He knows that it’s not scientific. That’s all he needs to know.
Aren’t you making a classic logical error? Setting up Glashow as the authority, and only authority on string theory due to his nobel status?
I could/would counter with: David Gross shared the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics and is the director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Gross: The big bang theory is the idea that if we go back early enough in the history of the universe—and we can do this, of course, by looking at starlight coming to us from billions of years ago—we will see a very hot and dense period where the universe was much smaller, denser, and hotter. And that explosion or hot state left remnants that we can observe today in the microwave background. So we know that that aspect of the theory is true.
If we push back even farther, that hotter or denser state becomes even hotter and denser. And if we extrapolate using Einstein’s theory of general relativity, we find total disaster. That is, we find a singularity, in which the forces that act on particles become infinitely strong. Things break down completely, and the theory no longer makes sense.
Our conclusion is not that the universe doesn’t make sense, but that the equations are wrong. They’re applicable maybe at later times, but they’re not applicable at the beginning of the universe. So we desperately need something like string theory appears to be—a theory that is consistent.
NOVA: Basically you need a theory that’s going to work under those conditions.
Gross: Yes, and one that can provide an answer to questions that with our present theories we can’t dream of answering, such as: How does the universe begin? What starts it off? What is the state of the universe at the beginning? Is that unique or arbitrary? Who fixes the initial conditions? There are questions that can’t be answered within the standard theory. We’re not sure that string theory, or any theory, could provide answers to the beginning of the universe, but it’s a goal that many of us are desperate to try to reach.
NOVA: And string theory can help provide these answers?
Gross: String theory is the best hope at the present. And the questions are some of the most interesting questions that we can ask. All of us would like to know: Is the universe arbitrary? Could it have been otherwise than it is? Could there have been different laws, different constants of nature? Has it begun only once, or is it cyclic? Was there beginning to time? Does time have any meaning before it began? These are wonderful questions, and we’re now in a position to address them. We have no guarantee that we will find the answers, of course, but the effort is as important as finding the answer.
Philiosophical enough for you?
Also could you please supply your source on the 1,000 light year accelerator.