Since I wrote an article about this last year for the non-expert to get some idea of what the discussion was about, let me first point you to it via this link. Since in that article, by way of illustration of the “Landscape” idea, I used a picture of the Maroon Bells and the accompanying valley and lake, let me put here a version that I took today. (The supersymmetric vacua are no longer visible, you’ll notice. I’m hoping that maybe it is time we learned to stop focusing on those for guidance, but….)
Let me next point out a post I did about the panel discussion on “Naturalness” at the SUSY 2006 conference, hosted by UC Irvine, held at Newport Beach. There was a lot said about the Landscape there. Have a read.
Finally, let me point out that Science writer Tom Siegfried (who was also at the conference) has written an article on the science and sociology of the Landscape/Anthropic/String “issue” in the August 11th edition of Science Magazine. He has several quotes and interviews with the key players -such as with Joe Polchinski, particularly discussing his “conversion”- and he also has quotes from the perhaps-not-so-key, such as your friendly neighbourhood host/writer of this blog:
Other physicists, although reluctant to embrace anthropic reasoning, decry the acrimony and seek a middle ground. â€œItâ€™s unfortunate that it has turned into a situation where you have to choose to be in one camp or the other,â€ says Clifford Johnson, a string theorist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. â€œIt would be nice if we could explore some of those unpalatable ideas just in case thatâ€™s the way that nature chooses to go.â€