My initial dream was to become particle physicist. But it finally looks like a bad idea; better may be to avoid theoretical physics altogether. Here is why.Here are thoughts I first wrote by email in French, under the title "Bad weather for physics"... I explore the web, various blog articles of physicists of various sides, at war with each other... the supporters of string theory on one side, the opponents on the other. It seems that the golden age of the success of research in theoretical physics is behind us.
"In recent years though, some theorists who definitely understand and have made contributions to modern physics have started promoting research which looks depressingly like the typical sad examples of “unconventional physics”. Many of the products of the ongoing multiverse mania fit into this category. Lubos is getting quite worried to see that a very talented and well-known leader of the string theory community, Erik Verlinde, seems to be engaging in this sort of research, and getting positive attention for it. Within a month of its appearance, Verlinde’s “Entropic Force” paper has already generated a dozen or so preprints from other physicists on the same topic. It could easily end up being the most influential (in the sense of heavily referenced) paper of 2010. Seeing this coming from a string theorist he admires is worrying Lubos and his correspondents." " I don’t understand why a smart, capable scientist is putting out this sort of paper, just as I don’t understand why a lot of other smart, capable people pursue multiverse pseudo-science."Comment by "Bee" = Sabine Hossenfelder :
"What I find disturbing is how quickly people are jumping on the topic. I mean, look at this, it’s a matter of weeks! The thing goes through the blogs, is in New Scientist, and so on, and so on. I mean, really, what’s this?"Fabio :
"Its not just formal theory that is having quality control problems. A large portion of the phenomenology community spends it’s time shamelessly chasing the statistically insignificant experimental anomaly du jour. Some phenomenologists I know have privately indicated disgust at the situation. I’m not sure exactly how Lee Smolin can be blamed for this, but there must be a way, because he is the devil. But citations for crappy papers are better than no citations for crappy papers not written, so it will continue to get worse before it gets better."Lubos is himself a strange dude, far worse than me to "insult" people with whom he disagrees, and not always wisely.
"— I believe [Lubos Molt] does physics a disservice by ranting andspewing bile on research programs outside his own field.Lubos himself was a good physicist in some respects, and degenerated in other respects, particularly his support for the Bogdanov brothers by his book marked by the open secret that it was actually co-authored by the Bogdanov themselves, which completely discredits him. But even if there is some junk in his articles, there is some good too. Up to everyone to sort it out. In particular, he does not like Woit, of whom I have now a good opinion based on his article I read in the FQXI essay contest, which I ranked among the best, contrary to that of Smolin.
— However much vitriol he expresses them with, his opinions represent virtually to the letter the mainstream view, and this is really all that should matter"
There is also quite an amount of crackpotism in the web site by Samy Maroun, sponsor of the center
for quantum physics where some physics celebrities are working : Penrose, Smolin, Rovelli...
Penrose is a famous case of a once good physicist turned crackpot. Rovelli, other great figure of Loop Quantum Gravity with Smolin, and who co-authored a crackpot article with Samy Maroun, also practices crackpotism in philosophical aspects of mathematics. His "challenge" is something I precisely work to answer by my site, as I work to focus on the most important concepts at the foundation of maths and show their elegance (natural simplicity and at the same time, generality). But I guess he won't be interested to know my answer; he only cared to proudly share one-way his ignorance about the possible answers to his challenge.
Other link : Physics Crackpots: "physics conferences, seminars and symposiums tend to attract a small, but quite visible contingent of physics crackpots"
Table of contents : Foundations of physics