:

Extremist Woit's review of Musser's book has the following one-sided (well, he's an extremist) view of Musser's "10 ways to Test String Theory," to whit and yes it's negative, but that's Peter:

“A late chapter entitled “Ten Ways to Test String Theory” goes beyond the overly enthusiastic into the realm of the misleading and the simply untrue. According to Musser, the LHC will test string theory, GLAST will test string theory, Auger will test string theory, Planck will test string theory, LIGO will test string theory, a successor to Super-Kamiokande will test string theory, all the various dark-matter experiments will test string theory, table-top measurements of Newton’s law will test string theory, bouncing laser beams off the moon will test string theory, checking midget galaxies to see if their stars have planets will test string theory, and looking for variation of fundamental constants will test string theory. This is really egregious nonsense.” … Peter Woit

I hate quoting people out of context, so here’s the link to the complete thread from 11/17/08, almost a whole year ago:

http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=1198

Fine, except a more careful reading will reveal that these tests may very well reveal much, and Musser does go into more detail than Woit would have you think. By “much” I mean Planck-scale experiments in particular, irrespective of the particular Quantum Gravity of one’s choice.

To read more on the book, Musser actually has a website up on it which I like and am currently exploring, which ss the following link:

http://www.strings.musser.com/Strings/Welcome.html

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Steven,

From what you have written here it looks like I’ll have to break down and go out and buy Musser’s book. The trouble I have with books of this nature, primarily due to their reader demographic, is being dragged through all the preambles, where things one already has some grasp of are hashed over again.However beyond this, the problem I have with many of these theories directly stems from them not able to make prediction or even demonstrate how the standard model or GR as being of unavoidable direct consequence of their validity.

For instance the LHC’s initial goal is to confirm or deny the existence of the Higg’s, yet as far as I’m aware ST doesn’t have its existence as a prerequisite, one way or the other. So many of these theories turn out to be theories of anything, rather the theories of everything and thus from the pure scientific perspective have little if anything to offer.

One would think with all the open questions which still remain and continue to surface regarding physics that a truly advanced theory would offer insights such to serve as explanations of many if not all of them. The bottom line in this being if they fail to become meaningful in such respect, those in the future will still be using the standard model and GR as to be able to describe and predict the actions of our world; which of course forms to be the utility of science in the first place.

Best,

Phil

Steven Colyer said...

Hey Phil, what do you think of this?

I have a Philosophy decreed friend who thinks Socrates never exited, that Plato made him up for literary purposes. Have you heard that?

I don't know if that's true, but if so then Plato just high-hurdled Jesus as the single most important person in the history of the West. Your thoughts?

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Steven,

While it’s true that Socrates left no writings of his own and was only described through those he influenced, like Plato and Xenophon , I find it hard to believe he was simply a fabrication. There are of course parallels to be found between him and Christ, as he neither left anything written of their own hand and as both being martyred . That’s not to deny that like Christ’s decuples Plato and others may have painted Socrates to suit their own purpose(s). Never the less, if it be the work of Socrates or Plato, it still stands as being some of the most important ideas to be resultant of a human mind.

Oh yes although I am intrigued by the subject yet simply out of respect for the owners of this blog and as this being completely off topic , might I suggest next time you take it over to one of my two blogs, where such inquiry would be always welcome.

Best,

Phil

Steven Colyer said...

Hi Phil,

I totally respect this website's owners, that's why I brought up my hero, Socrates, who was all about the question "How?", which is what this thread is about, to whit:

"The purpose of the workshop is to bring together people who study various possibilities to experimentally test quantum gravity in order to assess these possibilities and encourage discussions."

Plato and Aristotle were about "Why?", the more interesting question, the question of speculation, but once speculation's day is done, the question becomes not "Why?" anymore, but "How?" How do we prove it, or at least falsify it? Hmm.

Then again, sometimes all the philosophizing gets nutty to the point that an Alexander comes along and says "Screw this talk, I'll just take Persia," and does.

The Romans never did. Too much discussion, maybe, or too much fun making money. Either works for me.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Steven,

Well yes the question of science is mostly centred around how and not why. However, I have often found that with good science or philosophy we are able to answer both, that is at least in part. My own blog, What is Einstein’s Moon, acts for me as both my written exploration and collection of what I’ve come to discover.

As you notice I’m a bit of a betting man and as being such I would wager you that Einstein after centuries pass will be seen by many as they hold Socrates today. The trouble of course is he was both a prolific writer and never martyred; although many hold him in their minds as what he serves to represent and although he never suffered death at the hands of others, he did suffer a self imposed exile, not just from his country, yet rather from the brutality still so prevalent among our species.

Best,

Phil

Steven Colyer said...

Hi Phil,

I won't bet with you because I'd bet your way. Specifically: Platonism skews toward the the young and youthful-thinking, Socratic skews to the middle-aged (like us, with YOU being an exception) and old, for example ...

Einstein. Old Albert was VERY Platonic when he was young, we wouldn't have the five things he espoused, each of which he deserved a Nobel prize for, were he not.

But when aged, he stopped questioning and his personal philosophy was set. Cool. Time to work on what we WANT to work on, then. At middle age it's time to STOP asking WHY and focus on the HOW. In this Albert was no different than most people.

The only flaw in Einstein's later years was that he thought there were only two forces: Gravity and Electromagnetism. And he worked them, in 2 and a half unsuccessful theories, until he died. Not his fault. He didn't have the big picture of the four forces we know today. He did the best with what he knew at the time that he knew it.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Steven,

I’m not sure if I would quite agree with your assessment of the stages that Einstein went through, as I would say he went more from Socrates perspective to the Platoian one. That is early on he was inspired by Mach, who was more of what you see is what you get fellow, to in the end hanging out with Godel, who had proven logic transcends the mathematical.

If we look at him in retrospect today, that when it came to things like QM he had his eye on the ball better than most of his colleagues and although some of his intuitions may have been wrong his understanding that for QM to be as it is necessitated nature to act nonlocally was none the less spot on. As for him being hampered in his efforts your correct to say he didn’t have all the information and yet was vindicated as all of what we call the forces of the standard model have been unified with only gravity still defying to circum.

The bottom line is most of the effort now in physics is to complete what started as his agenda. So like Socrates, Plato and a few others he stands for me as being a unique mind and person in the pages of the history of both science and philosophy.

Best,

Phil

Steven Colyer said...

Einstein was the best Phil I see no reason to continue to argue or discuss his Socratic/Platonic behavior. He was plenty of both throughout his life. Another reason is you are far ahead of me in the Philosophy realm .. the only Philosophy course I ever took was Introduction to Logic as an undergrad, so your statement re Godel, logic and mathematics vexes me. Semantically logic and mathematics are different words but in my humble mind they're synonymous. Mathematics is the one true language, and these words we use are great at communication but also at obfuscation as well.

I tend toward the practical, such as the topic of this blog: Experimentation of Quantum Gravity.

Btw Bee, has the grant money come through?

I think the Planck satellite will reveal much, and yes neutrinos hold a key in my humble opinion. What that key is I haven't a clue, but they're so damn weird they're wonderful.

Mostly I think to much, for example I had this thought this a.m.: that the best way to represent a proton or neutron is as a disk, a 2-dimensionally construct, since 3 points (quarks) define a plane, and 2-quark particles can be thought of 1-dimensionally since two points (quarks) define a line.

They all move in 3-space of course through the 4th D of time, which they must since their masses don't add up to their experimental masses ... quarks are lightweights and gluons are no-weights, so to get the experimental masses there must be a ton of motion and thereby energy going on down there.

I think a person can go psychotic thinking of this stuff too much, and I'd venture many have.

Although I eschew Philosophy in favor Experimentation, that's just me. I still think Philosophy is important and would never discourage its discussion, but as Jess Lair once said: "Too much philosophy rots the mind." OK I'll go now.

Bee said...

Steven: Not sure what timescale you think grant proposals to science funding agencies are typically processed in, but I don't expect to hear from them before February or March.

Steven Colyer said...

"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so." - Douglas Adams

Timescale, Bee? Ack! I'm so naive to your wonderful world of grant applications. I am but a newbie from the world of business, where corporate survival means decisions have to be made quickly, correctly and thoroughly if the corporate entity is to survive, e.g., for profits to be made such that the retirees continue to receive their pensions, etc.

So if things were run in your world as in Business, it would take 15 minutes, as so.

First 5 minutes: Bee calls Lee Smolin and explains her wonderful idea tied to her wonderful conference and the need for funds to be immediately applied to the youngest professionals in her field who are financially strapped.

Second five minutes: Lee calls The King of Sweden and explains the need, specifically, if the King wishes to be floating in space to extend his life ala John Hurt's character in the novel/film "Contact" one day, the best way to achieve that would be to invest in the youth of today who will be tomorrow's power brokers in short order and thus have that science fiction become science fact.

Third five minutes: The King calls Bee, thanks her for extending his life, and transfers 4 times her grant request into the proper bank account.

That's the way these things would be handled in the Business world.

Btw I just started a new full-time job and hopefully will examine your wonderful Causal article late tonight (it's 8:30 am in New Jersey atm). Ciao bella (whatever that means, I just like the way it sounds) until then.

Bee said...

*lol* Well, since Lee is a co-organizer (see website, sorry for not mentioning it here), I guess I can check the first point. Not sure about his relations to Carl Gustaf though.

Steven Colyer said...

lol, yeah, well, I guess I was being a bit cheeky, but why not? Both Lee and Carl are internationally famous, so I imagine they've heard of each other, not least of all because Sweden takes the Nobel Prizes "a bit" seriously, yes? Norway too for the Nobel Peace Prize, but let's leave them (and that prize) out of the discussion for now. I'm afraid I lost a lot of respect for it when Arafat won.

Anyway, since you live in Sweden and worked/publish with Lee, perhaps you could introduce them? :-)

In any event, I think this conference of yours is WAY important, and is the one thing on your blog that intrigues me the most. I wish more people would pay attention to this challenging problem of testing any of the Quantum Gravity theories. Here's hoping it's the next real Solvay. It may not be, but it could be, it has the potential. I'll help where I can, not sure how much I can help, but I'll try. I'm thinking a lot of it even if I don't write on this particular thread every day, and will present when I feel I'm close.

A tease (sorry, but I have an impish sense of humor): What's new in H->He Fusion? A different field of study within Physics, yes, but it's very eye-opening what the EXPERIMENTALISTS in that field are able to accomplish, and how some of their work may translate to QG testing.

Cheers,
Sreve

Bee said...

Hi Steve,

sorry, but I have no clue what's new in plasma physics. Best,

B.

Steven Colyer said...

Hi Bee,

OK, that's fine. I understand your specialty precludes you from covering all the bases, so if it's OK with you I'll try to help in at least the Plasma Physics direction. I live about 30 miles NNE of Princeton, and after the holidays (for I'll have no time until then) I'll take a trip one day down to the big Plasma lab there and putter around the premises or parking lot until I run into a grad student or something and ask some questions. Um, I'm probably better off walking in the place and talking to a member of public relations, no need to alert Security who may suspect I'm a spy, eh? Those fusion guys get a LOT of money from the US Government, and anytime money + gov is involved, Secrecy is huge and where there's Secrecy then ... paranoia is sure to follow, yes?

Anywho, what I was thinking was some tabletop or near tabletop experiment using lasers, the advancement of which has been booming in the last 20 years thanks to molecular beam epitaxy and various other technologies.

Bee said...

Hi Steve,

Yes, sounds interesting. Last time I heard a talk about fusion technology and plasma control the speaker basically said they have made significant progress in controlling the turbulences in the plasma, and understand the dynamics pretty well now. Problem is I hear such talks that rarely it's hard for me to tell how much of the optimism is marketing. Best,

B.

Steven Colyer said...

Oh, I'm sure there's quite a bit of Marketing involved. The US Treasury may be the largest treasure horde on the planet (just ask the Bush family ... they've been raiding it since great-grandpa Sam Bush was appointed to handle the money for reparations to France and Germany by President Wilson after World War One), but it's not infinitely so, therefore the never-ending competition among the "limited" resources amongst the various fields of study continues unabated, and the Fusion boys definitely make sure they get their cut.

Most deals are cut on the Virginia/Maryland/Scotland golf courses between US Legislators and the Industry Lobbyists who love to pour vast sums in their numbered and paperless-trail Swiss bank accounts. Disgusting as that may be, that's the way things are done in America, and I suspect not just in the USA.

So who are the lobbyists for Physics? Any good golfers among them with sweet connections at St. Andrews? I'd lobby for Science, specifically Physics, maybe. Is it the APS, the American Physical Society? Cherry Murray (formally of Bell Labs, like Stephen Chu and Bill Brinkman) is the head of that, yes? I don't know. I could know, but sooner or later I'll run into lawyers, ugh. Not sure atm if I want to dip that low into THAT benthic sludge side of Humanity, so for the moment I am not applying. In any event, I met Cherry and Bill once, nice folks. I suppose I could peter down the road 3 hours to the Land of Lawyers and Lobbyists that is Washington, D.C. and talk to them, but nobody is paying me to do that, yet, if ever, so there goes one more damn idea on the backburner.

Well, back to the Science bit. I'm sure there are people at Sandia and DARPA who are working on this stuff as well, but they're even more rigidly controlled and breaking their high level of secrecy is probably more trouble than it's worth. Regarding the laser thing, I was thinking of how lasers are pointed at a small volume at various angles to create insanely high temperatures in a small volume. Small volume, high temps, high energy, quantum. Probably a life's worth of exploration, and I don't know the details atm. But some people out there do.

Thanks for giving me a cool new mission in life, Bee! See ya inJanuary, ciao.

Steven Colyer said...

I have a question about the conference, Bee. Is Hořava-Lifshitz gravity going to be on the table at Nordita?

Apparently that's the hottest thing in QG circles, at least this year. I understand it has flaws (well, it's new) but a ton of papers are being written about it and therefore it may be difficult to ignore.

Lubos is strongly against it in spite of his former admiration for fellow Czech string theorist Petr Hořava ... an intriguing situation in its own right. :-)

Bee said...

Steven: As I already said earlier, we don't yet have titles and abstracts, thus I don't know what people will be talking about. Best,

B.

Phil Warnell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil Warnell said...

Hi Steve,

Thanks for raising the radar on the Hořava-Lifshitz model, since I’ve never heard of it before. Having taken a quick scan of what it’s about with separating space and time as being equivalent, this is certainly a radical approach for such equivalency lays at the very heart of GR.

Then again from the Lagrangian perspective time has always appeared to be the most relevant degree of freedom when it comes to action, which GR never seemed to have acknowledged, while QM has it as a central premise. Then of course those like Smolin have been thinking similarly although from the standpoint that time being the primary dimension while the spacial ones are emergent. At least from this perspective time has some reason to be looked upon as the preferred direction.

The bottom line of course being does any of this lead to new predictions able to be verified, which is the focus of the conference in reference here.

Best,

Phil

Steven Colyer said...

Who knows, Phil? I'm reading String Theory for Dummies atm by Jones, with special attention to his thoughts on testing that most written about QG theory, and will have more to say when I finish reading. Preliminarily though, Jones maintains that ST can test nothing until predictions are made, and ST is far far too underdeveloped at the moment to make even a single prediction. The best they can hope for is that the LHC shows us low-energy SUSY particles (Vasa predicts the stau particle will be the first to show up), and Woit points out if it does there will be a 2 year lag time before the data for it (if stau exists) are analyzed and confirmed.

So if ST is the oldest QG mathematical speculation, and Horava Gravity is the newest, I doubt HG is even close to making a prediction, but I'm sure that won't stop people from making an esrly stab at it.

I'm still holding out hope for CDT Buckyspace and LQG. A tabletop CDT experiment involving ink has already "shown" that 4D spacetime can emerge naturally from 2D, but I don't know.

I do know the LHC results will be experiment #1 for all these theories, and some that haven't been invented yet, but will be when the LHC spits out surprises, which the latest and greatest accelerators always do. The LHC just passed Tevatron for the world record energy in proton collisions. That's 1.something TeV down, 5.something to go. New wonders are just around the corner, eh?? What a great time to be alive. :-)

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Steven,

When you finally do finish String Theory for Dummies it would be nice if you posted a critic on your blog, for I’m certain there are many (myself included) who would be interested to know whether if you feel its a worthwhile read or not. In mentioning that, I've always hoped Bee after a time might write a book inspired by her efforts with this blog, which she could entitle ‘Theoretical Physics for Dummies’. One thing for certain she’s had a lot of practice with the likes of me and some others; then again it might only have served to convince her it being a near impossible task :-)

Best,

Phil

Steven Colyer said...

Yes, Phil I will, thanks, but some preliminaries.

I am currently employed full time in a Christmas rush type of job that will end Dec 24th. That's good for me because I am actually making money atm, but bad for me as I can can devote little time to this great subject. More after Xmas.

Preliminarily though, I find the discussion of testing ST in the book to be far weaker than in George Musser's book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory of 2 years ago. More importantly, I would encourage all to read both books beginning with Musser's, as they are quite different in spite of the same subject material.

My personal opinion as an intellectual is that I hate books having "Idiots" and "Dummies" in their name, but ... think of it as an "inside" American joke. Most of them are quite good as introductions and general overviews of entire fields of studies.

Non-Americans are advised that America is a land of savagely-focused specialists, hence our success. WE know that everyone is "ignorant" of most fields outside of one's particular field of specialization, so such titles are a bit comedic in their implied sarcasm, and we make no big bones about it, here in the US of A.

OUTside of America though, yes the Marketing attitude about the titles can offend, I see that, but I would hope it discourages no one from reading them.

Ciao, off to work.

Andrew Thomas said...

I always wondered precisely what the title meant. Does it mean "Complete idiot's guide" (i.e., a comprehensive guide for idiots), or instead does it mean "a guide for complete idiots" which is not nearly so nice. I like to think we should use the former interpretation, in which case the book is for standard-intelligence idiots, and not complete idiots.

Well, I understand what I mean ...

Steven Colyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven Colyer said...

Fortunately or unfortunately I also understand your confusion, so maybe it’s just us. :-) In a word, the expressions “idiot” and “dummy” are simply: slang. In America, they are quite common. I’m sure in England and the UK they have the same meaning but differ in intensity, as for example in America the work “crackpot” is hardly ever used, but holds little meaning in terms of intensity when it is used, whereas in England it is considered an insult of the highest order. Shrug, words.

In the following list of the various testing methods for String Theory I will refer to “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to String Theory (2008) by George Musser as “Musser”, and “String Theory for Dummies” by Andrew Zimmerman Jones and Dr. Daniel Robbins, PhD. In Physics, as “Jones”, and by doing so hopefully avoid any offensive language.

In Musser, Chapter 21, pp 261-275, “10 Ways to Test String Theory” includes:

The LHC (Higgs particle, sparticles, “missing” energy due to dark matter interactions, the unknown); MAGIC the ground-based gamma-ray telescope and Fermi the orbiting one searching for a breakdown of Special Relativity on fine scales; the Auger cosmic ray detector in Argentina; ESA’s Planck satellite to investigate the CMBR to explore the holographic principle, microwave polarization, inflation, gravitational waves, and “cosmic strings” born of quantum fluctuations on the tiniest scales; LIGWO in the USA and other Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatories in Japan and Europe to detect space-time foam via distance oscillations caused by quantum gravitational fluctuations; proton decay via Japan’s Super-Kamiokande detector; astronomical observations to detect dark matter-dark anti-matter collisions and earth-based detectors to indentify the dark matter “headwind” we are speculated to be moving through; tabletop gravity extra-dimensional space detection such as the experiment conducted by Eric Adelberger & colleagues at U. Washington and elsewhere, and the tracking of Earth’s moon in its orbit via earth-bound lasers (Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico) and lunar mirrors left there on the Apollo missions; observation of the midget galaxies that surround our Milky Way galaxy and investigating ancient gas clouds to detect possible long-range temporal variation in constants, both of which may confirm but not necessarily falsify the the question of why so much Dark Energy in our universe and the possible existence of parallel universes and other such multiverse speculation.

In Jones, Chapter 12: “Putting String Theory to the Test” (pp 210-226), he mentions many but not all of the above methods, and in addition mentions the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven as to explore the quark-gluon plasma predicted by QCD, which in turn would explore (according to Susskind) higher dimensions and black holes.

Jones does go into great detail on the points he and Musser have in common, and stresses the basic problem as to figure WHICH string theory to test; there are so many.

Some of these tests also have applications to other quantum gravity theories other than strings, and we your adoring public would be most interested in tests that strongly favor one theory over another.

(resubmitted with paragraph breaks)

Bee said...

Hi Steve,

Gosh, this is extremely misleading indeed. The LHC won't test string theory, it might test SUSY and maybe extra dimensions. MAGIC doesn't test string theory. The holographic principle isn't equal to string theory. Proton decay tests GUTs, not strings, and so on. The easiest way to figure this out is to ask whether any such observation could indeed falsify string theory. The answer I'm afraid is no in all cases. Best,

B.

Steven Colyer said...

I'm not surprised there is much mis-leading in any of this. The only thing we can be sure of is that the LHC will produce unexpected results, because every leap in energy in the latest and greatest collider always has, it will be wonderful, and that whatever it is will be interpreted by Susskind as a validation of Superstrings.

Speaking of whom .... any chance Technicolor or extended Technicolor will pop out of LHC results? If so, Steven Weinberg earns his second Nobel Prize and Susskind his first. But not for Strings, which has yet to win NPP #1.

Musser and Jones both mention SUSY and X-tra dimensions quite a bit in the Testing sections of their books, and quite differently, style-wise. I just gave a general overview. There is no substitute for reading the actual chapters.

Steven Colyer said...

Bee, have you read Gravitational Waves: Volume 1: Theory and Experiments by Michelle Maggiore. I call attention to Part II regarding Experimentation. She already has a well-regarded textbook regarding QFT, yes?

Also, as one trying to learn this stuff, what about Introduction to Quantum Effects in Gravity by Viatcheslav Mukhanov and Sergei Winitzki, not for experimentation so much as for beginner theory.

I have read neither which is why I ask before I consider purchasing/borrowing.