Arcadian Functor

occasional meanderings in physics' brave new world

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Location: New Zealand

Marni D. Sheppeard

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ninja Prof



Blogger L. Riofrio said...

LOL, I am glad you still have a sense of humour about academia!

July 20, 2008 6:59 PM  
Blogger nige said...

It's mean of them to have used such an obvious drawing of Professor Warren Siegel in that cartoon! They must be very bitter with him.

See cartoon and compare to his photo:

Siegel was annoyed with me when I argued that hadronic string theory is pseudoscience over on Cosmic Variance a couple of years ago (I've since ceased reading Cosmic Variance, so I don't know if he still comments there). I don't know why he didn't just accept that was wrong on that issue. It's clear that physically the strong force is due to gluons and virtual mesons, not stretching strings of hadronic size. Even if gluons and the quarks in mesons are composed of Planck scale compactified extra dimensional string, that still wouldn't be justification for using a false model of the strong nuclear force on mych larger distance scales. The latest AdS/CFT correspondence work, with strong interactions being modelled by anti-de Sitter space with a negative (rather than positive) cosmological constant is misleading.

People should be modelling phenomena by accurate models, not returning physics to the days when guys were arguing that epicycles are a clever invention and modelling the solar system using a false model (planets and stars orbiting the Earth in circles within circles) is a brilliant state of the art calculational method! (Once you start modelling phenomenon A using a false approximation from theory B, you're asking for trouble because you're mixing up fact and fiction. E.g., if a prediction fails, you have a ready-made excuse to simply add further epicycles/fiddles to 'make it work'.)

But despite that, his free online textbook "Fields" is excellent and helpful especially used in combination with the books of Zee, Weinberg, Ryder, etc.:

July 21, 2008 6:08 AM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...


I also quit reading Cosmic Variance because they quit talking about physics.

July 21, 2008 10:18 AM  

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