Tuesday, August 13, 2013

This time, they say, Einstein might really be wrong

Today's  Dennis Overbye is priceless:
.... this violated a basic tenet of modern science and of quantum theory, that information is always preserved...
I'm sitting here with two other scientists, here we are, ages 90, 82 and 67, spent our whole lives as card carrying physicists, and until this minute, we had no idea that this is the basic tenet. See, we never got the memo.
... in a sense physicists had already thrown Einstein under the bus. In Dr. Maldacena’s holographic universe, considered to be the last word on quantum gravity, the dimensions of space-time do not seem to matter. “We’ve known for years that space-time is not fundamental,” Dr. Polchinski said. “General relativity is not fundamental.” He went on, “space-time is emergent. Gravity is emergent. Maybe sometimes it doesn’t always emerge.”...
And guess what - not only there is no experiment, there cannot be an experiment:
... Daniel Harlow of Princeton and Patrick Hayden of McGill University suggested that the issue might be moot; the computation necessary to verify that Alice and Bob are entangled could take longer than the age of the universe and the black hole would evaporate in the meantime, making it impossible ever to go inside and experience the contradiction...
Brilliant, no?

There are already more than 300 comments, one more helpful than the other:
Bondosan: I am reminded of the Buddhist concept of the Four Sufferings: Birth, Aging, Sickness, and Death, which apply not only to individuals but to entire world systems as well...
The modern thing is to make virtue of predictions being untestable. Here are news from CERN:
The LHCb and CMS experiments at CERN have announced the first definitive observation B0s→μ μ− decay. This is one of the rarest processes in fundamental physics, predicted by the Standard Model to occur only about 3 times in every billion. Where the result is a remarkable success for the Standard Model, around the web it has also been called a serious blow to supersymmetric symmetry (SUSY) models.

But  Gordon Kane points out that some supersymmetric theories actually predict that some superpartners lead to experimental results very close to the Standard Model ones, particularly those that affect these newly observed rare decays. He and his colleagues made quantitative predictions of Bs meson decay to muons based on the compactification of M-theory that deviate from the Standard Model prediction by a percent or so. Jim Gates also bemoans talk of the death of SUSY. "SUSY has a huge parameter space and it will take years, if not decades, to experimentally explore it all. So declaring SUSY dead is most certainly premature."

While I'm on the roll with matters delirious:
Is it possible that time is real, and that the laws of physics are not fixed? Lee Smolin, A C Grayling, Gillian Tett, and Bronwen Maddox explore the implications of such a profound re-think of the natural and social sciences, and consider how it might impact the way we think about surviving the future.
Einstein is invoked only in min. 4. Gotta hand it to Lee for professorial grooming, though.

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