[Readers, the following answers are truly from the physics establishment. They were asked to formulate their best case in one single continuous narrative, and they did. The entire case on Edward Witten is right here. I certify that I did not make them up – nor did I edit or alter them in any way, nor change a single word.
Also, as you read, do not fail to notice the subtle attempt to deemphasize (demobilize?) Witten’s main bombast and most visible accomplishment, String Theory – which has become laughable around the World.]
Dreamheron: What has Edward Witten given physics?
Physics establishment: Many profound contributions that have transformed areas of particle theory, quantum field theory and general relativity.
D: Can you be more specific?
PE: Edward Witten has been one of the most influential theoretical physicists of the past thirty years working at the interface of quantum field theory, general relativity and string theory. He has made numerous profound contributions that have transformed several major areas of research.
D: “Transform” does not tell me anything. What exactly has he done for physics? And cut out this ‘profound’ stuff!
PE: One quality that makes him unique among theoretical physicists is that in order to solve these problems he has often had to develop profoundly new mathematical insights. His combination of tremendous physical insight and mathematical power have had impact in areas ranging from the phenomenology of particle physics and cosmology to theoretical areas of string theory and quantum gravity.
D: I am not getting through to you, am I? I don’t want to know if he has impacted physics or compacted physics. I want to know what he has added to physics. If you ask me what has Myron Evans added to physics, I can answer that he has derived the photon magnetic field and photon mass. What has Ionel Dinu added to physics? Elaborated the nature of magnetic field in empty space. Solid, serious, adult and sane contributions that every physicist can understand. And yet, these are as ‘profound’ and deep and complex ideas as can be – but there is never any need to belabor that point again and again. The endpoint of their work says it all. There is never any need to use evasive words. In that vein, what has Witten done?
PE: He is a master of the geometric structure underlying the Feynman path integral that defines quantum systems. He invented topological field theory as a mathematical tool for understanding the vacuum states of interesting quantum field theories and string theories. His related work on Chern–Simons theory also has many physical implications as well as its celebrated impact on knot theory.
D: Whew …Got milk?! (Dreamheron nearly collapses. He is given a glass of milk. He recovers.) OK, go on. But please go easy on me.
PE: He has used supersymmetry as a technique for understanding subtle quantum field theories of interest in particle physics and in the process given new insights into Morse theory and the positive energy theorem. With Seiberg, he transformed our understanding of the phase structure of rich supersymmetric field theories and in the process developed Seiberg–Witten theory as an extension of Donaldson theory. He brought the geometry of Calabi–Yau spaces into string theory and then developed many of the important mathematical ideas in mirror symmetry.
D: Please! I am all “insighted” out. Give me a break! You know physics? P – H – Y – S – I – C – S? You do?! OK. What has Witten done in that field? Give me just one result I can hang my hat on from his thirty years of whooping it up in physics?
PE: His development of Twistor String Theory has lead to new insights into supersymmetric gauge theory and has breathed new life into the twistor programme. His contributions to non-perturbative string theory or `Mtheory’ are numerous. These include, in particular, his work on D-branes and their intersections and his work on the gauge/gravity correspondence, an area that is now making contact with strongly coupled systems of interest in diverse areas of physics.
D: (Falls on his knees and prays:) Lord preserve me from these looney tunes…!
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STRING THEORY IN BALANCE
Readers, don’t try to barter. Just pay for the coffee in all cash!
It’s only $1.50.
RESULTS YOUR COLLEAGUES CAN HANG THEIR HAT ON:
THE HAT RACK OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
After thirty years of whooping it up as Ubermensch, Einstein, Newton, God, Pope, Time Traveler, Intelligent Designer and the Lord knows what else, Edward Witten has nothing at all to show for himself. That is the fact on the ground. But the touts will convince you otherwise with their wordsmithing and their jargon-ridden fluff – that is what these intellectual touts do.
Let me exemplify the kinds of things you can hang your hat on:
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Edward Witten: He has nothing to show for thirty years of bombast
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STRING THEORY SHAM and PONZI SCHEME SCAM:
Discussing String Theory is like discussing the Ponzi Scheme
Interesting, but ….
Sir Michael Atiyah (top left) – a mathematician – is a tout for String Theory.
David Gross (top right) – himself a bogus Nobel Laureate – counts among his students another bogus Nobel Laureate and a famous oxdung artiste.
PHYSICS: WHAT’S NEXT?
What’s next for Edward Witten, John Mather, Frank Wilczek….