The Cretish Labyrinth, 1558, Hieronymus Cock (ca. 1510-1570), etching on paper. Courtesy photo
SFI Community Event: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray by Sabine Hossenfelder at 7:30 p.m., today, Aug. 28 at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211 W. San Francisco St. in Santa Fe.
To develop new laws of nature, physicists routinely rely on arguments from beauty. This method has worked badly and has resulted in 40 years of stagnation in the foundations of physics. Dozens of costly experiments were commissioned but failed to confirm any of the physicists’ beautiful hypotheses. In this SFI Community Lecture, science writer Sabine Hossenfelder explains what physicists mean when they say a theory is beautiful, what went wrong with their reliance on it, and how the field can move on.
Sabine will be signing copies of her recently published book, Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, in the lobby of the Lensic at 6:45 p.m., just before the lecture.
Sabine Hossenfelder has a Ph.D. in physics and a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics. She is presently a Research Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, Germany, and has published more than 60 research articles about the foundations of physics. Sabine has written about physics for a broad audience for more than ten years. Besides her popular blog Backreaction, she has also written for Scientific American, Quanta Magazine, Aeon, NOVA, Nautilus, and NPR (among others). Her first book, Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, was published in June 2018 by Basic Books.