Nima on the end of spacetime
25 June 2018 | 10:28 am

...and arrow of time, quantum foundations, and other things...

David Barrera sent me a link to a five-day-old lecture by Nima Arkani-Hamed at SLAC, the Stanford's linear accelerator center:



If you had doubts, the host is Michael Peskin, a co-author of a very widespread quantum field theory textbook. Nima talks about the demise of the spacetime, simplification in QFT, amplituhedrons which turn scattering amplitudes into high school geometry volumes, and other things.

He formulates it in such a way that I would agree with almost everything but I still feel that there's a potential tension or contradiction with what e.g. Juan Maldacena says on the other side. Nima thinks that the disappearance of spacetime notions as precise ones is "mandatory" – while Maldacena (and perhaps Witten, Seiberg, and others – and maybe me) – thinks that it's just "possible" to suppress the spacetime language to construct a different, equivalent description. But with some good enough stuff – degrees of freedom – that are placed in the spacetime (perhaps including extended objects like strings and branes, bilocal objects such as wormholes, and other things), it may very well survive as an exact concept, too.




You should remind yourself of the wonderful progress in the scattering amplitudes and the exotic mathematical structures underlying them, special functions, shapes in auxiliary spaces, permutations etc.




There are some questions at the end. Somewhere between 1:24:00 and 1:27:00, Nima answers a question about the quantum foundations – and TRF readers must think that they must have heard about such a thing somewhere. ;-) Nima says that 30 years ago, 99.9% of active physicists – and it's still true for reasonable physicists today – would agree that there's absolutely nothing physically interesting going on in the research of the "foundations of quantum mechanics". For some reason, he adds, this statement has become "somewhat politically incorrect" in recent years.

Exactly!

Incidentally, Edwin Steiner – who also shares Nima's and my views on the foundations of quantum mechanics – listened to me and joined an LHC tracking Kaggle contest a day ago. After 1 submission, he is 2nd among 453 contestants. Wow! The gold-silver and silver-bronze gaps look robust enough so that I would guess that if nothing changed, the top 2 folks would remain the same in the final leaderboard (based on the remaining 71% of the data). But we all root for Edwin, good luck!

Also, another question deals with the speed of the progress. Nima says that it may be fast or slow but the progress (mainly in the amplitudes, he thinks, it seems to me) in the last 10 years has vastly surpassed his expectations.

He's also asked whether the end of the spacetime violates the second law of thermodynamics. Well, the end of the spacetime has various meanings. He has discussed one of them – the need to replace the "spacetime" by another concept (and the author of the question apparently misunderstood this very point of the whole lecture). If you just use a different language, it cannot violate a law. At most, it can make the law ill-defined if the law has depended on the deprecated concept. But in this case, even this is untrue. The second law doesn't really depend on the spatial structure of the degrees of freedom – the existence of some "time" is enough.

The second interpretation of the "end of the spacetime" is some actual geometric end somewhere – a boundary at some spatial point or the big crunch as the end at some moment of time. The discussion would be different. But the second law follows from the special initial conditions, and those unavoidably evolve to less special ones by the evolution. This is always true (the H-theorem may be proven in general), regardless of the spacetime interpretations, so just like your humble correspondent in many blog posts, Nima assured the author of the question that the arrow of time has nothing to do with cosmology (with special assumptions about cosmology). Nima also agrees with the corollary that e.g. Sean Carroll is full of šit on these matters but he didn't want to be too comprehensible. ;-)

You may also watch another 90-minute video, one from the World Science Festival in February 2018:



This video has over half a million views. Brian Greene is the host. Between 1:15:00 and 1:24:00, Mark van Raamsdonk in particular does a very good job of explaining the ER-EPR correspondence, the ideas he helped to pioneer that the entanglement is the glue of the spacetime. Various intuitive interpretations and perhaps generalizations of that statement were given.

Gerard 't Hooft was there as a co-father of the holographic principle but it seemed clear that those ideas from the early 1990s were much more heuristic than the present ones and he isn't quite following what's going on.

It's 2018 and Merkel et al. are still incoherent on migration
25 June 2018 | 4:50 am

Some leaders of the EU member countries (16 countries) gathered in Brussels yesterday in the afternoon. Four days before a more official summit, they were debating how to improve the policies towards exotic migrants that keep on arriving to Europe – although the rates are low these days, about 1/2 of those recorded a year ago.

No leader of the Visegrád (V4) countries has attended (and neither have the British islands, Baltic states, Cyprus, and Portugal). The spokesman for Macron said that the V4 leaders were "boycotting", in order to make things sound more dramatic. But there's no real justification for such a dramatic language. The leaders just agreed not to attend because the presence was in no way mandatory and folks in V4 generally expected that the summit was designed to promote some "solutions" that V4 considers unacceptable – like the quotas for the whole EU. So the costs exceeded the benefits and they just didn't think it was a good idea to attend the not really standard event. Why would one call it a "boycott"? If you just turn down the offer to sleep with a homeless man on the street, do you call it a "boycott"?

Moreover, the summit was likely meant as a tool for Merkel to save her career domestically – in a few weeks, Seehofer's Bavarian CSU may leave her coalition unless she does something against the continuing influx of migrants to Germany from its neighbors. And the countries that didn't attend don't find the salvation of Ms Merkel to be a priority.

On Saturday, the French leader issued a threat to all European countries. If they won't satisfy him on migration, he will take the money from them. I think that for them not to look like ludicrous clowns, French leaders should avoid similar megalomaniac claims and threats, especially when they're standing 10 miles from Waterloo (which is where Brussels is). Do you know what happened in Waterloo, Mr Macron?




The new Italian government is composed of some anti-immigration Euroskeptics. However, due to the specific national interests, they tend to support some solutions that are unacceptable to similar political forces in most of the other European countries – such as the Europe-wide redistribution of the migrants. That could be good for Italy that has gotten a lots of migrants. But it's bad for everyone else.

The Italian leader proposes a setup in which each country invents its own quotas. It sounds great. We will probably choose the number zero. Meanwhile, there has been a war of words between France and Italy. Macron has said that he was the superior person because he had the respect for the folks of all races and ethnicities – unlike the Italians who are dirty gypsies who suffer from "leprosy", a disease that has "spread across lots of other stinky nations in Europe". ;-) You're a real Gentleman, Mr Macron, indeed.




As I have emphasized in similar situations several times, there's this tendency of politicians to cherry-pick advantages of their geography and other things. You know, is it good for a country to have beaches of the Mediterranean Sea? Italian, Greek, and other leaders may paint it as a terrible disadvantage and a liability because the migrants from Africa and the Middle East may get there through the sea.

But you know, having the sea is a great thing, too. Millions of people in landlocked countries such as Austria, Czechia, Slovakia, and Hungary would love to own some of these beaches. So if the Italians are so devastated by the Mediterranean Sea, why don't they offer e.g. the Italian Riviera to Czechia? Czechia would deal with the ships as well. That would be a fair deal. But for Italy to get rid of the disadvantages of the sea, while keeping all the advantages, is just unjustifiable and unacceptable for the other countries if those remain sensible.

It might often be useful for a country to pick the positive things and throw away the negative ones – and force the other countries to do the opposite thing. But it just can't work because everyone would like to keep the positive parts and throw away the negative ones.

Angela Merkel has presented two main theses yesterday:
The inflow of migrants can't be left to the individual countries where they arrive.

Migrants cannot choose the country where they end.
Both principles are painfully irrational. Even three years after the most serious political blunders of her career, she still doesn't have the slightest idea what was wrong.

Can the inflow be left to the individual countries such as Greece and Italy? There is some business-as-usual in the protection of the borders – and despite the sea, Italy and Malta clearly don't have any problem to say "no" to the ships (while left-wing governments in Greece and Italy have been telling us for years that it was physically impossible to say "no"). And as I said, the current rate of the influx is unspectacular and a state that isn't failed should be capable of dealing with such things easily.

There may hypothetically be mechanisms for the European Union to "solve" certain things as a whole, to take the responsibility for some events. But you know, here's a very universal principle that is actually true and important:
Countries may only be collectively responsible (i.e. EU-like entities may be responsible) for something that they collectively brought upon the bloc by their collective decisions.
Why? Again, if someone (or some country) may do certain things individually, without the approval by others, but others will have to share the responsibility for the (negative) consequences, then all the countries will abuse such inconsistent rules all the time! Once again, it's an example of the cherry-picking of the positive features from a package that should be kept intact.

In particular, it's Angela Merkel personally and/or the Germans whom she represents (because she was elected there) that invited the millions of migrants "here". But she's not an elected leader of Europe, she didn't get the political capital from the electorates in other European nations, so she simply couldn't have spoken on behalf of Europe. Consequently, she could only invite these people to Germany – and that's why only Germany should be responsible for the difficult consequences of her mistake.

The migrants have made a plan. They have to get to the EU through a country such as Greece and Italy – and it's up to Greece and Italy whether they can make it through this stage – and then, assuming the intra-European borders remain open, they will continue to Germany. The countries in between could close their border or something like that. But only the countries like Greece and Italy; and Germany are involved in these events (and perhaps the countries in between, on the migrant route). Everyone else is just a spectator.

Alternatively, the European countries may act as a whole – as the EU, a de facto superstate – but it's only possible if the decisions about the "problem" were made by the EU as a whole, too. It just wasn't the case. You may say that the EU countries have unresolved disputes about certain political affairs from the past that intensely affect the present – e.g. questions where the migrants belong and who is responsible – which is why they simply cannot become a single bloc on this issue.

For centuries, such decisions were made by nation states or countries of a similar size. That's the recipe that mostly works and it can't be replaced by a pan-European one at this moment when the countries are simply incompatible and have a deep disagreement about the status of all the people and particular nations', people's responsibility for them, as well as the rough plan for the future.

So the ultimate decisions about the migrants must be made by individual nation states, just like it has been the case for a long time, simply because there can't be any different, more pan-European solution that works. Such a pan-European solution cannot work because the countries disagree about their responsibility for existing problems and other things.

The second thesis by Merkel is that the migrants shouldn't be allowed to pick their European country. So a migrant is supposed to go to Europe and have some probability to end up in Romania instead of Germany. This rule is absurd at many levels.

First, it is really inconsistent because by embracing the migrants, we're really in the process of turning them into Europeans. And Europeans basically can choose where they move within Europe. Even if you questioned the legal right for them to move from one place to another, they still have the physical power to move because the intra-European borders are open. Once they're released from a detention facility, they may move within Europe. When she says that they can't choose, it means that they will be permanently detained and/or permanently second-class citizens who can't do things that the first-class European citizens can. What is so human about these matters? Back in the Middle East or Africa, they could live outside the detention facilities.

Second, it's just plain nonsense that most of the people who want to move somewhere would be OK if someone else randomly picked where they are placed. The places are so different. Some committee decides that Mohammed #1 goes to the Rhineland while Mohammed #2 goes to Romania. Assume that Rhineland is a better place to live than Romania for a while. ;-) OK, where's the justice behind the outcome that places one of these two Mohammeds in the better place, and the other one in the worse place? Also, the apparatchiks who decide "where the given Mohammed belongs" could be massively bribed all the time.

Third, it's not just unjust, it's also heavily ineffective to assign random countries to the individual migrants. A migrant may speak Italian or Portuguese and he may have a good idea to move to Italy or Portugal for that reason. And there may be dozens of other reasons that make one country more sensible than others. Why should he end in Finland? How could it be good for European bureaucrats to make a decision about an event he doesn't really understand?

Most (surely over 50%) of these folks just want to Germany. According to the mythology in the Islamic countries, it's the only country that works well, it's also where they were invited by the leader (by Merkel), and that's where they were going. For Merkel or anybody else, it's just pure demagogy to try to obfuscate this point and pretend that the migrants are going to a "random European country" or something like that.

The European Union is constantly trying to act as a collection of sovereign states and a superstate at the same moment. Or something "in between". But such hybrids simply don't work exactly because they encourage the individual countries and politicians to cherry-pick the positive things while getting rid of the negative ones. Czechoslovakia was playing with the possibility of becoming a "true hybrid" of one country and two countries in 1991-1992. It just didn't work – the arguments about details were unstoppable. There were good reasons why the Klaus-led Czech political elites simply said: Now decide: One country or two? We – mainly Slovaks – chose two.

When it comes to problems such as the asylum policies, there are only two possible choices: Either the countries act separately, or they merge into a full-blown superstate. In both cases, there is some well-defined state with some well-defined border that has the sovereignty over such decisions as well as the responsibility for the consequences of such decisions. There is nothing in between that works.

And needless to say, the European superstate is just impossible now because different nations within the EU dramatically disagree about what the basic policies of such a superstate should look like. So please don't try to invent things that simply cannot possibly represent any improvement. Individual countries are responsible for the closure of their border, for the asylum process, and for other things. They are supposed to respect the rules of the Schengen and Dublin III. But if any of these EU-wide treaties imply some existential problems, it's clear how the legal conditions have to change. They will be reverted back to the Europe "without the EU structures" because that's the only system that has worked well enough and that may be acceptable for a reasonable majority of the Europeans.

Every government of a European nation state could prefer its principles to "win all over Europe". But it's just not possible. Maybe Angela Merkel or Emmanuel Macron may get away with their approach to migration in their own nations – and earn something close to a majority support. But in other parts of Europe, they're considered unhinged psychopaths. It's just silly for them to pretend that they are "European leaders" who speak on behalf of the inhabitants of a whole continent. That's surely untrue. You shouldn't pretend that your wishful thinking about the continental domination is the same thing as the reality!

Slow bottom-up HEP research is neither intellectually challenging, nor justified by the null LHC data
23 June 2018 | 7:21 am

Ben Allanach has been a well-known supersymmetry researcher in Cambridge, England whose name has appeared a dozen of times on this blog and he wrote a guest blog on ambulance chasing.



Because of his seemingly bullish presonality, I was surprised by an essay he wrote for Aeon.Co a few days ago,
Going nowhere fast: has the quest for top-down unification of physics stalled?
The most nontrivial statement in the essay is
Now I’ve all but dropped it [SUSY at the LHC] as a research topic.
He wants to do things that are more bottom-up such as the bottom mesons (a different bottom, the Academia is full of bottoms). I find this description bizarre because SUSY at the LHC is a good example of bottom-up physics in my eyes – and the bottom mesons seem really, really boring.




Allanach wrote that other colleagues have left SUSY-like research before him, everyone has his own calibration when he should give up, and Allanach gave up now. One theoretical reason he quotes is that SUSY probably doesn't solve the naturalness problem – and aside from the absence of superpartners of the LHC, it also seems that SUSY is incapable of solving other hierarchy problems such as the cosmological constant problem. So if SUSY doesn't solve that one, why it should be explaining the lightness of the Higgs?




So he attributes all the null data – and the disappointment – to the top-down, "reductive" thinking, the thinking whose current flagship is string theory. He wants to pursue the bottom mesons and perhaps a few other "humble" topics like that. I think that I have compressed his essay by several orders of magnitude and nothing substantial is missing.

OK, his attribution is 100% irrational and the rest of his ideas are half-right, half-wrong. Where should I start?

In April 2007, I quantified dozens of (my subjective) probabilities of statements beyond the established level of particle physics. The probabilities go from 0.000001% to 99.9999% – and the items are more likely to be found near 0% or 100% because there are still many things I find "almost certain". But there's one item that was sitting exactly at 50%:
50% - Supersymmetry will be found at the LHC
Many bullish particle physicists were surely boasting a much higher degree of certainty. And I surely wanted the probability to be higher. But that would quantify my wishful thinking. The post above captured what I really believed about the discovery of SUSY at the LHC and that was associated with 50%, a maximum uncertainty.

By the way, with the knowledge of the absence of any SUSY at the LHC so far, and with some ideas about the future of the LHC, I would quantify the probability of a SUSY discovery at the LHC (High-Luminosity LHC is allowed for that discovery) to be 25% now.

String theory in no way implies that SUSY was obliged to be discovered at the LHC. Such a claim about a low-energy experiment doesn't follow from the equations of string theory, from anything that is "characteristically stringy" i.e. connected with conformal field theory of two-dimensional world sheets (more or less directly). Someone might envision a non-stringy argument – a slightly rational one or a mostly irrational one – and attribute it to string theory because it sounds better when your ideas are linked to string theory. But that's deceitful. Various ideas how naturalness should be applied to effective field theories have nothing to do with string theory per se – on the contrary, string theory is very likely to heavily revolutionize the rules how naturalness should be applied, and it's already doing so.

So Allanach's statement that the null LHC data mean something bad for string theory and similar top-down thinking etc. is just absolutely wrong.

A correct proposition is Allanach's thesis that for a person who believes in naturalness and is interested in supersymmetry because in combination with naturalness, it seems to predict accessible superpartners at the colliders, the absence of such superpartners reduces the probability that this package of ideas is correct – and people who have pursued this bunch of ideas are likely to gradually give up at some points.

It's correct but mostly irrelevant for me – the main reason why I am confident that supersymmetry is realized in Nature (at some scale, possibly one that is inaccessible in practice) is that it seems to be a part of the realistic string vacua. This is an actual example of the top-down thinking because I am actually starting near the Planck scale. Allanach has presented no top-down argumentation – all his argumentation is bottom-up. Any reasoning based on the naturalness of parameters in effective field theories is unavoidable bottom-up reasoning.

A mostly wrong is his statement that the null LHC data reduce the probability of supersymmetry. But this statement is justifiable to the extent to which the existence of supersymmetry is tied to the naturalness – the extent to which the superpartners are "required" to be light. If you connect SUSY with the ideas implying that the superpartners must be light, its probability goes down. But more general SUSY models either don't assume the lightness at all, or have various additional – never fully explored – tricks that allow the superpartners to be much heavier or less visible, while still addressing naturalness equally satisfactorily. So in this broader realm, the probability of SUSY hasn't dropped (at least not much) even if you incorporate the naturalness thinking.

You know, the SUSY GUT is still equally compatible with the experiments as the Standard Model up to the GUT scale. The null LHC data say that some parameters in SUSY GUT have to be fine-tuned more than previously thought – but the Standard Model still has to be fine-tuned even more than that. So as long as you choose any consistent rules for the evaluation of the theories, the ratio of probabilities of a "SUSY framework" over "non-SUSY framework" remained the same or slightly increased. The absence of evidence isn't the evidence of absence.

I think he's also presenting pure speculation as a fact when he says that SUSY has nothing to do with the right explanation of the smallness of the cosmological constant. I think it's still reasonably motivated to assume that some argument based on a SUSY starting point (including some SUSY non-renormalization theorems) and small corrections following from SUSY breaking is a promising sketch of an explanation why the cosmological constant is small. We don't know the right explanation with any certainty. So the answer to this question is "we don't know" rather than "SUSY can't do it".

But again, the most far-reaching incorrect idea of Allanach's is his idea that the "surprisingly null LHC data", relatively to an average researcher, should strengthen the bottom-up thinking relatively to the top-down thinking. His conclusion is completely upside down!

The very point of the bottom-up thinking was to expect new physics "really" around the corner – something that I have always criticized (partly because it is always partly driven by the desire to get prizes soon if one is lucky – and that's an ethically problematic driver in science, I think; the impartial passion for the truth should be the motivation). An assumption that was always made by all bottom-up phenomenologists in recent decades was that there can't be any big deserts – wide intervals on the energy log scale where nothing new happens. Well, the null LHC data surely do weaken these theses, don't they? Deserts are possible (yes, that's why I posted the particular image at the top of the blog post, along with a supersymmetric man or superman for short) which also invalidates the claim that by adding small energy gains, you're guaranteed to see new interesting things.

So I think it's obvious that the right way to adjust one's research focus in the light of the null LHC data is to make the research more theoretical, more top-down – and less bound to immediate wishful thinking about the experiment, to be less bottom-up in this sense! SUSY people posting to hep-ph may want to join the Nima Arkani-Hamed-style subfield of amplitudes and amplituhedrons (which still has SUSY almost everywhere because it seems very useful or unavoidable for technical reasons now, SUSY is easier than non-SUSY, for sure) or something else that is posted to hep-th or that is in between hep-ph and hep-th. Allanach's conclusion is precisely wrong.

You know, the bottom-up thinking expects something interesting (although, perhaps, a bit modest) around the corner. That is what I would also call incrementalism. But given this understanding of "incrementalism" (which is basically the same as "bottom-up", indeed), I am shocked by Allanach's statement
This doesn’t mean we need to give up on the unification paradigm. It just means that incrementalism is to be preferred to absolutism
Holy cow. It's exactly the other way around! It's incrementalism that has failed. The addition of new light particles to the Standard Model, to turn it to the MSSM or something else – so that the additions are being linked to the ongoing experiment – that's both incrementalism and it's what has failed in the recent decade because nothing beyond the Higgs was seen.

So a particle physics thinker simply has to look beyond incrementalism. She has to be interested in absolutism at least a little bit, if you wish. She must be ready for big deserts – a somewhat big desert was just seen. And she must "zoom out", if I borrow a verb from the Bitcoin hodling kids who want to train their eyes and other people's eyes to overlook the 70% drop of the Bitcoin price since December ;-). (For the hodlers, the word "she" would be even more comical than for particle physicists!)

But in particle physics, you really need to zoom out because the research of the small interval of energies around the LHC energy scale wasn't fruitful! Allanach also wrote:
But none of our top-down efforts seem to be yielding fruit.
This is complete nonsense – Allanach is writing this nonsense as a layman who has been away for decades or for his previous life so far. The top-down research in string theory has yielded amazing fruits. In recent 10 years as well as 20 years as well as 30 years, it has yielded many more fruits and much more valuable fruits than what the bottom-up research yielded. Allanach is probably completely unfamiliar with all of this – but this ignorance doesn't change anything about the fact that the quote above places him in the category of crackpots.

Ben, you should learn at least some basics about what has been learned from the top-down approach – about dualities, new transitions, new types of vacua, new realization of well-known low-energy physical concepts within a stringy realization, integrable structures in QFTs, new auxiliary spaces, solution to the information loss paradox, links between entanglement and wormholes, and many others. Unlike the papers presenting possible explanations for the \(750\GeV\) diphoton excess, those aren't going away!

There have been various positive and negative expectations about new physics at the LHC. Things would have been more fun if there had been new physics by now. People may feel vindicated or frustrated because their wishes came true or didn't come true. Their love towards the field or its subfields have changed and they may adjust their career plans and other things. But at the end, scientists should think rationally and produce justifiable statements about the natural world, including questions that aren't quite settled yet. I think that most of Allanach's thinking is just plain irrational and the conclusions are upside down. And he's still one of the reasonable people.

Also, Allanach seems to be willing to switch to things like "chasing hopes surrounding B-mesons, \(g-2\) anomalies, sterile neutrinos", and so on. Well, it seems rather likely to me that all these emerging anomalies result from errors in the experiments. But even if they're not errors in the experiment, I don't see much value in theorists' preemptive bottom-up thinking about these matters. If the experiments force us to add a new neutrino species, great. But immediately, it will be just a straightforward experimental fact. The theory explaining the data, if such an anomaly (or the other ones) is confirmed, will be a straightforward ugly expansion of the Standard Model that will be almost directly extracted from the reliable experiment.

My point is that the experimenters could almost do it themselves – they're the crucial players in this particular enterprise – and Allanach wants himself and lots of colleagues to be hired as theoretical assistants to these experimenters. But these experimenters simply don't need too many assistants, especially not very expensive ones.

Why should a theorist spend much time by doing these things in advance? What is the point of it? If such new and surprising anomalies are found by the experiments, the experimenters represent a big fraction of the big discovery. The only big role for a theorist is to actually find an explanation why this new addition to the Standard Model is sensible or could have been expected – if the theorist finds some top-down explanation! A theorist may find out that the existence of some new particle species follows from some principle that looks sensible or unifying at the GUT scale or a string scale; it's a top-down contribution. Without such a contribution, there's almost no useful role for a theorist here. A theorist may preemptively analyze the consequences of 10 possible outcomes of a B-meson experiment. But isn't it better to simply wait for the outcome and make a simple analysis of the actual one outcome afterwards? The bottom-up analyses of possible outcomes just aren't too interesting for anybody.

More generally, I would find some detailed research of B-mesons and the aforementioned anomalies to be utterly boring and insufficiently intellectually stimulating. I have always been bored by these papers – equivalent to some homework exercises in a QFT course – and it's close to the truth if I say that I have never read a "paper like that" in its entirety. I think that if most high-energy physicists abandon the big picture and the big ambitions, the field will rightfully cease to attract the mankind's best minds and it will be in the process of dying.

If most of the people in the field were looking at some dirty structure of B-mesons, the field would become comparable to climatology or another inferior scientific discipline which is messy, likely to remain imprecise for decades or forever, and connected with no really deep mathematics (because deep mathematics has little to say to messy, complex patterns with huge error margins). B-mesons are similar bound states as atoms or molecules – except that atoms and molecules have far more precisely measurable and predictable spectra. So if I had to do some of these things, I would choose atomic or molecular physics or quantum chemistry instead of the B-meson engineering! Like nuclear physics, subnuclear physics really isn't intellectual deeper than the atomic and molecular physics of the 1930s.

Fundamental physics is the emperor of sciences and the ambitious goals are a necessary condition underlying that fact. The experimental data should help the fundamental physicists to adjust their ideas what the ambitious goals should look like – but the experimental data should never be used as evidence against the ambitious goals in general! Experimental data really cannot ever justify the suppression of ambitions such as the search for a theory of everything. Everyone who claims that they can is being demagogic or irrational.

And that's the memo.


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