A class of theories that attempt to explain all existing particles (including force carriers) as vibrational modes of extended objects, such as the 1-dimensional fundamental string. PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS TAG for non-relativistic material strings, such as, e.g., a guitar string.

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What future technologies does particle physics and string theory promise? [closed]

What practical application can we expect from particle physics a century or two from now? What use can we make of quark-gluon plasmas or strange quarks? How can we harness W- and Z-bosons or the Higgs ...
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Higgs boson and string theory

Assuming Higgs is found at 125 GeV.Is there any direct or indirect consequence on string theory ? Will it be a blow to string theory or models employing string theory ? ...
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Derivation of the Polyakov Action

As is usually done when first presenting string theory, the Nambu-Goto Action, $$ S_{\text{NG}}:=-T\int d\tau d\sigma \sqrt{-g} $$ ($g:=\det (g_{\alpha \beta})$ is the induced metric on the ...
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What is the physical significance of the dilaton in string theory?

Strings always have a dilaton in their spectrum. Its a scalar field (so presumably no spin), and so far a hypothetical particle. What is its physical significance?
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Source Theory - Alternative to QFT

I am a graduate physics student. I have started learning QFT. As a project my professor has asked me to take up and learn Source Theory, seems an alternative to regular QFT. How exactly is this ...
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317 views

What uniquely defines a CFT?

So, I am quite new to CFT (and a as descriptive answer as possible would be appreciated). I want to know what uniquely defines a CFT in 2D and otherwise. Firstly in 2D, What defines a CFT? So I ...
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609 views

What are orbifolds and why are they useful and interesting for physics?

Just what the title says. What's the basic definition of an orbifold? How do they arise in physics and why are they interesting?
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282 views

AdS/CFT at D = 3

AdS/CFT at D = 3 (on the AdS side) seems to have some special issues which I bundled into a single question The CFT is 2D hence it has an infinite-dimensional group of symmetries (locally). The ...
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What does second quantization mean in the context of string theory?

String field theory (in which string theory undergoes "second quantization") seems to reside in the backwaters of discussions of string theory. What does second quantization mean in the context of a ...
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855 views

Is String Theory proven to be finite?

I read Lee Smolin's book "The trouble with physics" and the book says that the finiteness of string theory ( or string pertubative theory) is by no means a proven mathematical fact, despite that the ...
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Other possible theories (other than string theory) which are generalizations of the standard model with incorporation of gravity

The only finite mathematical framework that incorporates both the standard model of particle physics and gravity under one umbrella that I am aware of is string theory. I would like to know whether ...
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150 views

About the stability of the ground state of the bosonic string

In Polchinski's string theory vol 1, p. 23, it is said "It is a complicated question whether the bosonic string has any stable vacuum, and the answer is not known." The book was published on 1998. ...
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Embedding of $F(4)$ in $OSp(8|4)$?

Is the superconformal algebra in five dimensions, $F(4)$, a subalgebra of the (maximal) six-dimensional superconformal algebra $OSp(8|4)$?
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Is there a background independent closed string field theory?

Analogous to the background independent open string field theory by Witten. If there isn't, what are the main stumbling blocks preventing its construction?
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128 views

Global symmetry in string theory

It is often stated that in quantum gravity only charges coupled to gauge fields can be conserved. This is because of the no hair theorem. If a charge is coupled to a gauge field then when it falls ...
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799 views

Geometric/Visual Interpretation of Virasoro Algebra

I've been trying to gain some intuition about Virasoro Algebras, but have failed so far. The Mathematical Definition seems to be clear (as found in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virasoro_algebra). I ...
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Heterotic string as worldvolume theory of two coincident 9-branes in 27 dimensions?

The heterotic string is a combination of right-moving excitations from a D=10 superstring and left-moving excitations from a D=26 bosonic string, with the left-movers behaving as if the extra 16 ...
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Critical Dimension of Bosonic Strings and Regularization of $\sum_{n=1}^\infty n$

If $D$ is critical dimension of Bosonic strings, a particular derivation goes like the following, where we arrive finally at $$ \frac{D-2}{2}\sum_{n=1}^\infty n + 1 = 0. $$ Now mathematically this is ...
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Symmetry of the Polyakov action?

Let us look at the Polyakov action for a string moving in a spacetime with metric $g_{\mu \nu}(X)$:$$S_P = -{1\over{4\pi \alpha'}} \int d^2 \sigma \sqrt{-\gamma} \gamma^{ab} \partial_a X^\mu ...
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198 views

Confusion about two definitions of anomalies

As I am currently studying for an exam about quantum field theory and string theory, I got confused about the notion of "anomalies" and how they are actually defined. Similar questions have already ...
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What are the implications for the AdS/Cft program if AdS is unstable?

To my understanding recent progress in the study of the non linear stability of AdS spacetime suggest that $AdS$ might be unstable. If this is true, what are the physical and mathematical ...
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373 views

Quantization of strings, string Fock space and transition to QFT

I am not an expert of string theory and am quite uncertain about the basic ideas of string theory that I am going to ask about. I would appreciate some hints of more experienced physicists. What I am ...
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484 views

How do I find constraints on the Nambu-Goto Action?

Let $X^\mu (t,\sigma ^1,\ldots ,\sigma ^p)$ be a $p$-brane in space-time and let $g$ be the metric on $X^\mu$ induced from the ambient space-time metric. Then, the Nambu-Goto action on $X^\mu$ is ...
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730 views

Why do we identify symmetric 2nd rank tensors with spin-2 particles in string theory?

I am going through Tong's lecture notes on String Theory and came across the following irrep decomposition (Chap 2, p.43) of the bosonic string first excited states: $$\text{traceless symmetric} ...
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448 views

“finite” QFTs and short-distance singularities and vanishing beta functions

I am not sure that I can frame this question coherently enough - it springs from various things in QFT that I have recently been thinking and reading about. May be these thoughts are mis-directed but ...
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358 views

Can the connectivity of space change in string theory?

A flop transition changes the second homotopy group of a Calabi-Yau compactifation, but not the fundamental group or the number of connected components. Can the number of connected spatial components ...
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192 views

Does the complex 3-sphere have a complex structure modulus?

This question has a flavor which is more mathematical than physical, however it is about a mathematical physics article and I suspect my misunderstanding occurs because the precise mathematical ...
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Gabriele Veneziano, strong nuclear force and beta-function

Background to the question: From The History of String Theory: Gabriele Veneziano, a research fellow at CERN (a European particle accelerator lab) in 1968, observed a strange coincidence - many ...
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Is the “Great Attractor” an indicator of the “Multiverse”?

I have heard a bit about the Great Attractor (the gravitational anomaly that seems to be "sweeping" our universe in one direction). Someone (and forgive me, I do not recall the specifics) has ...
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709 views

Advanced topics in string theory

I'm looking for texts about topics in string theory that are "advanced" in the sense that they go beyond perturbative string theory. Specifically I'm interested in String field theory (including ...
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458 views

Is there stringy Morse theory?

This question is pretty vague and open. I'm just curious if anyone has considered this. Morse theory has a nice physical formulation: a Morse function can be thought of as a potential, so the ...
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1answer
796 views

What are some significant contributions of string theory to other fields of physics?

What are some contributions that string theory has made to other branches of physics/science (other than research in string theory)? I'm looking for specifics, for example mentioning what string ...
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128 views

Why isn't there heterotic holographic QCD?

I think the question speaks for itself... Top-down holographic QCD, like Sakai-Sugimoto, always involves the Type II string. There are one or two papers on hQCD using the Type 0 string. But I can't ...
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Does String Theory disagree with General Relativity?

I would like to expand on what I mean by the title of this question to focus the answers. Normally whenever a theory (e.g. General Relativity) replaces another (e.g. Newtonian Gravity) there is a ...
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Question about associative 3-cycles on G2 manifolds

Let $X$ be a manifold with $G_2$ holonomy and $\Phi$ be the fundamental associative 3-form on $X$. Let $*\Phi$ be the dual co-associative 4-form on $X$. Now consider a particular associative 3-cycle ...
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Where does the $10^{500}$ estimate for the number of stringy vacua come from?

This number is thrown around a lot so I'd like to understand its origin. I know that it counts compactifications of string theories on (not only) Calabi-Yau manifolds and probably also some other ...
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Topological ground state degeneracy of SU(N), SO(N), Sp(N) Chern-Simons theory

We know that level-k Abelian 2+1D Chern-Simons theory on the $T^2$ spatial torus gives ground state degeneracy($GSD$): $$GSD=k$$ How about $GSD$ on $T^2$ spatial torus of: SU(N)$_k$ level-k ...
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More questions on string theory and the standard model

This is a followup question to How does string theory reduce to the standard model? Ron Maimon's answer there clarified to some extent what can be expected from string theory, but left details open ...
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1answer
450 views

How are low energy effective actions derived in string theory?

For example the eq 2.1 here with regards to Type IIB. Unless I am terribly missing/misreading something Polchinski doesn't ever seem to derive these low energy supergravity actions. I would like to ...
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203 views

String-theoretic significance of extended CFT

Extended TQFT and CFT have been puzzling me for while. While I understand the mathematical motivation behind them, I don't quite understand the physical meaning. In particular, it's not clear to me to ...
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Is Poincare recurrence relevant to our universe?

If the theory of everything indicates a singularity-free and finite universe, will Poincare recurrence be relevant to the universe? If so, is there any interesting physical consequence, e.g. in ...
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924 views

Is Conformal Symmetry Local or Global?

I'm just brushing up on a bit of CFT, and I'm trying to understand whether conformal symmetry is local or global in the physics sense. Obviously when the metric is viewed as dynamical then the ...
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What is kappa symmetry?

On page 180 David McMohan explains that to obtain a (spacetime) supersymmetric action for a GS superstring one has to add to the bosonic part $$ S_B = -\frac{1}{2\pi}\int d^2 \sigma ...
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Is there an intuitive way of thinking about the extra dimensions in M-Theory?

Why are 11 dimensions needed in M-Theory? The four I know (three spatial ones plus time) have an intuitive meaning in everyday life. How can I think of the other seven? What is their nature (spatial, ...
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How to understand worldsheet fermion as a section?

I am reading Witten's paper on topological string, and I found some mathematical notation is hard to understand for me. Consider the nonlinear sigma model in 2 dimensions governed by maps $\Phi : ...
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Covariant Quantisation and the Time Operator in String Theory

Covariant quantisation in string theory is accomplished by giving the commutator relations $[X^\mu(\sigma,\tau),P^\nu(\sigma',\tau)] = i \eta^{\mu\nu} \delta(\sigma - \sigma')$. Although ...
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349 views

Decoupling of Holomorphic and Anti-holomorphic parts in 2D CFT

This maybe a very naive question. I have just started studying CFT, and I am confused by why we have two separate parts of everything in CFT (operator algebras and hilbert space), the holomorphic ...
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The Chern-Simons/WZW correspondence

Can someone tell me a reference which proves this? - as to how does the bulk partition function of Chern-Simons' theory get completely determined by the WZW theory (its conformal blocks) on its ...
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How can string theory work without supersymmetry?

This question is inspired from reading Mitchell Porter's nice answer here to a question asking why supersymmetry should be expected naturally. Among other things, he explains that since weak scale ...
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String theory - OPE and primary operators

First, a disclaimer: I am new to Physics SE, and I am primarily a mathematician, not a physicist. I apologise in advance for the possibly poor quality of the question, any and thank you for your ...