Hossenfelder, Sabine. Lost in Math. New York: Basic Books, 2019. ISBN 978-0-465-09425-7.
Many of the fundamental theories of physics: general relativity, quantum mechanics, and thermodynamics, for example, exhibit great mathematical beauty and elegance once you've mastered the notation in which they are expressed. Some physicists believe that a correct theory must be elegant and beautiful. But what if they're wrong? Many sciences, such as biology and geology, are complicated and messy, with few general principles that don't have exceptions, and in which explanation must take into account a long history of events which might have happened differently. The author, a theoretical physicist, cautions that as her field becomes disconnected from experiment and exploring notions such as string theory and multiple universes, it may be overlooking a reality which, messy though it may be, is the one we actually inhabit and, as scientists, try to understand.

May 2020 Permalink