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rai linga
Nov27-09, 01:55 AM
P: 20
I'm a philosopher and evolutionary psychologist, and certainly not a physicist. Yet, I'm inquiring if the following extremely simple argument I will offer makes any sense to the physics community. It's an attempt to derive the basic idea of Superstring Theory from simple logic:

The argument is based on a simple error of transference of a generic mathmatics concept into physical science. In math, a point on a graph always represents some object of physical reality (ex. a motorcycle driving down the road at x MPH). In the early stages of particle physics, when the physical attributes of the various particles were being discovered, they were labeled "point particles" as a convenient metaphor for, what was, an indescribable entity. Later, the reference became so habitual that the idea that a point must, ultimately, represent some actual physical extension became lost entirely, along with the idea that nondimensional "points" can never really have any place in physical reality.

If it had occurred to someone to consider what would be the "least extension" for any physical entity, the result would have been String Theory. First, since there are many dimensions (from 4 to 26 based on standard and string models), a physical entity of least possible physical extension would, necessarily, be a one dimensional one (and NOT an "unreal" dimensionless point). Second, it must be a one dimensional entity of the least possible length. While laypeople would think there is no such concept, physicists know that "Planck length" is just such a real limit on length. Thus, a "real" entity (beyond a purely mathmatical concept) of "least possible extension" is necessarily a one-dimensional entity of Planck length ----Viola! A superstring!

Another way to state it is that, if there could possibly be something simpler in the universe (with at least some component of real physical extension) than a one dimensional Planck lenght string, then THAT would probably be the basic building block of the universe instead of the Superstring. But, as that is all but impossible, we're left with the Superstring.

Superstring Theory can be seen as a simple corrective of a misplaced understanding of how math concepts can and cannot translate into physical science.