Has elegance betrayed physics?

Frank Wilczek in Physics Today:

Sabine Hossenfelder’s Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray is an unusual book, at once intensely personal and intellectually hard-edged. Although I disagree with it on many points, I recommend the book both as a well-written, moving intellectual autobiography and as an excellent exposition of some frontiers of foundational theoretical physics, largely told through dialogs with leading figures in the field.

Theoretical physicist Hossenfelder is both passionate about the mission of her science and disappointed about its recent history. In the first paragraph of the book, she says of her field, “In the temple of knowledge, we are the ones digging in the basement, probing the foundations…. And when we find ourselves on to something, we call for experimentalists to unearth deeper layers. In the last century, this division of labor between theorists and experimentalists worked very well. But my generation has been stunningly unsuccessful.”

Hossenfelder diagnoses the problem as overreliance on beauty as a guide to how the world works.

More here.