Friday, 25 March 2011

Your desk? It went out with SUSY.

Having just had my grant application rejected, I am in a slightly contemplative mood. The rejection is more annoying than anything else, for two reasons. First, because I now can't hire someone to take the load off, and second because it means I have to spend more time applying for other grants this year.

So, the future. Promise lurks on the horizon. It lurks like a huge shadowy something which could be an awesome uber-pancake covered in yummmy job-jam, but could also be the unemployment squid, its many tentacles flicking over the land, picking off postdocs and professors alike.

The deciding factor between pancake and cephalopod is the LHC. Theoretical physics is in a state. Despite the velociraptuous support from the higher ups, a lot of modern theoretical physics is not science. (As I've posted before, some explain this away by saying that "Modern physics has nothing to do with the Marxist definition of science". I'll let you ponder that one while I get back to the point.) The multiverse is not science, the anthropic principle is not science, and the SUSY apologists' escape route, that it can always be shoved up to higher energies, is worryingly reminiscent of something which isn't science.

Saying any experimental result, or lack thereof, can be shuffled into another part of the multiverse, preserving the sanctity of The String, is not science. I'm not going to bash string theory, I think it's a cool idea, but arguing that the multiverse is the only possible option just because strings led us there is very lazy, and dangerous, thinking.

I think I'm drifting. The point is, if the LHC finds nothing, high energy physics is going to be in trouble, and jobs are going to be even more scarce than they are now. But this is obvious to everyone involved. So why am I mentioning it.... if I had a point it has escaped me. Sorry.

Oooh, waffles....

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