# Why is string theory on the verge of collapse?

by zewpals
Tags: collapse, string, theory, verge
P: 107
 Quote by mitchell porter There are infinitely many possible field theories because you can choose fields, symmetries, interactions, parameters in infinitely many ways. But string theory has no free parameters. The multiplicity of vacua arises within the configuration space of a single theory. So string theory is unique in two ways: first, there's only one fundamental string theory; second, there's no other theory like it. That's what I meant.
Thank you for the clarification, this is very interesting. So string theory is not a unique theory of everything (whatever than means), there might be other candidates. But there is only one unique string theory! This is of course by itself quit interesting.
P: 407
 Quote by BenTheMan I don't know....I think AdS/CFT makes sense without string theory'' is kind of a misleading statement. It makes sense if you assume the presence of a certain set of internal symmetries.
In fact, gauge theories and string theory are deeply interwoven and one thing what ADS/CFT provides is a reconstruction of (background independet) string theory from gauge theory, in the large-N limit. So string theory will always come along the ride, no matter how little one likes it, whenever one talks about gauge theory. Thus most likely it will never go away.

And marcus, it is just futile to go through recent talks of people in order to fabricate a decline. String theory is a very wide field with many facets, it has always been that the focus shifts a bit from year to year, right now some more people than usual are interested in gauge amplitudes that can be studied by string and string inspired methods; one should see this a a framework for studying quantum field theories with and without quantum gravity, and no serious resaercher tries to draw a line between string theory and non-string theory, such as you like to do. I seriously think that this is paranoid what you do here, and all effect what it might have is to ruin some young "innocent" people for science. They would be better advised to listen to their professors rather than to clueless spin doctors.
P: 478
 Quote by suprised And marcus, it is just futile to go through recent talks of people in order to fabricate a decline. ... They would be better advised to listen to their professors rather than to clueless spin doctors.
These two sentences summarize the bulk of marcus' contributions to physics forums.
P: 716
 Quote by suprised And marcus, it is just futile to go through recent talks of people in order to fabricate a decline. String theory is a very wide field with many facets, it has always been that the focus shifts a bit from year to year, right now some more people than usual are interested in gauge amplitudes that can be studied by string and string inspired methods; one should see this a a framework for studying quantum field theories with and without quantum gravity, and no serious resaercher tries to draw a line between string theory and non-string theory, such as you like to do. I seriously think that this is paranoid what you do here, and all effect what it might have is to ruin some young "innocent" people for science. They would be better advised to listen to their professors rather than to clueless spin doctors.
String theorists ranging from Lubos Motl and Jacques Distler, to Witten, Polanski, Kaku, have disparaged LQG.

How do you feel about loop gravity and are you suggesting no serious researcher draws the line between string theory and LQG?

Do you think LQG is promising and worthy of high-level investment, faculty hiring, research programs, post docs etc on par with strings?
 P: 1,928 Well, coldly thinking, just the 1st one in your list disparaged LQG. The second one even hosts a blog for a person who does LQG... But, the obvious conclusion of this thread it is that, due to personal attacks, smells like being locked...
 P: 5,634 Seems like Marcus, and atyy in post #30, have summed up well... string theory has already been "deemed dead" several times, It was originally thought it applied to the strong force....that did not work out so well, disappointment #1...and some physicsts returned to more traditional particle physics; then someone discovered a spin 2 particle buried within...WOW the graviton!!! and revolution # 1 was underway.....but equations could not be solved and there were five theories that seemed different...with different answers.... disappointment #2, Next, Ed Witten to the rescue with M theory!!!....and now the perturbative solutions and incomplete mathematical formulatios still apparently baffle scientists, disappointment # 3....still no real testable predictions..is it "too pretty to fail"???? who knows....but I would no rush to bury string theory.... Maybe it's analogous to asking "If quantum theory predicts a cosmological constant 120 orders of magnitude greater than the observed value, is it on the verge of collapse?."
P: 1,928
 Quote by Naty1 Maybe it's analogous to asking "If quantum theory predicts a cosmological constant 120 orders of magnitude greater than the observed value, is it on the verge of collapse?."
No, that's because you've got asymptotic safety!
P: 716
 Quote by BenTheMan These two sentences summarize the bulk of marcus' contributions to physics forums.
According to Woit, a lot of professors are discouraging grad students to go into string theory.

i.e http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=684

What are professors telling students re: string theory?
Astronomy
PF Gold
P: 22,809
 Quote by Naty1 Seems like Marcus, and atyy in post #30, have summed up well...
Thanks Naty!
George Jones also added depth with a pointer back to an earlier (2006) thread discussing related topics.
 Quote by George Jones Something I posted a few years ago: http://www.physicsforums.com/showthr...390#post998390.
P: 478
 Quote by Naty1 Seems like Marcus, and atyy in post #30, have summed up well... string theory has already been "deemed dead" several times, It was originally thought it applied to the strong force....that did not work out so well, disappointment #1...and some physicsts returned to more traditional particle physics; then someone discovered a spin 2 particle buried within...WOW the graviton!!! and revolution # 1 was underway.....but equations could not be solved and there were five theories that seemed different...with different answers.... disappointment #2, Next, Ed Witten to the rescue with M theory!!!....and now the perturbative solutions and incomplete mathematical formulatios still apparently baffle scientists, disappointment # 3....still no real testable predictions..is it "too pretty to fail"???? who knows....but I would no rush to bury string theory.... Maybe it's analogous to asking "If quantum theory predicts a cosmological constant 120 orders of magnitude greater than the observed value, is it on the verge of collapse?."

Fail.
 P: 89 Just curious, I have heard some on Discovery type documentaries call ST science fiction. Isn't this an insult???
P: 407
 Quote by ensabah6 What are professors telling students re: string theory?
In my institution, we tell them: be prepared to work hard for many years, and there are more students willing to do so than can be supervised.

 Quote by ensabah6 How do you feel about loop gravity and are you suggesting no serious researcher draws the line between string theory and LQG? Do you think LQG is promising and worthy of high-level investment, faculty hiring, research programs, post docs etc on par with strings?

Yes, a serious reseacher would draw no line between strings and LQG, in fact strings as we know them today, are likely not the complete story, ie an off-shell or backgrond-independent “topological phase” might be underneath and ordinary backgrounds would emerge from an analog of spontaneous symmetry breaking. This underlying theory might be similar in spirit to what the LQG people aim for.

So I think the viewpoint of strings and LQG as competing alternatives is artificial, created by people who like to polarize the field and grab more attention to their work than it deserves. My bet, based on the history of the last 15 years, would be that all what makes sense and is physically consistent
would ultimately fit together in a big picture. String theory will certainly be a part of it, at least since it can be reconstructed from gauge theory as said above.

As for LQG in the strict sense, it didn’t get very far after 20+ years of research; there is not just one emergent theory but many different attempts, which just shows that not even a good starting point has been identified; none of which works convincly so far, most of it are hopes and promises (for example, that it describes 4d gravity). Actually we are at odds why LQG is mentioned in the same sentence as string theory, as if it would be in any way an alternative program, either in scope or in achievements. It is a field with much less ambition to begin with, namely to describe gravity, and as far as unification with particle physcis is concerned, it seems still in its early infancy, to say it politely. That’s why most colleagues don’t find it appealing and promising to work on it. If they would find otherwise, they’d work on it, it is as simple as that.

Well all of this and more has been repeated many times over and over, it doesn’t make any sense to repeat it again, especially in front of people who dont want to hear it.
 P: 1,928 One has many paths leading to theories that cannot remotely possibly shown to describe the world during their lifetimes. This awfully looks like knowing which interpretation of a holy text is correct. So, it is a subjective choice of what path feels like more *real*. Just like new converts to a religion, people will go to wherever they feel right and go to whatever looks more stable, will fight and for land (fundings) and even more converts. But for the sake of the novelty, I really enjoy new stories. It is easy to get tired with Star(String) Wars sequels, cartoons, expanded universe etc, if you really are no fan of it.
P: 478
 Quote by suprised It is a field with much less ambition to begin with, namely to describe gravity, and as far as unification with particle physcis is concerned, it seems still in its early infancy, to say it politely. That’s why most colleagues don’t find it appealing and promising to work on it. If they would find otherwise, they’d work on it, it is as simple as that.