[Click to enlarge]
EDWARD WITTEN and STEPHEN HAWKING
The “smartest man on the planet” meets the “the greatest mind in physics since Albert Einstein”
WWW Thinkers Smackdown
Yogi Bera “the greatest philosopher this side of the Milky Way” will meet Master Sergeant Ernest G. Bilko “the greatest strategist of WWII the Big One.”
Tickets on sale now.
UNDERSTANDING WITTEN AND HAWKING:
Things have come to such dire straits today with the strong-arming by, and the tyranny of the physics establishment that the Witten and the Hawking phenomena should be discussed in austere language, and not its polite parlor version as many would demand. Too goddamn many flimflam men are operating today within the physics establishment under the protection that you criticize them only following their prescribed format in their refereed journals.
When you try to criticize these oxdung artistes, their touts will say: “You do not understand! What do you know about the mathematics of unstable D-Branes and anti de Sitter space…?!”, and such high order crapola.
This is a well-crafted ruse to avoid the real issue on which mathematics has no bearing at all. The real issue is this: What have these genius physicists actually done for physics?
The answer is clear and unambiguous: Absolutely nothing! Physics – that physics which we know to be beneficial to mankind – would be no different today if these people were never born.
If you ask the touts to explain to you what their respective Gurus have done for physics, the answer will be in the nature of Man does not live by bread alone… Then tell them to stick to bread. Then they will have no answer.
That should be the end of the discussion. You no more want to engage in a debate on mathematics with them than you want to debate the inherent beauty of the idea of the Ponzi Scheme with Bernie Madoff.
In physics, Witten and Hawking are poseurs. Their groupies are the Physicsville schoolyard bullies. They are whipping out their folded mathematical knife, flicking it open, and then demanding that you give your allegiance to their cult gurus.
In mathematics, they may be good. But a group of mathematician-physicists (as distinct from mathematical physicists which Witten and Hawking are not) getting together and showing one another their ‘moves’ in topological ecdysiastics and geometric calisthenics, and then giving one another This Medal and That Prize has little relevance for the advancing of physics. They are busy as bees and happy as larks – and that’s about the size of it. If you want to applaud them in that arena, by all means do so. You will have no quarrel with me. Not until you mention physics, that is.
Mathematics – like all fine implements – can be used for the good or the bad. When it is used for the good, some tangible benefit usually follows. Look to other people’s work to appreciate the beneficial uses of mathematics.