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April 24, 2008

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Some people argue that Smolin is a mediocre scientist, and that his frustration for not being able to give any relevant contributions to theoretical physics has led him to write that book. Someone who is particularly aggressive towards Smolin is Luboš Motl ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lubo%C5%A1_Motl ), a very talented and highly opinionated Czech theoretical physicist who was at Harvard and is now outside institutionalized Science (guess why!). For an example of Lubos' attacks on Smolin, check this out:
http://nige.wordpress.com/2006/08/31/assistant-professor-lubos-motls-disgraceful-attack-on-lee-smolin

Many people seem way too eager to criticize String Theory without knowing anything about it. I think Smolin's views may be too biased. There are many heavy-weight people doing work on String Theory: Ed Witten, Steven Weinberg, Leonard Susskind, Brian Greene, Lisa Randall, etc etc etc. This group is worth its weight in gold. Are they all crazy? I doubt it. String Theory is a work in progress, and I think it would be wise to give it time to mature. As usual, I am against over-generalizations, and I would argue that it's not whether String Theory is good or bad, but which work in String Theory is good or bad. Many extremely smart people have dedicated many years of their lives to String Theory, and I think it's unlikely that we're witnessing collective madness here.

For a good overview of String Theory, Brian Greene's TED talk is truly awesome! :-)
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/251

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