Tuesday, December 31, 2019

My most read blogposts of the decade

  1. The LHC “nightmare scenario” has come true (Aug 6, 2016)

  2. The multiworse is coming (Mar 13, 2018)

  3. Outraged about the Google diversity memo? I want you to think about it. (Aug 9, 2017)

  4. No, physicists have not created “negative mass” (Apr 21, 2017)

  5. A Philosopher Tries to Understand the Black Hole Information Problem (May 11, 2017)

  6. The present phase of stagnation in the foundations of physics is not normal (Nov 19, 2018)

  7. The crisis in physics is not only about physics (Oct 30, 2019)

  8. The Forgotten Solution: Superdeterminism (Jul 28, 2019)

  9. String theory pros and cons [video - no singing!] (Oct 22, 2018)

  10. Dark matter nightmare: What if we are just using the wrong equations? (Oct 16, 2019)

I wish you all a good start into the New Year!


  1. Sabine, you have restored my faith that there is life after bullshit. Thank you for doing this blog! And best luck in the new decade.


  2. Always a pleasure to read your posts. Best wishes to you and yours for the new year!

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  4. Maybe the basis for your next book!

    (Not even still here)

  5. I'm glad you did this. It brought back some pleasant memories and also reminded me of my appreciation for your work on this blog. I'm not physicist enough to comment most of the time but you make me think about science and what it is and how it works. I often recommend posts to others. And like Vincent above, a thanks for the music, too.

  6. "The multiworse is coming"

    Best Title.

    With your blogposts, it's refreshing to see some pragmatism applied in physics, in the spirit of philosophical pragmatism (or so-called neopragmatism actually, of Quine, Rorty, etc.)

  7. Always a lurker, never commented. Refugee from cosmic ray measurement lab into system software. Your phenomenology is just phenomenal. Thanks for going through through all of this for us, Wonder Woman! Feliz nuevos anos!

  8. Sabine,

    That's a nice body of work right there. Thanks for doing this, and best wishes for the new year.


  9. These is some possible evidence for the so called X17 particle. M = 0 transitions suggest this is a scalar field. As this immediates a nuclear transition there is some plausible reason for this being the axion.

    Keep one's eye on this. It may turn out to be little. However, it does appear as a possible deviation from the standard model.

  10. Welcome to 2020! May the year live up to its name.

  11. Well done, Sabine!

    Please keep writing those wonderful posts.

  12. recommendation from verified user: When I started reading Sabine's blogs I understood about 1% of what the posters were writing. Since then I have doubled my understanding! Keep up the good work.

  13. I would like to respectfully make a recommendation to Sabine for a possible blog topic at some point in time:

    In Lost in Math, Sabine points out, correctly in my opinion, how physicists have sort of wandered in the desert for a while, because they are enamored by theories which have a certain elegance to their mathematical structures, even though there is not a whit of data which supports these. Then, the solution is to ask for bigger and better devices which might, maybe, pretty please with sugar on top, pray tell, support these theories, right around the same time that we win the $100 million lottery (sarcastic emoticon). In this way, we have lost touch with the core experimental method, which is to always be mapping between our theories and empirical data. And if these happen to go out of whack, guess who wins? The data or lack thereof wins every time; damn how nifty we think the theory is.

    So, my suggestion is to invert this and talk about all the data we DO already have on our plates, which we simply have not digested into a good theory. I have mentioned in another thread how we have had a wealth of data available to us since the 1940s and perhaps earlier, regarding the binding energies, mass defects and fission / fusion emerges of hundreds of isotopic nuclides for elements running from hydrogen to the top of the periodic table. But the theory to understand these is spotty at best, especially for light nuclides. Same too, for the free proton and neutron masses themselves, and the other baryon masses. We also have the rest masses of the twelve elementary fermions which are just numbers that we cannot explain. So, even if we set aside the neutrino masses because of the unique challenges these evasive little buggers create, there are still nine masses that we have a pretty good numbers for, without a theory to back it up. Why are all these masses what they are? Another is the fractional quantum Hall effect, whereby fractional electrical charges with odd-only denominators are observed at ultra-low temperatures. These “on our plate” data items are the ones which are clearest to me, because these are the ones I have targeted in my own research. But I have to believe there are many others as well, in research that other folks are pursuing.

    In sum, most of the “help wanted” ads that physicists have placed these past few decades, have been for “data wanted.” This would be a “theory wanted” ad. This is about data looking for theory, rather than theory looking for data.

    And, this is not just a recommended blog topic. It is a challenge: It tells the physics community to stop running around plugging decades-old theories which have never found (and likely can never find) empirical support, and to instead look at all sorts of data we already do have right in front of our noses which we have failed to explain. And the beauty of this is that we do not need any new equipment. Aside perhaps from some good computer software to carry out some calculations, all we really need is our minds and wits doing their best objective thinking and detective work, about the evidence already on the table in front of us.

    So, I’d be very interested in Sabine’s take on all the undigested empirical data that we all have in front of us right now, and in what other people might then add to the mix once she gets the ball rolling. That is a way to “have our work cut out for us.”


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