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There’s this idea that beauty is a powerful guide to truth in the mathematics of physical theory. String theory is certainly beautiful in the eyes of many physicists. Beautiful enough to pursue even if it’s wrong?
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Previous Episode: Quantum Physics in a Mirror Universe
Hosted by Matt O'Dowd
Written by Matt O'Dowd
Graphics by Luke Maroldi
Assistant Editing and Sound Design by Mike Petrow
Made by Kornhaber Brown (www.kornhaberbrown.com)
Hermann Weyl once said, “If I have to choose between beauty and truth, I choose beauty.” It was in reaction to a rebuke by Einstein. Weyl had tried to explain electromagnetism by imposing on Einstein’s general theory of relativity very first gauge symmetry, Weyl invariance. Einstein pointed out it the proposal led to some absurd results, and so the idea went down in flames. It just couldn’t be true, despite the elegance of the math. But sometimes it can be hard to let go of the sense that a beautiful theory must be right. Could this also be the case with string theory?
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