As much as I’ve been evidently doing so, I generally make an effort not to write about physics in search of the topical. A toy ambulance on my office desk serves as the warning, but perhaps not tonight.
I feel a need to mark my reactions upon reading a certain paper that came out recently, and the myriad popularized coverage grossly misrepresenting its motivation and significance to the public.
In the interview I watched, which was conducted by my usual go-to popular science media, a reporter asked one of the authors “what would Einstein say if he saw this.”
The question was met with some blandly positive response mated to sentimental music. This is perversion of emotions and history of our journey, of the great works past. It covers the disingenuous motivation behind this work, and may misguide countless young people ambitious in this field.
Everything — I mean everything — new about nonperturbative quantum gravity represents a significant step in humanity’s history and deserves wide dissemination and celebration. But this isn’t it.
Hawking radiation, strings, AdS space time with negative cosmological constant (I prefer the other sign), black hole information … none have been developed enough to be tested.
And an experiment built on all of these is the cover story in Nature.