The Cretish Labyrinth, 1558, Hieronymus Cock (ca. 1510-1570), etching on paper​

To develop new laws of nature, physicists routinely rely on arguments from beauty. This method has worked badly and has resulted in 40 years of stagnation in the foundations of physics. Dozens of costly experiments were commissioned but failed to confirm any of physicists' beautiful hypotheses. In this talk, physicist and science writer Sabine Hossenfelder explains what physicists mean when they say a theory is beautiful, what went wrong with their reliance on it, and how the field can move on.

Sabine Hossenfelder has a Ph.D. in physics and a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics. She is presently a Research Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, Germany, and has published more than 60 research articles about the foundations of physics.

Sabine has written about physics for a broad audience for more than 10 years. Besides her popular blog Backreaction, she has also written for Scientific American, New Scientist, Quanta Magazine, Aeon, NOVA, Nautilus, and NPR (among others). Her first book Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray was published in June 2018 by Basic Books.

SFI’s 2018 Community Lecture Series is supported by Thornburg Investment Management, with additional support provided by The Lensic Performing Arts Center and the Enterprise Holdings Foundation.

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