Friday, May 09, 2008

PI goes ekpyrotic

The Perimeter Institute informed us that the new director would be
"an internationally respected scientist of the highest order."
So I thought it would be someone like Gerard 't Hooft who is just visiting the institute and who naturally unifies the interests in serious physics as well as alternative theories about the information and the quantum.

And because of the description above, I would have frankly made a bet that it couldn't be e.g. Neil Turok.

I was wrong. Quite obviously, different people have different ideas what it means to be an internationally respected scientist of the highest order.

Three papers by Neil Turok are famous and all of them are about the cyclic Universe which is a physically unmotivated, inexpensive fantasy. Unfortunately, Neil Turok is a good example of a scholar who is helping the journalists to promote Hollywood physics and various bizarre yet popular myths, for example
general statements that the expanding Universe is in trouble
the Big Bang is problematic just because it is the Big Bang (a weird Turok vs Guth audio)
something must be wrong with the cosmic inflation because Alan Guth thinks that Neil Turok is like a monkey
Mark Trodden agrees that the uncritical way how the journalists have often presented Turok's problematic theories is a case of bad journalism. See also Sean Carroll's criticism of cyclic and similar ideas.

Neil Turok recently invited Stephen Hawking to South Africa in order to find an African Einstein. Good luck with your search. At any rate, this is sadly the kind of stuff that determines the outsiders' opinions about the physicists.

Add some of the weirdest attempts to define the anthropic measures to understand why your humble correspondent will only join the congratulations as a matter of formality. Congratulations. At least, I am happy and grateful that Prof Turok has done some work on cosmic strings.

Nevertheless, the Hollywoodization of physics continues. As soon as the remaining heretics will be removed, the PI's cutting-edge picture of the Universe will be based on ekpyrotic loop quantum cosmology with a variable speed of light and 30+ octopi swimming in the spin foam. ;-)

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