This summer Edward Witten has added two more substantial chunks of gold to his already large and impressive collection: The Newton Medal of the British Institute of Physics, and the Lorentz Medal of The Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Good for him!
It seems that the only thing remaining is the Nobel Prize (for Physics). Considering the formidable backing he has from the most powerful of international physicists, it should be in the bag.
The Newton Medal was given
“For his many profound contributions that have transformed areas of particle theory, quantum field theory and general relativity.”
If you play with the meaning of ‘profound’ and ‘transform’, it seems to me that this can be said about many theoretical physicists – Myron Evans not the least!
The Lorentz Medal was given because
“There is no doubt that Edward Witten has played as influential a role in the development of physics as Hendrik Antoon Lorentz.”
The above statement alone is more than enough basis for a Nobel Prize, pronto! The Physics Nobel Committee will be bowled over. I mean, Witten should not even have any competition! He will probably get an unshared Nobel Prize.
The Brits and the Dutch have thus already put in a good word for Witten with the Nobel folks. Also, the bookmakers usually give Witten great handicap.
So I think Witten has a high probability of nobelling (one L or two Ls?). We might soon see a benobeled Edward Witten. Gosh! He already occupies so many Google image pages – what will happen when he gets the Nobel Prize?! If I had the money, I would bet on Witten – 2010 race, to win.
THE PUMPING UP OF EDWARD WITTEN: DUTCH STYLE
Did they hire Hans and Franz?
[Click to enlarge]
Edward Witten Princeton University Lorentz Medal
Reader, have you ever heard anything more ludicrous?
There oughta be a law!
This is the stark proof of the Edward Witten hyping campaign.
The Dutch…er…Austrian.. boys Hans and Franz say to Witten:
“I am Hans.”
“Und I am Franz.”
“Und ve just vant to pump… (clap) …YOU UP!”
The hucksterism in the physics establishment has now exceeded that in the Khan el-Khalili bazaar.
Do you still want my two-cents’ worth? Well, read on. Edward Witten should rest assured that the Nobel Prize givers would no more listen to my opinion on him than they listened to my opinion on John Mather.
Witten has done absolutely nothing for physics. All this highfalutin fluff about supersymmetry and gauge theory and topology and stuff have not advanced, and will not advance physics an iota. Physics that counts, my physics and your physics. Not hucksters’ physics, not parlor-game physics, not catwalk physics.
Indeed, the definition of the limits of physics had to be greatly stretched to accommodate Edward Witten’s escapist ‘science’. It has been stretched so much that Deepak “Quantum Healing” Chopra should now be well inside the physicsdom.
About thirty years ago Edward Witten entered physics as some kind of a mathematical wunderkind. But as the Arabic proverb has it, Little by little the camel gets into the couscous. Edward Witten has messed up our entire communal mound of couscous.
The reason why so much adoration of Witten can go on unquestioned is because there is absolutely nothing to tie down to anything anywhere. Witten emits fluff, his groupies worship fluff, and then the peer anoint fluff. Then they put out citations that are fluff. There is not even a tiny string hanging from the fluff that you can grab a hold of and tie to something. And when all is said and done, it remains fluff. Fluff to fluff, smoke to smoke, void to void.
If you have been observant and have been connecting the invisible dots, you would have noticed a very subtle and subliminal campaign that is occurring right now: To re-frame Witten’s accomplishment in terms of areas other than String Theory. They are in fact remaking Edward Witten’s image. This may represent a prepping of Witten for the Nobel Prize – for the Nobel folks may not want to be seen as blessing String Theory.
So – after whooping it up for thirty years – Witten is leaving his String Theory jobby all over our beautiful mosaic of physics, and moving on. Who is going to clean up after him?
Do you know how long it took to make the Augean Stables mess? Thirty years. Do you know who had to clean up this mess? Hercules. Do you know how he did it? He channeled two rivers through the Stables and thus washed away the accumulated merd.
Edward Witten is like a rogue General of a heavily armed, if small, force. He operates outside of that accountability to which everyone in science surrenders. In this Witten is enabled by a high-power group of highly placed minions. This intellectual ‘Brotherhood of the Bell’ is so clever that you will never find out where they hold their version of the Black Mass.
Some peole have criticized Wiiten’s work. These critics are a bunch of damn fools who stepped right into Witten’s trap and tried to fight him with mathematical weapons. In so doing, they have strenghtened Witten.
The issue of whether or not there are 11 space dimensions is the same as the issue of whether or not there are ghosts. If you can make a science of one, you can make a science of the other. A most logical mystery writer – if he sudenly allows in ghosts – will see his plots possibilities become infinte. So too, a law-abiding physicist who allows extra space dimension will …. well, you get the picture. So the Brotherhood of String Theorists can be likened to the Ghost Research Society. The first group uses mathematical techniques and the second group uses audiovisual techniques.
So if anyone challenges me to pit some work of mine against the work of the String Theorists, I will gladly put up my ghost stories. I actually keep my physics and my stories separate.
Fully 99.9% of the World’s physicist population (which is much greater than the conventional “establishment”) has never used, do not now use or will ever use anything produced by Witten. So how can his influence on physics be equal to that of Lorentz today? What influence? Who all are influenced, Mijnheers?
I have heard of the tremendously powerful Bob Dylan for the Literature Nobel Campaign. It had many powerful backers (like Allen Ginsberg), and a number of laudatory books were published on Dylan as he was put up for the Prize. Perhaps you can compare Wittten’s brane with this bit of fine poetry from Dylan:
Idiot wind, blowing like a circle around my skull,
From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol
Fully 99.9% of the World physicist population have heard of Witten only because of the hype in the science media or the mass media.
There are a number of outstanding real foundational physics problems smack in the middle of Witten’s forte, and where he could make truly laudable contribution: What is the photon? What is the physical nature of magnetic field in empty space? These are things that require specific answers – which can then be tested. But Witten will not touch such things with a 20-foot pole. Because he will get found out. Ask him to do anything, within his forte, that can be grasped within the normal bounds of physics, and he is outta here!
What is going on here is NOT theoretical physics, folks. Them intellectuals are doing a number on you!
Or have you forgotten the substance-less fluff that the quants laid on you? How much did they take you for?
Finally, you can stick close to truth and yet wordsmith a citation to make up anyone into anything. In fact, I would venture a guess that most mature theoretical physicists can pad/hype their accomplishments to make them sound something like those of Witten’s award citations.
Consider the following award citation I quickly made up:
— has done yeoman’s service to the nation in her darkest hour – providing guidance and leadership of one of the most crucial arms of the government, detering our nation’s enemies with innovative methods, advising our legislature with unprecedented clarity of thought, …
Who am I speaking of? Alberto Gonzalez of course.