LATELY — 2 December 2006

Hawking on scientific method, and string theory

Stephen Hawking on scientific method, and (obliquely) string theory: “One can not ask whether a theory reflects reality, just whether it agrees with observations. A good theory is one that explains a wide range of observations on the basis of an elegant model, and makes definite predictions for new measurements. … Some very elegant theories predict extra dimensions to space time, above the usual three space and one time dimensions. If the extra dimensions were curled up very small we wouldn’t see them. We can’t rule out theories with extra dimensions, but so far we have no observations that require them.”

(I hadn’t realised string theory was completely unsupported by evidence. From a BBC Radio 4 interview.)