Lee Smolin (born 1955) is an American theoretical physicist, a researcher at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. He is the author of more than 140 scientific papers and has made major contributions to the quantum theory of gravity, being a co-inventor of loop quantum gravity and deformed special relativity. He is best known to the non-scientific public for his critique of String Theory because of his book “The trouble with physics” which received a lot of attention. His critique though, does not stop at String Theory but it concerns the way that contemporary Physics, and in general Science, is organized. Also interesting is his philosophical view on the nature of Science; he believes that Science is a result of collective work of people that share a specific ethical system which is based to reason openness and good will.
“Science works because scientists form communities defined by a set of ethical principles which, even if imperfectly applied, tend to lead to progress in our understanding of nature. While these communities have long been international, the combination of the internet with cheap airfare and easy migration of educated people makes scientists into ‘global souls’, in Pico Iyer’s phrase. This opens up new opportunities and also new challenges for the thriving of scientific communities”
Regarding Physics he believes that there is no real progress for the last 30 years and that this infertility has to do with the organization of the scientific community.
“How is it possible that string theory, which has been pursued by more than a thousand of the brightest and best educated scientists, working in the best conditions, is in danger of falling? This has puzzled me for a long time, but now I think I know the answer. What I believe is falling is not so much a particular theory but a style of doing science that was well suited to the problems we faced in the middle part of twentieth century but is ill suited to the kinds of fundamental problems we face now. The standard model of particle physics was the triumph of a particular way of doing science that came to dominate physics in the 1940s. This style is pragmatic and hard-nosed and favors virtuosity in calculating over reflection on hard problems. This is profoundly different from the way that Albert Einstein,Niels Bohr,Werner Heisenberg,Erwin Schroedinger, and other early-twentieth-century revolutionaries did science. Their work arose from deep thought on the most basic questions surrounding space, time, and matter, and they saw what they did of a broader philosophical tradition, in which the were at home.”