EDWARD WITTEN, Is it soup yet?

Ever since Edward Witten descended into the field of physics with tremendous fanfare, he has been continually anointed, adored, adulated and advertised. Awards and accolades have flown to him like moths to a flame. And the moneys have accumulated to millions.

All these were given in anticipation of something great coming from Witten in due course – something that would make physics whole once for all. Perhaps a latter-dayPrincipia – the Wittenopia. There may be a new kind of physics, Wittenics.

Edward Witten may be a rare person who has been groomed so intensively and extensively before he has made any contribution to physics (hucksters and touts will disagree).

Witten has been enjoying this grooming in a promisory spirit. It is as though every prize check came to him with an implied question: Is it soup yet?

Now at age 65 – after he has had more than 30 years to make good on the promise – Witten has an answer.

MacArthur Fellowship (1982)

Q: Edward Witten, Is it soup yet?
W: I am just getting started!

Dirac Medal (1985)

Q: Edward Witten, Is it soup yet?
W: I am stoking the fire.

Albert Einstein Medal (1985)

Q: Edward witten, Is it soup yet?
W: It’s going.

Fields Medal (1990)

Q: Edward Witten, Is it soup yet?
W: It’s starting to simmer.

Alan T. Waterman Award (1995)

Q: Edward Witten, Is it soup yet?
W: Juan’s stirring it.

Dannie Heineman Prize (1998)

Q: Edward Witten, Is it soup yet?
W: Len’s setting up the table.

Nemmers Prize (2000)

Q: Edward Witten, Is it soup yet?
W: Almost. I think I will call it M Soup C Soup.

National Medal of Science (2002)

Q: Edward Witten, Is it soup yet?
W: Cumrun’s getting the croutons.

Harvey Prize (2005)

Q: Edward Witten, Is it soup yet?
W: Michio and Yoichiro are adding a bit of Miso powder. Ashok wants to add a touch of curry powder!

Henri Poincaré Prize (2006)

Q: Edward Witten, Is it soup yet?
W: Joe’s chopping the fresh herbs.

Crafoord Prize (2008)

Q: Edward Witten, Is it soup yet?
A: Brian’s folding in the cream.

Lorentz Medal (2010)

Q: Edward Witten, Is it soup yet?
W: Nima’s gonna add a drizzle of honey. No soup for you, Woit!

Isaac Newton Medal (2010)

Q: Edward Witten, Is it soup yet?
W: John’s pre-warming the soup bowls. No soup for you, Smolin!

Fundamental Physics Prize (2012)

Q: Edward Witten, Is it soup yet?
W: Nathan’s getting the ladle. No soup for you, Glashow!

Kyoto Prize (2014)

Q: Edward Witten, Is it soup yet?
W: One moment. My prof David’s gonna taste it as soon as he places his bet. Then Yuri’ll say grace.

Albert Einstein Award (2016)

Q: Edward Witten, Is it soup yet?
W: Ta-da! Just as I promised: The C Soup – the Circumstantial Soup! Rich, and with a delicate consistency. Enjoy!

EDWARD WITTEN FINALLY DELIVERS ON HIS 30-YEAR PROMISE TO REVOLUTIONIZE PHYSICS: The Circumstantial Soup

… there are many circumstantial reasons to believe that String Theory and its elaboration in M-theory are closer to the truth about nature than our presently established theories. String/M-theory is too rich and its consistency is too delicate for its existence to be purely an accident.

*****

(After years of elaborate gestation) the mountain gives birth to a mouse. – Bengali proverb

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