Susskind:Comment j'ai créé la théorie des cordes
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Susskind:Comment j'ai créé la théorie des cordes

  1. #1

    Susskind:Comment j'ai créé la théorie des cordes


    A lire absolument tellement c'est drôle et instructif sur le processus de découverte en physique.
    Le passage où Susskind discute avec Gell-Mann c'est

    I'll tell you the story about how I first got some credit for these things.

    The already legendary Murray Gell-Mann, gave a talk in Coral Gables at a big conference, and I was there. His talk had nothing to do with these things. After his talk we both went back to the motel, which had several stories to it. We got on the elevator, and sure enough the elevator got stuck with only me and Murray on it.

    Murray says to me, "What do you do?"

    So I said, "I'm working on this theory that hadrons are like rubber bands, these one-dimensional stringy things."

    And he starts to laugh...and laugh. And I start too feel like, well, my grandmother used to say, "poopwasser".

    I was so crushed by the great man's comments that I couldn't continue the conversation, so I said, "What are you working on, Murray?" And of course he said, "Didn't you hear my lecture?" Fortunately at that point the elevator started to go.

    I didn't see Murray again for two years. Then, there was a very big conference at FermiLab, and a thousand people were there. And me, I'm still a relative nobody. And Murray is in constant competition with his colleague Richard Feynmann over who is the world's greatest physicist.

    As I'm standing there talking to a group of my friends, Murray walks by and in an instant turns my career and my life around.

    He interrupts the conversation, and, in front of all my friends and closest colleagues, says "I want to apologize to you." I didn't know he remembered me, so I said, "What for?" He said, "For laughing at you in the elevator that time. The stuff you're doing is the greatest stuff in the world. It's just absolutely fantastic, and in my concluding talk at the conference I'm going to talk about nothing but your stuff. We've got to sit down during the conference and talk about it. You've got to explain it to me carefully, so that I get it right."

    Something unimaginable had just happened to me and I was suddenly on a cloud. So for the next three or four days at the conference, I trailed Murray around, and I would say, "Now, Murray?" And Murray would say, "No, I have to talk to somebody important."

    At some point there was a long line at the conference for people trying to talk to the travel agent. I was going to go to Israel and I had to change my ticket. It took about 45 minutes to get to the front of the line, and when I'm two people from the front of the line, you can imagine what happened. Murray comes over and plucks me out of the line and says, "Now I want to talk. Let's talk now." Of course, I was not going to turn Murray down, so I say, "Okay, let's talk," and he says, "I have 15 minutes. Can you explain to me in 15 minutes what this is all about?" I said okay, and we sat down, and for 14 minutes we played a little game: He says to me, "Can you explain it to me in terms of quantum field theory?" And I said, "Okay, I'll try. I'll explain it to you in terms of partons." Around 1968 Feynman proposed that protons, neutrons, and hadrons, were made of little point particles. He didn't know very much about them, but he could see in the data, correctly, that there were elements that made you think that a proton was made up out of little point particles. When you scatter protons off electrons, electrons come out. When you look at the rubbish that comes out, it tends to look as if you've struck a whole bunch of little tiny dots. Those he called partons. He didn't know what they were. That was just his name for them. Parts of protons.

    Now you have to understand how competitive Murray and Dick Feynman were. So Murray says to me, "Partons? Partons? Putons! Putons! You're putting me on!" And I thought, "What's going on here?" I had really said the wrong word.

    “I'm smart enough to know that I'm dumb.” Richard Feynman

  2. #2

    Re : Susskind:Comment j'ai créé la théorie des cordes

    C'est aussi assez marrant ce qu'il raconte sur ses multiples tentatives (infructueuses) de publications dans Physical Review Letters et l'état dans lequel ca l'a mis :
    I felt like I had gotten hit over the head with a trashcan, and I was very, very deeply upset. The story I told Brian Greene for his television program was correct: I went home, I was very nervous, and very upset. My wife had tranquilizers around the house for some reason and she said, "Take one of these and go to sleep." So I took one and I went to sleep, and then I woke up, and a couple of friends came over and we had a couple of drinks, and this did not mix. I not only got drunk but I passed out and one of my physicist friends had to pick me up off the floor and take me to bed.
    Et puis aussi pour ceux qui veulent pas tout lire :
    To this day the only real physics problem that has been solved by string theory is the problem of black holes.
    I frequently go to conferences that often have string theorists and cosmologists, and usually the string theory talks consist of apologizing for the fact that they haven't got anything interesting to tell the cosmologists.
    Merci pour le lien !

  3. #3

    Re : Susskind:Comment j'ai créé la théorie des cordes

    Citation Envoyé par BioBen
    C'est aussi assez marrant ce qu'il raconte sur ses multiples tentatives (infructueuses) de publications dans Physical Review Letters et l'état dans lequel ca l'a mis :
    Eh oui
    “I'm smart enough to know that I'm dumb.” Richard Feynman

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