Townhouse Books

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory And the Search for Unity in Physical Law
by Peter Woit

Book CoverIt seems like every time you look at the cover of Scientific American or Discover there's a new article on the weird and wonderful world of string theory. While your average person may not know what QED or the Standard Model are, many people who don't know anything else about particle physics can explain the subtleties of an incredibly rarefied theory.

The problem is that while string theory gets the headlines and the majority of the funding in most physics departments, there is no experimental evidence to support it and it's likely that there are not even any ways to falsify it. String theory, in its current forms, makes no predictions. Karl Popper must be spinning in his grave.

Not Even Wrong is a description of the last two decades of physics research by physicist and mathematician Peter Woit. He was working on his PhD at Harvard when the Standard Model was being finalized and String Theory was just gaining steam, so he's able to provide plenty of anecdotes about various theories and the researchers who championed them.

The book grazes some very technical issues, but Woit strikes a balance between readability and completeness.

Woit also keeps a frequently-updated blog about the subject. It's worth reading just for the comments.

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