Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray

Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray Review

A contrarian argues that modern physicists' obsession with beauty has given us wonderful math but bad science.

Whether pondering black holes or predicting discoveries at CERN, physicists believe the best theories are beautiful, natural, and elegant, and this standard separates popular theories from disposable ones. This is why, Sabine Hossenfelder argues, we have not seen a major breakthrough in the foundations of physics for more than four decades. The belief in beauty has become so dogmatic that it now conflicts with scientific objectivity: observation has been unable to confirm mindboggling theories, like supersymmetry or grand unification, invented by physicists based on aesthetic criteria. Worse, these "too good to not be true" theories are actually untestable and they have left the field in a cul-de-sac. To escape, physicists must rethink their methods. Only by embracing reality as it is can science discover the truth.

Title:Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Manny

    Sabine Hossenfelder is a theoretical physicist, and she's pretty mad about the way her subject has gone over the last thirty years. She's written this book to tell you why she's mad, and what she's do...

  • Manuel Antăo

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.Implausifiability in Physics: “Lost in Math - How Beauty Leads Physics Astray” by Sabine Hossenfelder“The time it takes to test a new...

  • David Wineberg

    The universe is unacceptable to physicistsWell back into history, Man has tried to force nature into symmetry. Some of our greatest scientists spent their lives trying to force the solar system and th...

  • G.R. Reader

    I figured that if Luboš Motl hated the book this much, it had to be worth reading. It's usually a sound principle, and it didn't let me down this time either. ...

  • Brian Clegg

    One of my favourite illustrations from a science title was in Fred Hoyle's book on his quasi-steady state theory. It shows a large flock of geese all following each other, which he likened to the stat...

  • Sebastian

    It is reassuring to know that there are quite a few people out there not happy with how physics is going these days. Reading, for example, Krauss’ half-assed pompous non-explanation for why there is...

  • Nick Black

    reads like a Mary Roach book about particle physics -- altogether too many "human interest physics" elements, including descriptions of one interviewee's cats ("Astrokate", apparently a ...twitter aut...

  • Eric

    One thought experiment that I love is the Theseus Paradox, which asks the question that if a ship is repaired and all of its old parts replaced, is it the same ship that was originally built or a new ...

  • Bob Schnapps

    The author is someone who rates their own books on Goodreads......

  • Rod Van Meter

    A fascinating philosophical take on how philosophical physics has become. Physicists are hooked on various definitions of simplicity, involving fewer mathematical terms and especially fewer "magic con...