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Surprising Science

The Loose Ends of String Theory

String theory has been one of the most famous ideas to emerge from physics in the past 50 years, yet a vocal minority of physicists have criticized its failure to provide testable experimental predictions. In an interview this week, Columbia University’s Peter Woit untangles a fundamental model of nature his book calls “Not Even Wrong” and voices skepticism that it will turn out to be the long-sought-after “theory of everything.”

Woit goes on to explain the nature of the elusive Higgs particle and the role the new Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will play in proving its existence or nonexistence. Having tied the viewer’s mind into some intricate theoretical knots, he then discusses his experience as a physics blogger, and the unintentional comedy that results when the average Internet commenter pits his wits against Nobel-winning scientists.


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