Skip to comments.The Good and Bad of String Theory
Posted on 03/21/2005 7:41:33 AM PST by Paradox
The most celebrated theory in modern physics faces increasing attacks from skeptics who fear it has lured a generation of researchers down an intellectual dead end.
In its original, simplified form, circa the mid-1980s, string theory held that reality consists of infinitesimally small, wiggling objects called strings, which vibrate in ways that yield the different subatomic particles that comprise the cosmos.
Advocates claimed that string theory would smooth out the conflicts between Einsteinian relativity and quantum mechanics and the result would be a unifying "theory of everything," which could explain everything from the nature of matter to the Big Bang to the fate of the cosmos.
Over the years, string theory has simultaneously become more frustrating and fabulous. On the one hand, the original theory has become very complex, one that posits an 11-dimensional universe, far more than the four-dimensional universe of Einstein. The modified theory is so mathematically dense that many Ph.D.-bearing physicists haven't a clue what their string-theorist colleagues are talking about.
On the other hand, new versions of the theory suggest our universe is just one of zillions of alternate, invisible universes where the laws of physics are radically different. String buffs claim this bizarre hypothesis might help to explain various cosmic mysteries.
But skeptics suggest it's the latest sign of how string theorists, sometimes called "superstringers," try to colorfully camouflage the theory's flaws, like "a 50-year-old woman wearing way too much lipstick," jokes Robert B. Laughlin, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist at Stanford. "People have been changing string theory in wild ways because it has never worked."
Already, the split over string theory has caused tensions at some of the nation's university physics departments. "The physics department at Stanford effectively fissioned over this issue," said Laughlin, now on sabbatical in South Korea. "I think string theory is textbook 'post-modernism' (and) fueled by irresponsible expenditures of money."
The dispute could become explosive this year, with the publication of contrarily minded books by two of the best-known and most eloquent scientific popularizers of physics, string theorist Michio Kaku of City University of New York and astro-physicist- particle theorist Lawrence Krauss of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
Skeptics have long mocked string theory as untestable, because experimental studies of it would require machines of huge scale, perhaps even as big as the solar system.
In his new book "Parallel Worlds", Kaku disagrees and argues that the first experimental evidence for string theory might begin to emerge within several years from experiments with scientific instruments such as a new particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, which opens for business near Geneva in 2007.
Kaku, whose previous books include the acclaimed "Hyperspace" and equation-packed textbooks on string theory, also suggests that humans might eventually travel to those alternate universes, perhaps via hypothetical portals in space called wormholes.
Such claims dismay Krauss, a leading expert on cosmic dark matter and dark energy.
The dispute has split partly along subdisciplinary lines, and mirrors a timeless squabble in the philosophy of science: Which is more important for scientific innovation -- theoretical daring or empirical observations and experiments?
I reccommend the book The Elegant Universe for anyone interested.
It's an apt title. I know I must be quite a geek to describe mathematical theories as "beautiful", but indeed it is so.
I just found out that RedNova got this from the Cincinati Post, which apparently got it from the San Francisco Chronicle (sfgate.com). So it was available here http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1363783/posts in its entirety one week ago.
The original title had been changed, so a search didn't turn it up, sorry folks!
Clearly proven in last week's Stargate SG-1 (and a great cliff-hanger it was).
The String Theory has already been proved 'wrong' and is passe in physics. It's been replaced by the "M" theory (membrane) which solved all the gaps that existed in the String Theory.
(maybe this guy should watch the Science Channel?)
From what I've seen, that's what it looks like.
It seems like a theory where the equations are jiggered any which way to 'prove' their theories. Kind of cult like in a way that if somebody finds something that doesn't make sense, the rules get changed to explain the 'gap' in the theory.
Kind of like philosophy, you mean?
Funny tone too. Like the author is ANGRY about string theory.
10 replies on a string thread seems about par. This appears to be a topic we should know something about but don't. This stuff is graduate level just for openers, and most grad students who actually take a stab at it won't be doing string theory professionally. Level of difficulty is quite high. Einstein's Relativity is far easier.
I wonder if the guy in the "Guiness Book of World Records" who holds the record for the largest ball of string is considered the "center of the universe" by these believers???
This proves that Intelligent Design is true!!!
More seriously it could shift more resources to the quantum gravity folks and we might finally see some progress.
I believe this swirl towards the gravity in the black hole would cause the local gases to condense and form into planets and stars as we know it. This is seen on many films and documentaries if you look it up. What I heard last, they believe the black holes go dormant after awhile and can start feeding once again.
I believe that these black holes forever feed and spin our universe just as the eye of a hurricane spins in the ocean without land. Now Most hurricanes spawn off tornados. If we think of each solar system as it's own tornado then maybe this could mean more.
Now with string theory they talk of strings that make up atoms and everything in the Universe. I was thinking that possibly instead of strings it would more resemble a swirl of some gas or "anything" that would condense to form atoms just as gases have condensed to form our planets and stars. Maybe this swirl (hurricanes) that we see on Earth, that takes energy from the equator to feed the other hemispheres, could explain the same swirl we see in space that might be spreading energy to the rest of space to keep it expanding as it does.
I'm not a physicist, obviously, but I believe If you look at each solar system as if you were looking at a swirling hurricane you would see the resemblance. They say the stars further away from the center of the galaxy spin at a slower rate than stars closer to the center. Wind speeds in a hurricane is what it reminds me of.
The hurricane picks up clouds wind and water to feed and fuel it's growth and life. I believe that if a black hole was given birth by a "
tropical gaseous depression then it would soon start swirling and gathering up debris and gases in space as it gathers strength to feed itself. Now on earth we don't know what happens to a hurricane after it reaches it's strongest point and doesn't get impeded by land or wind. In space, perhaps it stays at a constant state as Rita stayed close to 5 before weakening over shallower water.
In space these eyes of the storm could keep the universe in a constant swirl toward the center and swallowing up everything in the center to..."no one knows".
So if the galaxy was created by a black hole it would swirl like a hurricane causing mini tornados ("swirling gases") that would make gases swirl into smaller tornados creating solar systems which would cause gases to swirl into smaller tornados that would create planets and perhaps they spin off smaller tornados, then maybe these swirls get even smaller to condense and create atoms.
Also, I am wondering, if the water is at a lower lever in the eye of a hurricane because of the pressure it pushes down, then would not the same type of pressure from a swirling cloud of gas put a warp in space?
So instead of thinking some huge mass is condensed into a particle that's microscopic, we could think of a black hole as more of a pressure from the eye pushing on the rift of space that causes the deep cavern that has so much gravity it sucks up everything.
Now where do the winds of a hurricane go once they reach the inner ring of the eye? This I don't know. Could it explain where light and everything goes in a black hole?
So are these strings everyone is looking for actually swirls like a hurricane?
If so, I am the first, I believe to say these swirls we see in Hurricanes and in galaxies across the Universe are similar and very important to finding more answers of why these large swirls appear.
So if any physicists are out there please let me know if it makes sense that tiny swirling "something" could condense to create atoms. Atoms are round like planets aren't they?
Also, maybe the five string theories could not have been mirror theories but "bands" of the storm leading the eye.
If we find "the swirl" is what condensed our planets, solar system, and universe, then why not go as tiny as atoms.
Just my two cents.
How long will it take to make a ball of this 'string'?
But, isn't the swirling of a hurricane the result of the Coriolis effect? Wind flows to the low, not high, pressure at the storm center, the swirling being caused by the Coriolis effect.
Weirdly, a quick Google shows quite a few articles on the similarity between hurricane and galaxy spirals.
I found unexpectedly that the Milky Way has a 27,000 light year in length bar in the center?
Apparently the spiral is a regularly appearing phenomenon in nature.
The good: what the string leads to...
The bad: the bloody tampon at the end of it...