Strings and Philately

Over at Evolving Thoughts, John Wilkins pokes string theorists: Ernst Rutherford, the “father” of nuclear physics, once airily declared “In science there is only physics. All the rest is stamp collecting”. By this he meant that the theory of physics is the only significant thing in science. Such mundane activities as taxonomy in biology were […]

Lemonade from the Landscape

There’s a piece by Michael Dine in Physics Today this month with the ambitious title “String theory in the era of the Large Hadron Collider, thus combining two of my very favorite topics… I was going to give it a pass, but I was surprised to discover that it’s freely available– most of their articles […]

What is String Theory?

The title of this post is a famous question (posed, for example, by Joe Polchinski) which is modeled after an even more famous question by Ken Wilson, “What is Quantum Field Theory?”. I certainly can’t answer the first question, but Wilson’s question now does have a widely agreed upon answer (which is sadly not well […]


I see below that (in what comes as a total surprise) the string thread has already gotten lively. As an experimentalist doing quantum mechanics at the ultra-low-energy end, I don’t have a strong opinion on string theory qua theory, and I really don’t have a strong opinion on the sociology-of-theory business, beyond saying that I’m […]

The State of Theory

There’s a lot of buzz in physics blogdom about the Strings 07 meeting, which starts today in Spain. They currently have a list of speakers, and promise slides and video to come. Also, there’s a new paper by Edward Witten on the arxiv, cue sound of heavenly choirs: We consider the problem of identifying the […]