Friday, 25 September 2009
Examining the Limits of Physics: Experimental Diversity Versus the Physics of Big Experiments
Slobodan Perovic, Postdoctoral Fellow
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning
Abstract: Some prominent physicists have recently pointed out an apparent lack of innovation in the fundamental physics research (particle physics, in particular) of the last several decades in comparison with its continuous success throughout previous centuries. Although they see the dominance of presumably un-testable String Theory as the main culprit, I suggest that this might be merely a consequence of developments in experimental practice, in particular, the increasing reliance on very specific, expensive, vastly complex, and rigid experimental setups. The current state of physics stands, prima facie at least, in stark contrast to the early 20th century milestone development of Quantum Mechanics that can serve as a template of experimental (as well as epistemic and ontological) diversity, the current lack of which might help explain the presumed decline of physics.