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Quantum

Lecture by Sabine Hossenfelder

How Beauty Leads Physics Astray

Debate

What does it mean to say that a formula is beautiful or elegant? Should solutions contributed by physics respond to this ideal? In this lecture Sabine Hossenfelder will talk about how, in her view, concepts like beauty are obstacles impeding advances in theoretical physics research.

Throughout history, many scientific equations have been deemed beautiful, harmonious, or elegant. In Sabine Hossenfelder’s opinion, this use of adjectives shows that theoretical physicists often rely on arguments based on beauty when developing fundamentally new laws of nature. She suggests that simplicity and naturalness have been a particularly influential guide in particle physics research and, in her opinion, that arguments from beauty have led the field into a dead end of sterile debate. In this lecture she will explain why the paradigm of beauty has caused research in theoretical physics to fail and will discuss what can be done about it.

Presenters: Lluís Nacenta

Participants: Sabine Hossenfelder

This activity is part of Quantum, The Frontiers of Knowledge

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Sabine Hossenfelder

How Beauty Leads Physics Astray Quantum

Throughout history, many scientific equations have been deemed beautiful, harmonious, or elegant. In Sabine Hossenfelder’s opinion, this use of adjectives shows that theoretical physicists often rely on arguments based on beauty when developing fundamentally new laws of nature.

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