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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121
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11answers
17k views

What experiment would disprove string theory?

I know that there's big controversy between two groups of physicists: those who support string theory (most of them, I think) and those who oppose it. One of the arguments of the second group is ...
26
votes
4answers
5k views

What if the LHC doesn't see SUSY?

A question in four parts. What are the main problems which supersymmetry purports to solve? What would constitute lack of evidence for SUSY at the proposed LHC energy scales (e.g. certain predicted ...
22
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1answer
1k views

How does classical GR concept of space-time emerge from string theory?

First, I'll state some background that lead me to the question. I was thinking about quantization of space-time on and off for a long time but I never really looked into it any deeper (mainly because ...
11
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4answers
4k views

Is spacetime discrete or continuous?

Is the spacetime continuous or discrete? Or better, is the 4-dimensional spacetime of general-relativity discrete or continuous? What if we consider additional dimensions like string theory ...
6
votes
4answers
530 views

Measuring extra-dimensions

I have read and heard in a number of places that extra dimension might be as big as $x$ mm. What I'm wondering is the following: How is length assigned to these extra dimensions? I mean you can ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Introduction to string theory

I am in the last year of MSc. and would like to read string theory. I have the Zwiebach Book, but along with it what other advanced book can be followed, which can be a complimentary to Zwiebach. I ...
4
votes
2answers
774 views

How could spacetime become discretised at the Planck scale?

I didn't have much luck getting a response to this question before so I have tried to reword and expand it a little: In early 2010 I attended this inaugural lecture by string theorist- Prof. ...
12
votes
2answers
700 views

Why one-dimensional strings, but not higher-dimensional shells/membranes?

One way that I've seen to sort-of motivate string theory is to 'generalize' the relativistic point particle action, resulting in the Nambu-Goto action. However, once you see how to make this ...
22
votes
7answers
4k views

What are the strings in string theory made of?

This is a follow-up to an intriguing question last year about tension in string theory. What are the strings in string theory composed of? I am serious. Strings made of matter are complex objects ...
13
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4answers
2k views

Introduction to AdS/CFT

AdS/CFT seems like a really hot topic and I'd like to start reading about. I am looking for the best introduction at my level, i.e. I have a background in QFT, CFT and general relativity at the level ...
9
votes
8answers
2k views

Why are extra dimensions necessary?

Some theories have more than 4 dimensions of spacetime. But we only observe 4 spacetime dimensions in the real world, cf. e.g. this Phys.SE post. Why are the theories (e.g. string theory) that ...
6
votes
3answers
434 views

Why (in relatively non-technical terms) are Calabi-Yau manifolds favored for compactified dimensions in string theory?

I was hoping for an answer in general terms avoiding things like holonomy, Chern classes, Kahler manifolds, fibre bundles and terms of similar ilk. Simply, what are the compelling reasons for ...
3
votes
1answer
646 views

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 ...
15
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1answer
1k views

Good introductory text for matrix string theory

Where can I find a good introductory text for matrix string theory? Most textbooks don't cover it, or only cover it very superficially. What is the basic idea behind matrix string theory? How can ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

What differs string theory from philosophy or religion? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What experiment would disprove string theory? A hypothesis without hard evidence sounds very much like philosophy or religion to me. All of them tries to establish a ...
6
votes
3answers
308 views

References on the non-compositeness of the known elementary particles

What paper(s) or theory(s) describe or prove that the elementary particles that we have determined today cannot be made up of smaller more fundamental particles?
21
votes
10answers
4k views

Applications of Algebraic Topology to physics

I have always wondered about applications of Algebraic Topology to Physics, seeing as am I studying algebraic topology and physics is cool and pretty. My initial thoughts would be that since most ...
20
votes
2answers
5k views

What is tension in string theory?

One often hears the words "string tension" in string theory. But what does it really mean? In ordinary physics "tension" in an ordinary classical string arises from the fact that there are elasticity ...
7
votes
1answer
132 views

geometric quantization of the moduli space of abelian Chern-Simons theory

I wish to understand the statement in this paper more precisely: (1). Any 3d Topological quantum field theories(TQFT) associates an inner-product vector space $H_{\Sigma}$ to a Riemann surface ...
9
votes
1answer
491 views

In what limit does string theory reproduce general relativity? [duplicate]

In quantum mechanical systems which have classical counterparts, we can typically recover classical mechanics by letting $\hbar \rightarrow 0$. Is recovering Einstein's field equations (conceptually) ...
21
votes
3answers
19k views

What is the current status of string theory (2013)?

I've seen a bunch of articles talking about how new findings from the LHC seem to disprove (super)string theory and/or supersymmetry, or at least force physicists to reformulate them and change ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

What's so special about AdS?

This question is coming from someone who has very little experience with M-Theory but is intrigued by the AdS/CFT correspondence and is beginning to study it. Why is the gauge/gravity duality ...
18
votes
4answers
1k views

What is your simplest explanation of the string theory?

How would you explain string theory to non physicists such as myself? I'm specially interested on how plausible is it and what is needed to successfully prove it?
9
votes
1answer
492 views

Does the renormalization group apply to string theory?

Can we implement a scale dependent cutoff Λ to string theory? Can we perform a renormalization group analysis of string theory consistently?
6
votes
2answers
623 views

Does String theory say that spacetime is not fundamental but should be considered an emergent phenomenon?

Does String theory say that spacetime is not fundamental but should be considered an emergent phenomenon? If so, can quantum mechanics describe the universe at high energies where there is no ...
6
votes
2answers
495 views

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, ...
5
votes
1answer
257 views

Divergent sum in lightcone quantization of bosonic string theory

I had the following question regarding lightcone quantization of bosonic strings - The normal ordering requirement of quantization gives us this infinite sum $\sum_{n=1}^\infty n$. This is regularized ...
4
votes
1answer
790 views

How do Einstein's field equations come out of string theory?

The classical theory of spacetime geometry that we call gravity is described at its core by the Einstein field equations, which relate the curvature of spacetime to the distribution of matter and ...
3
votes
2answers
330 views

String theory: why not use $n$-dimensional blocks/objects/branes?

I have a basic question: if we use 1d string to replace 0d particle to gain insight of nature in string theory, and advanced to use 2d membranes, can we imagine that using $3$- or $n$-dimensional ...
25
votes
11answers
6k views

Discreteness and Determinism in Superstrings?

So Gerard 't Hooft has a brand new paper (thanks to Mitchell Porter for making me aware of it) so this is somewhat of a expansion to the question I posed on this site a month or so ago regarding 't ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

What are the details around the origin of the string theory?

It is well-known even among the lay public (thanks to popular books) that string theory first arose in the field of strong interactions where certain scattering amplitudes had properties that could be ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

Is String Theory formulated in flat or curved spacetime?

String Theory is formulated in 10 or 11 (or 26?) dimensions where it is assumed that all of the space dimensions except for 3 (large) space dimensions and 1 time dimension are a compact manifold with ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

What is a brief formulation of string theory?

I know that similar questions have been asked before, but none of them is exactly what I would like to know. I want to have a general idea of what string theory is, without having to read several ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

What reasons are there to suspect string theory may be an incorrect theory?

It's a truism that in science it is at least as important to state the reasons why a theory or idea might be wrong, as to state the reasons why it is might be correct. For example, early ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Can Loop Quantum Gravity connect in any way with string theory?

The one difficulty I see with LQG is that it requires an enormous number of degrees of freedom, e.g. these spin variables in the net. This is in contrast to stringy holographic theory where the ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

How does the holographic principle imply nonlocality?

For example in the discussions here and here there are comments by Ron Maimon: Your complaint about locality would be more serious if holography didn't show the way--- the CFT in AdS/CFT ...
7
votes
3answers
836 views

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 ...
13
votes
3answers
930 views

Has the black hole information loss paradox been settled?

This question was triggered by a comment of Peter Shor's (he is a skeptic, it seems.) I thought that the holographic principle and AdS/CFT dealt with that, and was enough for Hawking to give John ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Number of dimensions in string theory and possible link with number theory

This question has led me to ask somewhat a more specific question. I have read somewhere about a coincidence. Numbers of the form $8k + 2$ appears to be relevant for string theory. For k = 0 one gets ...
6
votes
2answers
409 views

The General Relativity from String Theory Point of View [duplicate]

I have a hard time understand the statement that When you only look at the classical limit or classical physics, string theory exactly agrees with general relativity Because from what I know, ...
5
votes
1answer
565 views

Pedagogical explanations of critical dimensions of string theories

Once you understand the formalism, I think it's clearest to say the critical dimension of the space-time arises because we need to cancel the central charge of the (super)conformal ghosts on the ...
4
votes
2answers
563 views

Conversion of the Nambo-Goto action into the Polyakov action?

I`ve read that the Nambo-Goto action containing the induced metric $\gamma_{\alpha\beta}$ $$\tag{1} S_{NG} ~=~ -T\int_{\tau_i}^{\tau_f} d\tau \int_0^{\ell} d\sigma \sqrt{-\gamma}$$ can be converted ...
4
votes
3answers
812 views

What are some approaches to discrete space-time used in modern physics?

This thought gave rise to some new questions in my mind. What are the consequences for: How would it affect duality i.e. particle, wave property of photons? How does this statement affect the ...
3
votes
1answer
795 views

Are There Strings that aren't Chew-ish?

String theory is made from Chew-ish strings, strings which follow Geoffrey Chew's S-matrix principle. These strings have the property that all their scattering is via string exchange, so that the ...
1
vote
4answers
886 views

Could all strings be one single string which weaves the fabric of the universe?

This question popped out of another discussion, about if the photon needs a receiver to exist. Can a photon get emitted without a receiver? A universe containing only one electron was hypothetically ...
13
votes
2answers
440 views

Renormalization in string theory

I'm taking a course in string theory and have encountered renormalization for the first time (and I suspect it isn't the last). Specifically, while quantizing the bosonic and spinning strings, an ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

Why does string theory require 9 dimensions of space and one dimension of time?

String theorists say that there are many more dimensions out there, but they are too small to be detected. However, I do not understand why there are ten dimensions and not just any other number? ...
4
votes
5answers
740 views

Regarding string theory: how to refute the argument “if it cannot be tested experimentally then it is not science”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What differs string theory from philosophy or religion? I find a lot of people disbelieve in string theory, saying that since it cannot be tested experimentally then it ...