there, or should we expect, a fracture in the logical basis on which
people now look for a description of the nexus between particle physics
Why: The chief interest of Godel's theorem is that it is a negative answer to one of the questions in David Hilbert's celebrated list of tasks for the twentieth century, put forward at the International Mathematics Congress in Paris in 1900. Mathematicians in the succeeding century seem not to have been unduly incommoded by Godel. But if there were a comparable theorem in fundamental physics, we should have more serious difficulties. Perhaps the circumstance that string theory is getting nowhere (not fast, but slowly) should be taken as a premonition that something is amiss. The search for a Theory of Everything (latterly gone off the boil) may be logically the wild goose chase it most often seems. If science had to abandon the principle that to every event, there is a cause (or causes) , the cat would really be among the pigeons.
Moral: Godel's theorem needs seriously to be re-visited, so that the rest of us can properly appreciate what it means.
Sir John Maddox who recently retired having served 23 years as the editor of Nature, is a trained physicist, and author of What Remains to be Discovered: The Agenda for Science in the Next Century.