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Is string theory in trouble?
newscientist.com ^ | 17 December 2005 | Amanda Gefter

Posted on 12/18/2005 5:46:34 AM PST by samtheman

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Why are the physical constants exactly the way we find them? Because that's the way they are in the universe we happen to find ourselves in. They are some other way in some other universe.
1 posted on 12/18/2005 5:46:35 AM PST by samtheman
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To: samtheman

I've been doing reasearch for my doctoral on g-string theory. Now, if I can just find a school which offers that as a major...


2 posted on 12/18/2005 5:49:33 AM PST by atomicpossum (Replies should be as pedantic as possible. I love that so much.)
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To: samtheman

According to my paycheck, inflation is bad.


3 posted on 12/18/2005 5:52:08 AM PST by mtbopfuyn (Legality does not dictate morality... Lavin)
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To: samtheman

John Kerry won the election in some alternate universe! Scary ;^)


4 posted on 12/18/2005 5:54:01 AM PST by saganite (The poster formerly known as Arkie 2)
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To: samtheman

bump for later


5 posted on 12/18/2005 5:55:33 AM PST by Ranald S. MacKenzie (Its the philosophy, stupid.)
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To: samtheman

Why do we have to go that route? We still aren't certain that the universe collapses are we? And if it does and recreates forever then the universe we see today would be inevitable.


6 posted on 12/18/2005 5:55:55 AM PST by bkepley
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To: atomicpossum
***I've been doing research for my doctoral on g-string theory. Now, if I can just find a school which offers that as a major...***

Have you checked the University of Phoenix, they seem to have a Major for everything.

;-)

7 posted on 12/18/2005 5:56:28 AM PST by Condor51 (Leftists are moral and intellectual parasites - Standing Wolf)
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To: atomicpossum
"I've been doing reasearch for my doctoral on g-string theory"

Careful, that could lead to the conversion of singularity.

8 posted on 12/18/2005 5:57:18 AM PST by Paladin2 (If the political indictment's from Fitz, the jury always acquits.)
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To: atomicpossum

You are behind times..Kids in Middle School now meet that as standard requirements, no "doctor" required. Called self help lab.


9 posted on 12/18/2005 5:57:55 AM PST by cynicom
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To: samtheman
They are some other way in some other universe.
By definition, there can be no other universe. It would be come a 'multiverse' then. In any case, am pretty mystified by all these abstract goings-on in the physics world nowadays. If something isn't testable, how can we accept it as truth? It would then become an axiom - that which can neither be proved nor disproved - and mathematicians have long known you can play god and create different consistent systems of study just by changing the axioms. We only of course choose the interesting ones. Maybe G-d, if He exists, does the same, eh?
10 posted on 12/18/2005 5:58:25 AM PST by voletti ("A man's character is his fate." - Heraclitus)
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To: voletti

voletti,

It gets down to semantics. If you look at the bubble of stars we can see with our telescopes and call that "the universe", but consider there are other bubbles out there that we can't see, and call the whole collection of bubbles "the cosmos" (which I think is the way Alan Guth does it), then you get the idea. Other word-choices could be made to get the same idea across.


11 posted on 12/18/2005 6:03:10 AM PST by samtheman
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To: bkepley
We still aren't certain that the universe collapses are we?
Not certain, but things are looking bad for the Big Crunch. Our expansion rate appears (recent observations) too high, and with the cosmological constant (that Einstein himself predicted and then rejected but which now turns out to be there) it will be harder than ever for the measured mass to pull itself all together again.
12 posted on 12/18/2005 6:06:06 AM PST by samtheman
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To: samtheman

ping


13 posted on 12/18/2005 6:07:10 AM PST by Pietro
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To: samtheman

Ping for when I'm smart.


14 posted on 12/18/2005 6:08:10 AM PST by kinsman redeemer (the real enemy seeks to devour what is good)
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To: kinsman redeemer

LOL, when i am smart too buudy!


15 posted on 12/18/2005 6:11:21 AM PST by meanie monster (http://guptonator.myvideochat.net)
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To: samtheman

I'm convinced that string theory is nothing more than high-fallutin' BS invented by stoned graduate students.


16 posted on 12/18/2005 6:12:22 AM PST by WarEagle (This is obviously Karl Rove's fault...)
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To: voletti

"In any case, am pretty mystified by all these abstract goings-on in the physics world nowadays."

Me, too. I think there's a lot of BS out there now that serves merely to keep people publishing and hence their jobs. I'm going to laugh when the LHC fails to find extra spatial dimensions.


17 posted on 12/18/2005 6:12:32 AM PST by Flightdeck (Longhorns+January=Rose Bowl Repeat)
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To: samtheman

Doesn't the casimir effect prove a non-zero "cosmological constant"?


18 posted on 12/18/2005 6:13:45 AM PST by Flightdeck (Longhorns+January=Rose Bowl Repeat)
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To: voletti
If something isn't testable, how can we accept it as truth?

It's seldom "truth." It's theory which fits all known data. If the data changes, the theory is modified or a new theory is advanced.

Newtonian physics works just fine for many things. But it doesn't take in account the effects of relativity.

19 posted on 12/18/2005 6:15:47 AM PST by CPOSharky (Taxation WITH representation kinda sucks too.)
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To: atomicpossum

In some segment of the multiverse there's undoubtedly a "g-string university".


20 posted on 12/18/2005 6:19:05 AM PST by muawiyah (u)
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To: samtheman

That is a cosmological battle - Big Crunch or Cold Empty Universe. In other words, will the Universe end in fire or ice (metaphorically speaking). Data suggests that (based on our current thinking), the universe will gradually drift away into nothingness.

Which reminds me of the Robert Frost poem:

Some say the world will end in ice,
some say it will end in fire,
And having tasted desire,
I hold with those who say fire.


21 posted on 12/18/2005 6:23:41 AM PST by razoroccam (Then in the name of Allah, they will let loose the Germs of War (http://www.booksurge.com))
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To: Condor51; atomicpossum
***I've been doing research for my doctoral on g-string theory. Now, if I can just find a school which offers that as a major...***

Have you checked the University of Phoenix, they seem to have a Major for everything.

Little Rock, AR has a vast amount of information on file with respect to everything related to this subject ... in the Clinton Library.

22 posted on 12/18/2005 6:23:53 AM PST by Optimist (I think I'm beginning to see a pattern here.)
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To: samtheman
Why are physicists taking the idea of multiple universes seriously now? ... Without any explanation of nature's fine-tunings we will be hard pressed to answer the ID critics.

Take out all the imaginary scientism between the two quotes and there you go! Not so hard after all.

By the way, the argument that we find the universe improbably friendly to life because we are alive in this universe is neither an explanation nor an argument, but merely begs the question. In these imaginary other universes, does conscious life exist in gasseous form in starless space? How about flying monkeys? In an infinite number of universes, surely there is one with flying monkeys! Cthulu? Wise and patriotic Democracts?
23 posted on 12/18/2005 6:33:00 AM PST by SalukiLawyer
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To: SalukiLawyer
In an infinite number of universes, surely there is one with flying monkeys!
I can't get my head around infinity. I prefer to speculate (and all of this is in the realm of speculation) on the possibility of a large but finite number of other bubbles and also prefer to think of us and our monkeys (flying or otherwise) as unique in all the cosmos. But that's just my particular fancy and means nothing.

What is interesting is that people who "know better" (that is, those who can do the math) are speculating along the lines of this article.

24 posted on 12/18/2005 6:53:48 AM PST by samtheman
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To: razoroccam
I like the argument on the subject of fire vs ice in Sailor Song.
25 posted on 12/18/2005 6:55:21 AM PST by samtheman
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To: SalukiLawyer
the argument that we find the universe improbably friendly to life because we are alive in this universe is neither an explanation nor an argument, but merely begs the question.
You are right. It's not an argument, or an explanation. It is a speculation. And to my mind, an interesting one. Frankly, more interesting than the supposition that a book written by the scholary members of a nomadic desert tribe a few thousand years ago actually specifies the dynamics of the universe.

To my mind (and I'm not trying to win an argument, merely justify my own speculations), it makes more sense to toy with ideas of alternate big-bangs (in which some get the physical constants "right for life" and others don't), than to believe that a book written at the dawn of mankinds erudition correctly lists the technical specifications of our cosmos.

26 posted on 12/18/2005 7:00:17 AM PST by samtheman
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To: samtheman
inflation implies: a huge universe with patches that are very different from one another. The bottom line is that we no longer have any good reason to believe that our tiny patch of universe is representative of the whole thing.

What would differ in those "anomolous" patches? Would they not conform to the same physical laws that govern this "patch?" Are we supposed to believe that Relativity extends to the very fabric of reality, and that Truth itself varies from locale to locale?

Would an intelligent observer from Tau Ceti IX see a universe governed by different laws, arising from completely different origins? Can we no longer rely on the assumption that certain values are immutable and universal?

Intriguing, but I suspect more of a parlor exercise than a physical reality.

27 posted on 12/18/2005 7:00:57 AM PST by IronJack
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To: bkepley; samtheman; atomicpossum; voletti
The idea is that scientists don't want a universe with a concrete beginning: it implies a creation event, and since nothing creates itself, it can imply a Creator, or another universe creating it, but then, what created that other universe (since nothing creates itself)--another Creator?

Steady State (or any pop theory amounting to such) is an elegant mathematical way to commit the logical fallacy of "begging the question" by not addressing: What was the First Cause?

Remember: Nothing creates itself.

Remember: There is no such thing as infinity.

Q.E.D., Kalam Cosmological Argument, q.v.

Sauron

28 posted on 12/18/2005 7:06:57 AM PST by sauron ("Truth is hate to those who hate Truth" --unknown)
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To: kinsman redeemer
Ping for when I'm smart.

That has to be the funniest ping I've seen!

29 posted on 12/18/2005 7:08:53 AM PST by sauron ("Truth is hate to those who hate Truth" --unknown)
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To: sauron
Sure. And it's really a fool's errand to try to understand the formation of the Universe without understanding what is outside the Universe.

It's like trying to reconcile where the interior of your house came from (if it's all you've ever known) if you have no understanding of anything outside your house.

30 posted on 12/18/2005 7:10:39 AM PST by atomicpossum (Replies should be as pedantic as possible. I love that so much.)
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To: atomicpossum

Post this picture with your
Research Assistant ad.

31 posted on 12/18/2005 7:11:35 AM PST by FreedomFarmer (Facts without theory is trivia. Theory without facts is socialism.)
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To: samtheman

Shall we go after the M-theory and trash the string theory?


32 posted on 12/18/2005 7:13:01 AM PST by Wiz
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To: samtheman
Is string theory in trouble?

I'm a frayed knot

33 posted on 12/18/2005 7:13:59 AM PST by joesnuffy (A camel once bit my sister-we knew just what to do- gather large rocks & squash her-Mullet Ho'mar)
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To: IronJack

Schrödinger's cat.


34 posted on 12/18/2005 7:15:46 AM PST by CPOSharky (Taxation WITH representation kinda sucks too.)
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To: samtheman
"The universe is big. Really, really big. No one knows just how big it really is."

- Opening lines of "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy".
35 posted on 12/18/2005 7:19:40 AM PST by finnigan2
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To: samtheman
"We still aren't certain that the universe collapses are we?"

Not certain, but things are looking bad for the Big Crunch. Our expansion rate appears (recent observations) too high,

I thought a couple of years ago scientists were puzzled by measurements that the expansion of the universe was speeding up, accelerating. This flew in the face of gravity which should decelerate the rate. I have not heard any contrary reports since. I'd settle for an answer on the driving force behind this acceleration as more useful than wondering if the universe is antropical.

36 posted on 12/18/2005 7:27:19 AM PST by LoneRangerMassachusetts (Some say what's good for others, the others make the goods; it's the meddlers against the peddlers)
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To: samtheman
But the belief that the universe beyond our causal horizon is homogeneous is just as speculative and just as susceptible to the Popperazzi.

Seems true. Nice turn of phrase, too. In my falsificationist persona, I suppose I am one of them.

37 posted on 12/18/2005 7:27:41 AM PST by aposiopetic
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To: CPOSharky
But does the act of observation change the results of the observation, per Shroedinger? Theoretically, if "reality" changed as we changed location, then the "new" reality would not even be observable to us. Or more precisely, since there would be nothing to contrast it with, the DIFFERENCE would not be noticeable. I can't imagine there's some physical threshold beyond which Reality A becomes Reality B, so the change would have to be gradual as A faded out and B emerged. What do physical laws become in the transition?

I don't know that this is a straightforward Shroedinger case, but it does pose some intriguing questions.

38 posted on 12/18/2005 7:29:53 AM PST by IronJack
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To: samtheman

A 'multiverse' in which every possibility happens blows Hell out of the experimental method, though.


39 posted on 12/18/2005 7:30:07 AM PST by Grut
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To: Grut

the experimental method still works for events inside our universe, which are the only events we can see or test anyway

like i said, this is speculation, but i personally find it interesting.


40 posted on 12/18/2005 7:42:49 AM PST by samtheman
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To: joesnuffy
Is string theory in trouble?
I'm a frayed knot
Excellent.
41 posted on 12/18/2005 7:45:19 AM PST by samtheman
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To: LoneRangerMassachusetts
I thought a couple of years ago scientists were puzzled by measurements that the expansion of the universe was speeding up, accelerating.
That's the way I understand it. It turns out Einstein was right when he predicted a cosmological constant. Even though later he back-tracked and called it "my greatest mistake".
42 posted on 12/18/2005 7:46:41 AM PST by samtheman
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To: samtheman

How is the belief in alternate universes different than the belief in a deity?


43 posted on 12/18/2005 7:53:39 AM PST by DOGEY
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To: samtheman
According to Brian Greene's "The Elegant Universe", we are 'toast' -- or just another slice of bread in the loaf.

The 'saddle' theory rings a bell, though. Make it a saddle that saddles the bottom and sides of the horse as well and you have a torus-like structure -- the old jelly donut theory.

Just watched the DVD Nova series on "The Elegant Universe" the other night. Very colorful and thought it presented some great models.

I can't add anything here, just making an observation.

I think space and matter only defines two aspects of the universe. Add time and you have a tri-universe, each aspect directly related and an emanation of the other.

So add them up and what do you get? Space + Matter + Time = 3 separate but unrelated units.

But multiplied, as Space x Matter x Time = the entire volume = 1 triuniverse.

44 posted on 12/18/2005 8:02:25 AM PST by Eastbound
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To: samtheman

> Is string theory in trouble?

It always had been hanging by a thread.

Cosmology theories have changed radically more than once
during my lifetime, and may do so several times more.


45 posted on 12/18/2005 8:25:17 AM PST by Boundless
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To: samtheman
Steven Weinberg recently said that this is one of the great sea changes in fundamental science since Einstein, that it changes the nature of science itself. Is it such a radical change?

My, these physicists are full of themselves, aren't they? Somebody's pet mathematical model is in trouble, and that changes the very nature of science.

Only it doesn't. The nature of science is to destroy models like string theory. That is how progress is made.

What's more, the demise of string theory will have no repercussions at all outside a few esoteric realms of physics. Chemists, biologists, geologists, and engineers won't even notice it is gone.

46 posted on 12/18/2005 8:25:26 AM PST by Logophile
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To: samtheman

"But in my heart of hearts, I just don't believe that life could exist in the interior of a star, for instance, or in a black hole. "

It doesn't seem likely to me, either, yet life has been discovered on earth in places that a few years ago would have seemed inhospitable, like undersea sulfurous volcanic vents, antarctic ice.

http://www.livescience.com/animalworld/050207_extremophiles.html

So I wouldn't rule out other places in the universe. We learn more surprising and amazing stuff every day.

On a slightly related note, I've wondered if at the most basic level we have just zeros and ones. In other words, maybe matter/energy exists in just on/off or left/right or whatever 2 states. Maybe all the subatomic particles reduce to 2 opposite choices at the lowest level. This idea appeals to me as a mathematician/programmer. Occam's Razor?


47 posted on 12/18/2005 8:41:26 AM PST by generally
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To: samtheman
"To my mind (and I'm not trying to win an argument, merely justify my own speculations), it makes more sense to toy with ideas of alternate big-bangs (in which some get the physical constants "right for life" and others don't), than to believe that a book written at the dawn of mankinds erudition correctly lists the technical specifications of our cosmos."

I would tend to agree but for a slightly different reason. If there are no other universes, that would tend to suggest that the event that created this universe was a one time event in all of eternity. It just doesn't have the right feel. The concept of eternity itself suggests that all things are possible and in some sense a concurrent reality.

48 posted on 12/18/2005 8:47:20 AM PST by Desron13 (If you constantly vote between the lesser of two evils then evil is your ultimate destination.)
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To: Desron13
And a little off subject but I've always wondered if the actual mechanism for magnetism was that when the atoms in a magnetic material are aligned in one direction that the mass of the material is projected slightly ahead of and behind itself in space time and the force exerted is the objects actually touching in a different time frame. Pure speculation I know but any of you physicists out there may be able to set me straight.
49 posted on 12/18/2005 9:08:15 AM PST by Desron13 (If you constantly vote between the lesser of two evils then evil is your ultimate destination.)
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To: betty boop; Alamo-Girl; cornelis

multi-echo ping.. from a house of mirrors..


50 posted on 12/18/2005 9:14:46 AM PST by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole..)
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