String Theory is like a 50-year-old woman wearing way too much lipstick

Keay Davidson in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Already, the split over string theory has caused tensions at some of the nation’s university physics departments. “The physics department at Stanford effectively fissioned over this issue,” said Laughlin, now on sabbatical in South Korea. “I think string theory is textbook ‘post-modernism’ (and) fueled by irresponsible expenditures of money.”

The dispute could become explosive this year, with the publication of contrarily minded books by two of the best-known and most eloquent scientific popularizers of physics, string theorist Michio Kaku of City University of New York and astrophysicist-particle theorist Lawrence Krauss of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Skeptics have long mocked string theory as untestable, because experimental studies of it would require machines of huge scale, perhaps even as big as the solar system. In his new book “Parallel Worlds” (Doubleday), Kaku disagrees and argues that the first experimental evidence for string theory might begin to emerge within several years from experiments with scientific instruments such as a new particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, which opens for business near Geneva in 2007.

More here.