December 27, 2005

Susskind's book on Cosmic Landscape

I read Leonard Susskind's book The Cosmic Landscape String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design. The book has triggered a lot of discussion and interviews in the blogosphere: Peter Woit, Lubos Motl (find title "Distasteful Universe and Rube Goldberg machines"), and Gerard 't Hooft. Many more here. As a slow writer I have little to add to these writings by the top guys. In six words: I would agree best with 't Hooft.

Yesterday there was at the arXiv a talk WaveFunction of the Universe on the Landscape, given last summer, by Laura Mersini-Houghton: Quoting from her Discussion Section: "We are still at a very preliminary level of understanding the underlying picture, therefore it may be early to anticipate whether the selection criterion for our universe will be postulated or derived by our physical theories. The purpose of the proposal discussed here is to offer a selection criterion for the landscape vacua which is derived from the dynamics of the wavefunction of the universe propagating on the landscape background."

After the reasonably good first two thirds but rather lengthy last third of Susskind's book I found it refreshing and encouraging to read Mersini-Houghton's paper.