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"So what will you do if string theory is wrong?"


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An interesting paper as appeared on the arXiv under "popular physics".

 

"So what will you do if string theory is wrong?"

Authors: Moataz H. Emam

 

Emam argues that even if string theory is one day shown not be a model of nature, then it will survive somewhere in between physics and mathematics. It will be too much like maths for the physicists and too much like physics for the mathematicians. There are just too many nice mathematical results to simply throw string theory away.

 

On the physics side, there may well be one saving point. The AdS/CFT correspondence allows us to identify perturbative but non-physical string theories with perturbative, but (possibly) physical gauge theories like (super) QCD. This possibility, is too important to give up on even if string theory is "falsified".

 

 

Either way, what Woit and Smolin say is wrong. String theory is interesting and is far from dead.

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...what Woit and Smolin say is wrong. String theory is interesting and is far from dead...

At first, Mr. Woit and Smolin didn't say, the string theory isn't interesting (after all, at least Mr. Lee Smolin was a deep string theory proponent for years). They're just saying, such theory will become useless, if it cannot serve as source of money. Many math theorists are working on the field of fractals and other less or more abstract things - we are just not calling such people a physicsts, that's all.

 

Fortunatelly, the situation isn't far so bad. The string theory is deeply substantiated even from physical perspective, because even LQG and Aether theory is full of strings and "hidden dimensions", it just doesn't call them by such way. The string net concept connects both string, both Aether and LQG conceptually each other. This is simply because the reality must remain inertial to become observable by inertial creatures and inertial systems have their own laws based on multinomial distribution of their fluctuations. What we can see in the depth of vacuum or at the cosmic scales is the only thing, which the reality allows to see us from inertial chaos - the tiniest density fluctuations which we can see here are all 1D strings!

 

supercrit_foam.jpg

 

So I don't think, the string theory is worse, then - let say - LQG theory. Currently its just more elaborated, which can become both advantage, both disadvantage for every theory, as the conceptual holes of theory are visible better. We should remember, the string theory was originally designed on the bacground of nuclear force theory, because the dense character of nuclear fluid makes the fluctuations (the gluons, which can be elongated at the distance like strings) a pretty well pronounced here. On the other hand, the foamy character of the gluons isn't so apparent here due high degree of QG condensation, so that LQG proposes a somewhat better description of vacuum with compare to string theory, which remain "particle centric".

 

By my opinion, both theories are in fact pretty complementary, i.e. dual by the same way, like relativity and quantum mechanics theory - just in less pronounced way. We will need a more deep and illustrative theory to imagine this in its full extent. We should realize, both LQG, both string theory are based on more fundamental theories, as they're using a relativity/quantum mechanics postulates on the background without further explanation), while the Aether theory as a recursive Newton theory explains these postulates by its own way. But if we suceede in recursive formulation of quantum mechanics or relativity theory, we can use whatever theory without significant loss of information.

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An interesting paper as appeared on the arXiv under "popular physics".

 

"So what will you do if string theory is wrong?"

Authors: Moataz H. Emam

 

Emam argues that even if string theory is one day shown not be a model of nature, then it will survive somewhere in between physics and mathematics. It will be too much like maths for the physicists and too much like physics for the mathematicians. There are just too many nice mathematical results to simply throw string theory away.

 

On the physics side, there may well be one saving point. The AdS/CFT correspondence allows us to identify perturbative but non-physical string theories with perturbative, but (possibly) physical gauge theories like (super) QCD. This possibility, is too important to give up on even if string theory is "falsified".

 

 

Either way, what Woit and Smolin say is wrong. String theory is interesting and is far from dead.

 

I agree that if you see string theory as "applied mathematics" then there is nothing that prevents mathematical interest in it, wether it makes sense from the point of view of physics or not.

 

I do not personally find the basic string theory strategy as I know it to be rational. It is too speculative in methology. This is just my personal view though. The fact that fundamental problems are ingnored and the risks of this ignorance is ignored, that is what I can't accept as a rational choice.

 

The question, "should we keep researching string theory" is a somewhat meaningless question unless put in a larger context. In the larger context there a possibly a sea of theories, or a sea of seeds to new theories that can also be funded. So I think the only rational way is to develop a strategy that can rate the candidates. Most probably string theory should be a player here even in my world, but some of the past domination of string theory as I have perceived it is not rational relative to me own thinking.

 

Let's also reflect over how much money and brainpower that has been denied to other physics threads, IF string theory is wrong. A good strategy should still be able to defend that in the sense of: It WAS the wisest decision we could make based on info at hand. OTOH I guess that is exactly how the community does argue... the problem is that that argumetnation is biased and relative too. There is no objective rationality.

 

So what do to? I'll keep doing my game, and everyone keep doing theris and we'll all see what the collective dynamica effects are. It will be enlightning regardless of the outcome.

 

/Fredrik

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hehe, I started to go for my references, but really, 'String Theory' (in all 20 guises) is far less accepted than the general media proposes.

 

It's not dead. It was just never as alive as has been reported.

 

 

 

 

(You're gunna make me go for my references, are't you...)

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String Theory is dead.

 

Well, clearly not. I know may researchers in this area. What might be less clear now is if string theory could be used to construct a unification of the known forces of nature. One huge problem is the landscape.

 

As I and many other people have pointed out, string theory may still yet useful in particle physics (viz AdS-CFT) and represents a huge effort to construct quantum theories beyond particle-like quanta. Getting to grips with string field theory is bound to give us more insight to what it means to be a "quantum field theory".

 

 

As Vexer points out, much of the public's attitude towards string theory (and science in general) comes from bad "sensationalising" reporting.

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The problem i have isn't that it predicts extra dimensions, but it simply can't work without them. The limit is 11 dimensions, 26 in some... and it cannot work below this threashold, and that limit may be damaging in the long-run.

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"should we keep researching string theory"

 

I believe that you can make progress in other areas of science while researching other projects. Is that not how things happen a good bit of the time? While researching X, you find a general application for Y etc...

 

Life is full of what ifs, and I believe if anyone were to really make that argument about string theory, I would reply with the same "what if" or "should we" argument. What if someone gets it. What if it is a failed theory. What if we learn other things from it, even if falling short of the target idea? I agree with most of what you said here (I did not include everything in the quote).

 

I think the rhetorical question you ask is the basis for almost all funding failures and triumphs. Should we. Should we not. We should, always.

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Terrible example of what i was implying.

 

You see, even if string theory can answer everything, there is still no definate way we can make sure it is definately the correct representation of reality.

 

It's like a theory that fudges its way into being a truth.

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The problem with String theory is there is an infinite number of them and it makes no predictions. So basically, we have a crapload of string theories and we have NO CLUE which one pertains to our universe. We will go to the LHC get some new data, cross out a crapload of string theories that do not pertain, and still have an infinite more available.

 

String theory is bull. It is nice and looks at a deeper theory that unifies all the particles and forces, but the way of strings is definitely not it.

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