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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Calculus of variations and string theory

In Polchinski's String theory book, Vol 1., in chapter 1, p. 18, he is deriving the Lagrangian in the light cone gauge (that's not necessary to know in order to answer this question), and he gets ...
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2answers
529 views

Which CFTs have AdS/CFT duals?

The AdS/CFT correspondence states that string theory in an asymptotically anti-De Sitter spacetime can be exactly described as a CFT on the boundary of this spacetime. Is the converse true? Does any ...
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253 views

Is electron/positron annihilation to two gravitons forbidden?

This follows from the question Can stress energy tensor vanish in general relativity?. What I'm really asking is whether electron/positron annihilation to two gravitons is allowed, but the obvious ...
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Dirac, Weyl and Majorana Spinors

To get to the point - what's the defining differences between them? Alas, my current understanding of a spinor is limited. All I know is that they are used to describe fermions (?), but I'm not sure ...
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Do traversable wormholes exist as solutions to string theory?

There has been some heated debate as to whether the laws of physics allow for traversable wormholes. Some physicists claim we require exotic matter to construct wormholes, but then others counter the ...
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3answers
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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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359 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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305 views

Who added $\frac{3}{2} \partial^2 c$ to the virasoro BRST current (and why)?

I've been looking at the literature on quantizing the bosonic string, and I noticed that there was a change made in the definition of the BRST current around 1992. However, I haven't found any ...
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782 views

Bosonic Tachyon Condensation?

The tachyonic string mode in perturbative bosonic string theory indicates that the "vacuum", flat Minkowski $\mathbb{R}^{25,1}$, is not really a vacuum. What is conjectured about tachyon condensation ...
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Is string length in string theory quantized?

Is there a minimal string length (maybe the Planck length), and is it quantized? Do strings have a 0-dimensional (ie point) cross-section?
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258 views

A question about Lorentz invariance of the Polyakov action

I have a super basic and stupid question about the Lorentz invariance of the Polyakov action (cannot skip the disclaimer..) $$S_p[X,\gamma]=-\frac{1}{4 \pi \alpha'} \int_{-\infty}^{\infty} d \tau ...
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511 views

Energy-momentum tensor of Bosonic Ghost Action in String Theory

When quantizing bosonic string theory by means of the path integral, one inverts the Faddeev-Popov determinant by going to Grassmann variables, yielding: $$ S_{\mathrm{ghosts}} = ...
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463 views

Do we need a quantum deformation of the diffeomorphism group in string theory?

Let me justify my question before I go on. In string theory, gravitons are strings extended over space. Longitudinal gravitons are pure gauge modes of the diffeomorphism group. However, in string ...
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String frame and Einstein frame for a Dp-brane

The low energy effective action for $N$ D$p$-branes in the string frame is $$ S_\text{eff} = \frac{1}{16\pi G_{10}}\int d^{10}x \sqrt{-g}\ e^{-2\phi}(R+ 4(\partial\phi)^2+\cdots) $$ where $R$ is the ...
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456 views

Defining a CFT using beta-functions

Won't it be correct to define a CFT as a QFT such that the beta-function of all the couplings vanish? But couldn't it be possible that the beta-function of a dimensionful coupling vanishes but it ...
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357 views

T-Duality between Type HE String theory and Type HO string theory

My question is regarding T-Duality between the 2 Type H string theories. I know that the Type II String theories are T-dual to each other because T-Duality changes the sign of the Gamma Matrix so ...
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3answers
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Give a description of M-theory your grandmother can understand

Inspired by this question, let me ask a similar question. Is it possible to do the same (give a description of M-theory your grandmother could understand)for M theory? While I know even experts don't ...
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Confusion on Polchinski P.67

I am reading Polchinski's String Theory Volume I. While I am learning the basics of string scatterings in Ch.3, I went back to chapter 2 and review the part of vertex operators. However, I found that ...
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The spin and weight of a primary field in CFT

A primary field in Conformal Field Theory transforms as $$\phi (z,\bar{z}) =\left(\frac{dz}{dz'} \right)^h \left(\frac{d\bar{z}}{d\bar{z}'} \right)^\bar{h}\phi (z',\bar{z}') $$ under a conformal ...
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663 views

Symmetric transverse traceless tensors of rank $s$ and $(s,0,0,..,0)$ representations of $SO(n)$

Can someone help see this connection as to why a spin $s$ (an Integer) particle is to be thought of as a symmetric transverse traceless tensor of rank $s$ and that they lie in the $(s,0,0,..,0)$ ...
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Total number of subatomic particles in the universe. Are they finite ? assuming any of GR or QM or even ST

Total number of subatomic particles in the universe. Are they finite ? assuming any of GR or QM or even ST.
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Amplitude for a string to propagate from one point to another

In Zwiebach’s book sections 12.6 and 12.7 interesting aspects of the wave function of the string are discussed. In order to introduce my question first recall what happens with the relativistic ...
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293 views

Spin connection in higher dimension

I have a problem regarding computation of spin connection in the case where One or more dimension is compactified. For example if we take a $D+1$ dimensional bosonic string action and write the $D+1$ ...
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2answers
455 views

Non-renormalizable corrections to GUT unification

While writing these answers: Hypercharge for U(1) in SU(2)xU(1) model and Is there a concise-but-thorough statement of the Standard Model? , it occured to me that the unification prediction for ...
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8answers
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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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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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What's with Mandelstam's argument that only linear regge trajectories are stable?

While thinking about how to answer a "describe string theory" question, I remembered an old argument of Stanley Mandelstam's that linear Regge trajectories implies stability. I never fully understood ...
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Reference for the ${\cal N}=3$ Chern-Simons Lagrangian at general $N_c$, $N_f$

I was wondering if someone could give me a reference where someone has explicitly written the Lagrangian for ${\cal N}=3$ $SU(N_c)$ Chern-Simons theory coupled to $N_f$ fundamental hypermultiplets. ...
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237 views

What happens if the holonomy group lies in $SU(2)$ for a CY 3-fold?

I am a mathematician and reading a physics paper about the holonomy group of Calabi-Yau 3-folds. In that paper, a Calabi-Yau 3-fold $X$ is defined as a compact 3-dimensional complex manifold with ...
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2answers
908 views

On black holes, Hawking radiation and gravitational atoms

Over the past hour or so I've been following one of my standard physics-based, wanders-through-the-internet. Specifically, I began by reviewing some details of dark energy theory but soon found myself ...
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1answer
231 views

The basic equation of bosonization

[..quoting from Page 11 of Polchinski Vol2..] Given $1+1$ conformal bosonic fields $H(z)$ one has their OPE as, $H(z)H(0) \sim -ln(z)$ Then from here how do the following identities come? ...
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${f=ma}$: a duality between F-theory and M-theory?

$$F = M \Big|_{A(T^2) \to 0}$$ The above equation is the duality equation between F-theory and M-Theory on a vanishing 2-torus. What's the explanation for this equation? Is there anything similar ...
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The ${\cal N} = 3$ Chern-Simons matter lagrangian

This question is sort of a continuation of this previous question of mine. I would like to know of some further details about the Lagrangian discussed in this paper in equation 2.8 (page 7) and in ...
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1answer
422 views

Why do Calabi-Yau manifolds crop up in string theory, and what their most useful and suggestive form? [duplicate]

Why do Calabi-Yau manifolds crop up in String Theory? From reading "The Shape of Inner Space", I gather one reason is of course that Calabi-Yaus are vacuum solutions of the GR equations. But are there ...
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868 views

How much can AdS/CMT tell us?

I will begin my research on AdS/CMT, however I find AdS/CMT is only a phenomelogical method, so I want to know can AdS/CMT give some results the condensed matter physicists can not give, or even ...
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578 views

Quantum mechanics threshold

First of all I beg your forgiveness as I am not a physicist and the question I am going to ask may sound silly. I am aware that beyond a certain threshold in the hierarchy of building blocks of ...
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1answer
135 views

Negative open string norms after BRST cohomology?

The question Disappearance of moduli for condensate of open strings made me think. Suppose we have a Dp-brane completely wrapped over a $T^d$ compactification with $p\leqslant d$. Look at an open ...
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Wilson loops and gauge invariant operators (Part 2)

These questions are sort of a continuation of this previous question. I would like to know of the proof/reference to the fact that in a pure gauge theory Wilson loops are all the possible gauge ...
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387 views

What does AdS/CFT have to say about quantum gravity in our world?

The Ads side of the AdS/CFT correspondence is a model of quantum gravity in 5 dimensional antidesitter space. What can it say about quantum gravity in our 4-spacetime dimensions? Or is it just a toy ...
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388 views

Why do we have so many dualities in string theory?

Why do we have so many dualities in string theory? Is there a reason for that?
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401 views

Why M-theory has only M2 and M5 branes?

Why M-theory has only M2 and M5 branes? In string theory, depending on the type one considers, you get all kind of D-branes. What is so special in M-theory that only allows 2 and 5 branes?
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Proof for the Mass gap of sine-Gordon action with $g \cos(\beta \Phi)$

This is the sine-Gordon action: $$ \frac{1}{4\pi} \int_{ \mathcal{M}^2} dt \; dx \; k\, \partial_t \Phi \partial_x \Phi - v \,\partial_x \Phi \partial_x \Phi + g \cos(\beta_{}^{} \cdot\Phi_{}) $$ ...
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What is the physical meaning of equivalence of 1st and 2nd quantization formalism?

Ref (Superstring theory (Green, Schwarz, Witten)) Take an $n$ dimensional euclidean space-time $x_0,x_1...x_{n -1}$, a relativist real scalar field, with a propagator $G_E(x,y)$. The propagator ...
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179 views

Some more questions on conformal spinors of $SO(n,2)$

This is somewhat of a continuation of my previous question. I had stated there that a conformal spinor ($V$) of $SO(n,2)$ can be created by taking a direct sum of two $SO(n-1,1)$ spinors $Q$ and $S$ ...
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171 views

What is Kaku's equation about?

When Michio Kaku talks about science he often likes to refer to string theory and sometimes to his equation which looks like this (not sure if wrote right): $$L = \Phi^\dagger[i\partial_{\tau}-H]\Phi ...
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125 views

In M Theory, what does the M5 brane look like?

In M theory, the fundamental 1 strings are made out of the compactification of an M2 brane. In String Theory: Volume 2, Superstring Theory and Beyond By Joseph Polchinski Pg. 204 He states that ...
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What causes gravity in M-Theory?

New and updated, because people were misunderstanding what I meant! General relativity describes gravity as the result of....(very roughly) spacetime curvature Newtonian gravity describes gravity as ...
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258 views

D branes Ns brane and p-branes

It is now a common knowledge that "D-p branes are equivalent to p-branes" due to Polchinski's work. Note that D-p branes are objects in string theory and p-branes are objects in blackhole theory. So ...
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What exactly does it mean to wrap a D-brane or a M-brane in a Riemann surface $\Sigma_g$?

What exactly does it mean to wrap a D-brane or an M-brane in a Riemann surface $\Sigma_g$ ($g$ is the genous)? Is there some mathematical statement? And why do we get various supersymmetric gauge ...
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135 views

How do I show the existence of a conserved ghost number with BRST in bosonic string theory?

I have three questions about the BRST symmetry in Polchinski's string theory vol I p. 126-127, which happen together Given a path integral $$ \int [ d\phi_i dB_A db_A d c^{\alpha}] ...