I say looking at the next 100 years that there are two trends in the world today. The first trend is toward what we call a type one civilization, a planetary civilization... The danger is the transition between type zero and type one and that’s where we are today. We are a type zero civilization. We get our energy from dead plants, oil and coal. But if you get a calculator you can calculate when we will attain type one status. The answer is: in about 100 years we will become planetary. We’ll be able to harness all the energy output of the planet earth. We’ll play with the weather, earthquakes, volcanoes. Anything planetary we will play with. The danger period is now, because we still have the savagery. We still have all the passions. We have all the sectarian, fundamentalist ideas circulating around, but we also have nuclear weapons. ...capable of wiping out life on earth. So I see two trends in the world today. The first trend is toward a multicultural, scientific, tolerant society and everywhere I go I see aspects of that birth. For example, what is the Internet? Many people have written about the Internet. Billions and billions of words written about the Internet, but to me as a physicist the Internet is the beginning of a type one telephone system, a planetary telephone system. So we’re privileged to be alive to witness the birth of type one technology... And what is the European Union? The European Union is the beginning of a type one economy. And how come these European countries, which have slaughtered each other ever since the ice melted 10,000 years ago, how come they have banded together, put aside their differences to create the European Union? ...so we’re beginning to see the beginning of a type one economy as well...
When Physicists speak of "beauty" in their theories, they really mean that their theory possesses at least two essential features: 1. A unifying symmetry 2. The ability to explain vast amounts of experimental data with the most economical mathematical expressions.
Ch.5 Quantum Heresy
Maxwell's equations... originally consisted of eight equations. These equations are not "beautiful." They do not possess much symmetry. In their original form, they are ugly. ...However, when rewritten using time as the fourth dimension, this rather awkward set of eight equations collapses into a single tensor equation. This is what a physicist calls "beauty," because both criteria are now satisfied.
Ch.5 Quantum Heresy
It is often stated that of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is quantum theory. In fact, some say that the only thing that quantum theory has going for it is that it is unquestionably correct.
Ch.12 Colliding Universes
There are many examples of old, incorrect theories that stubbornly persisted, sustained only by the prestige of foolish but well-connected scientists. … Many of these theories have been killed off only when some decisive experiment exposed their incorrectness. .. Thus the yeoman work in any science, and especially physics, is done by the experimentalist, who must keep the theoreticians honest.
No other theory known to science [other than superstring theory] uses such powerful mathematics at such a fundamental level. ...because any unified field theory first must absorb the Riemannian geometry of Einstein's theory and the Lie groups coming from quantum field theory... The new mathematics, which is responsible for the merger of these two theories, is topology, and it is responsible for accomplishing the seemingly impossible task of abolishing the infinities of a quantum theory of gravity.
Remarkably, only a handful of fundamental physical principles are sufficient to summarize most of modern physics.
Mathematics... is the set of all possible self-consistent structures, and there are vastly more logical structures than physical principles.
It is sometimes helpful to differentiate between the God of Miracles and the God of Order. When scientists use the word God, they usually mean the God of Order. ...The God of Miracles intervenes in our affairs, performs miracles, destroys wicked cities, smites enemy armies, drowns the Pharaoh's troops, and avenges the pure and noble. ...This is not to say that miracles cannot happen, only that they are outside what is commonly called science.