Wednesday, March 14, 2007

String Debate '07

The String Wars of 2006 continue, but are kicking it up a notch in 2007 with the first (that I've heard) String Debate. And not just debate as in "let's argue in journals or magazines or newspapers" but debate as in:
String Theory: Brian Greene and Lawrence Krauss Debate Co-sponsored with the Department of Energy’s Office of Science
It comes down to this: Are all things in nature actually super-tiny bits of strings that are vibrating strands of energy? If so, string theory would merge general relativity and quantum mechanics, and would explain the origin of space, time, and the universe itself. Or is the theory, as some critics claim, just extraordinarily complex mathematics which may have nothing to do with physics and a theory of nothing, not everything? If so, physicists are back to the drawing board in their quest for the Holy Grail of physics—an ultimate theory of everything.
For those of you in DC in a couple of weeks, this will be happening at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian, moderated by Michael Turner.

But seriously folks, who benefits from these kinds of debates, besides the obvious rock-star experience seeing two charismatic speaker/performer/scientists argue in real life? Then again, who wants to imagine Greene and Krauss snapping fingers at each other, going "Bring it!"? In sum, I'm not sure (as it's mildly fun to watch smart people argue, despite the inevitable vacuousness of any result from this particular debate...kind of like the WWE, right?). All I know is
Greene is a professor of physics and professor of mathematics at Columbia University; Krauss is Ambrose Swasey professor of physics and a professor of astronomy at Case Western Reserve University; and Turner is the Rauner Distinguished Service professor in the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago.
so Greene, lacking a titled chair, which even the moderator has, is already racing to catch up.

(Thanks, Burt!)

1 comment:

thephysicsbabe said...

This is awesome! I can't believe I'm out of town at a meeting then. How in the world will they ever fit those three egos in a single room... the mid boggles.