BANKRUPTING PHYSICS by Alexander Unzicker


How Today's Top Scientists Are Gambling Away Their Credibility
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With assistance from science writer Jones (The Quantum Ten, 2008), theoretical physicist and neuroscientist Unzicker compares the current state of theoretical physics to a bubble economy.

"Governments can delay an economic disaster by printing money,” writes the author. “Physics, to avoid the bankrupting of its theories, can resort to experiments with ever-higher energies.” Unzicker buttresses this statement with further accusations, taking special aim at peer reviewers who black ball " 'risky' ideas that run contrary to established views…while boring, technical papers are usually waved through." While carefully separating himself from cranks who deny special relativity or quantum theory on the one hand and religious fundamentalists on the other, the author offers a broad dismissal of modern theoretical physicists, whom he accuses of having "gotten lost in bizarre constructs that are completely disconnected from reality, in a mockery of methods that grounded the success of physics for 400 years." Unzicker also targets the massive expenditures of funds on high-energy particle accelerators. Unfortunately, the author's invectives are not matched by equivalent scientific depth. He simplifies the complexities of quantum physics and the Schrödinger equation to a "sophisticated technique, which boils down to the same math one uses to measure how springs—just like your Slinky—oscillate in three dimensions," and he ridicules attempts to explain anomalies in astronomical data by inferring the existence of dark matter and dark energy, comparing them to Ptolemy's use of epicycles to describe planetary orbits. He also disparages the failure of modern science to explain the discrepancies in size of fundamental forces such as gravity and electromagnetism.

Unzicker unsuccessfully attempts to bolster the credibility of his own sweeping generalizations by claiming the mantle of esteemed physicists such as Roger Penrose and Lee Smolin, who seriously question the direction of current theory.

Pub Date: July 30th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-137-27823-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2013


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