Farewell to Reality: How Modern Physics Has Betrayed the Search for Scientific Truth. Jim Baggott. Pegasus, $ (p) ISBN. Two writers argue that modern science needs to get a grip on reality, rejecting ‘ timeless’ theories of the universe and the ‘fairytale’ physics of. It’s always good when a book of popular science has a clear line to argue, and Jim Baggott’s line is very clear indeed: modern physics has.

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Non-experts found Woit’s Not Even Wrong too mathematical and demanding; Berlinski’s The Devil’s Delusion fardwell written off as creationist propa Increasingly often, modern science is being attacked by people accusing it of failing to honor its own rules. Perhaps it’s the popular science selling itself to the mass market, where popular is better selling than factual.

I also think your insistence on a clear distinction between what is well-established science and what is highly speculative is exactly right, I wish more science journalists would observe this. Scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider have found no evidence that the new particle discovered earlier this tarewell is anything but the simplest — and most boring — variety of Higgs boson.

It then moves on to review our current state of knowledge about fundamental physics. A day later, another book with exactly the same theme will be published- Bankrupting Physics: It is not a unified theory of the fundamental atomic and subatomic forces.

One dimensional strings vibrating but currently undetectable. As an experimentalist, I’ve always viewed various oddball experiments, exotic particle searches, and other more speculative analyses as basically harmless provided the authors at least do their math and statistics correctly harder than it sounds.

FAREWELL TO REALITY by Jim Baggott | Kirkus Reviews

Baggott is not afraid to be critical but is fair about it. Physics since the s has found getting data to test new physics and explore particle at higher energies has been getting harder and harder.

I buy everything you say. Imaginative speculation is the wellspring of science, as Baggott’s hero, Einstein, demonstrated. Farewell to Reality is an excellent book for the science minded. Alright, quantum kim hurts my brain! It is not Life true and real. Branes crashing into branes.


This book serves as a refreshing chaser to the book “Quantum” and the film “Particle Fever”. Too bad, as i really liked the overall approach. This is a total misunderstanding of what theoretical physics is. But one thing to say, in view of the current employment situation in physics, is this line from his obituary: According to Duff, I guess, back in the situation was just like that of string theory, with the field experiencing what people were calling an unhealthy domination by the likes of Peter Bzggott and others working on the Higgs mechanism.

He considers numerous cases from the history of science and philosophy, and concludes that it is hard to frame clear general rules.

But the few exceptions happen to be very big ones. The borderline bsggott physics and metaphysics is not as sharply defined as one would wish quantum mechanics, or for that matter Newton’s idea of absolute spaceand it is not straightforward to define what it realify for reapity theory to be empirically testable it was surprising that Dirac’s ideas about anti-matter were soon validated, and experts believed for a long time that no one would ever be able to detect neutrinos.

Aug 04, Manny rated it really liked it Recommends it for: It certainly seems to be the most economically rewarding. As for the main topic here, I agree fully that the way string theory has been sold to the general public for too many years has been detrimental to jum physics and therefore science at large. I realise this idea is reprehensible to most, many, or any working or non-working scientist around, past since say, Gallileo or present where empiricism is the gold standard.

Simply, Greatness delusions dressed as “Posthumous legacies for more selfdelusional Apes’s colective patterns” It ends with a description of the outstanding problems left unsolved by our best theories, and a good summary of the current situation:.

Too bad, I’ve read it all. May 19, Kerszi rated it really liked it.


As to getting a foothold, it would help if theoreticians made more effort to clearly state their assumptions. Just like in the jjm, fairy tales provide us with instant answers.

Loading comments… Trouble loading? I think if you read the book you will — hopefully — see that I am very much in favour of imaginative and speculative ideas. Unless I am waaaaaaay more stupid than the average lay person.


Rob, You seem to argue that the situations are comparable because the reactions of the community are comparable. For me, the lesson of Baggott’s fairy tales is not for us to lift ourselves away from them back into the realm of the credulous, the jiim nosed empiricist, the stance of the undreaming dead-at-heart.

It has the added bonus of allowing me to construct a theory of quantum gravity.

Farewell to Reality: How Modern Physics Has Betrayed the Search for Scientific Truth by Jim Baggott

Realit see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Stephen Hawking and black holes. Eternal inflation no empirical support means that all these different variant universes actually exist. Baggott devotes the first chapter of the book to an overview of his take on what the scientific method really is.

Time Reborn by Lee Smolin; Farewell to Reality by Jim Baggott – review

The difference between Newtownian and quantum physics. Physicists conjecturing about theories to explain the universe according to the author have drifted from hard science into Metaphysics. Jan 16, Matt rated it liked it Shelves: Baggot rightly calls it fairy tale physics. Next time you pick up the latest best-selling popular science book, or tune into the latest science documentary on the radio or television, keep an open mind and try to maintain a healthy scepticism… Fareaell is the nature of the evidence in support of this theory?

One can argue that string theorists just need more time Duff points to the idea of atoms arising back in BC, taking more than two millennia to come to fruition baggoott, but the problem with string theory is not that progress is slow but that it is negative. In which case, I hate this book for bringing that fact to light.

What counts as evidence for a scientific theory?

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