Thursday, October 27, 2005

Lawrence Krauss: Hiding in the mirror

I found this book to be particularly weak among the recent books about theoretical physics in general and extra dimensions in particular. The main problem is that Krauss does not distinguish random stories and fiction from physical theories. He mixes aliens hidden in extra dimensions with QCD, Picasso, Plato, Flatland, M-theory, and many other things.

Krauss' book is a classical example of politicization of science. He tries to present extra dimensions as a form of religion; it's the main agenda behind this book to put modern physics in the context of some old unscientific fairy-tales. Of course that when we talk about some physical theories or conjectures involving extra dimensions seriously, there is no room for religious or anti-religious arguments. But Krauss prefers the non-serious approach. Unlike Krauss, I personally have no a priori positive or negative feelings about extra dimensions whatsoever. Extra dimensions is something that it forced upon us by the rules of mathematics. If physical arguments implied that elementary particles had to be 3D Platonic polyhedra, I would view this derivation equally seriously. Krauss prefers pre-conceptions and his atheism - that he incorrectly believes to be correlated with 3+1 dimensions - is one of them.

You may read more in my review at which is also the fastest way to get to the amazon web page of the book. Incidentally, Krauss uses very similar techniques to control the available reviews as Mark McCutcheon. Once the book was published, he has secured several identical reviews saying that "the book is Krauss' best yet and Ira Fratow was right". One of these reviews was written by Miss Rouge, Krauss' daughter. Her review of Krauss' previous book was even more informative:
  • i am krauss' daughter, and i loved it, September 6, 1999
  • hellO! i am lawrence krauss' daughter and i havent read the book yet, but i figured i'd review it just to give it the 5 stars! :) yay!

Her father sometimes - but not always - seems to have a similarly honest approach to the ideas in physics, which is why I guess that the book will be more popular among bitter crackpots and empty heads rather than physics fans. It seems totally obvious to me that the readers of this book will be the people who find some old unscientific confusions of some well-known people more interesting than the thrilling picture of reality drawn by modern physics.

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