It’s odd that this piece should have the tag line a “Cynic’s View” – since it is properly sceptical in my view. I think the “pessimism” is in the wrong place. It’s not “the end of physics” because there’s nothing new to discover, and only details being confirmed (aside from the possibility of new astronomical observations). It may be the end of science because physics is walking blindly into a cul-de-sac and bricking up the exit through which it entered.
Higgs Boson, Gravitational Waves – “secrets of the universe” ? Hardly. Strongly predicted and indirectly detected, they must be the worst kept secrets of a standard model universe. Hard to detect under earth conditions, that’s for sure and for well understood reasons, but barely any doubt they existed according to those models.
Rather than working to fill holes in the standard models, the questions science should be asking are what might be wrong with them. There are plenty of signs something remains fundamentally wrong rather than simply incomplete. If as has been suggested, Einstein didn’t actually believe in Gravitational Waves despite their being predicted by his theories, that suggests to me that Einstein knew this too. As I’ve said before, Einstein was right …. when he knew he was wrong.
Ultimately this is about the pace of scientific progress which looks slow recently compared to the early 20th century heyday, but that may just be our relative perspective. The problem is the pace and force with which we are being driven up the blind alley – a natural consequence of memetic behaviour.