## Quantum Physics / Quantum Mechanics

Hey I'm Kristine & I was watching a show last night. It was called NOVA (It's about science), which this episode aired on channel: #50!
It was on Quantum Physics / Quantum Mechanics. Which was probably over my head, considering that I'm in the 10th grade & am currently taking an Earth Science Class. Well anyways I had a few questions, because I was a little hard for me to understand, and a little ing too! Well, I thought you help clarify them for me!

1.) How can string theory be science, if it can't be proven like any other theory is?
1a.) Is it science or is it just a philosophy?

2.) How can the Laws of the Large & the Laws of the small ( gravity & the other three forces) be combined together, if they can't all be one happy family?
2A.) What about when your trying to prove the theory of a black/dark hole?
Or the Big Bang theory?

I'm a little can you help un me, and please explain what's going on in as simple as terms as you can!

Thank You,
~*~LilSciWizGirl~*~
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1) String theory falls under the category of "Theoretical Physics". Many predictions have been made by theoretical physics before any one had dreamed that it would be possible to do the experiment. This is the hope for string theory, although I myself do not believe in it.

1a) All physical theories are philosophy in the sense that they are not really true, they are merely rational ways of obtaining results. This understanding of the role of physical theory is demonstrated by Leonard Euler in the following quote:

"Although to penetrate into the intimate mysteries of nature
and thence to learn the true causes of phenomena is not allowed
to us, nevertheless it can happen that a certain fictive
hypothesis may suffice for explaining many phenomena."

2)
 How can the Laws of the Large & the Laws of the small ( gravity & the other three forces) be combined together, if they can't all be one happy family?
How can they combine together? For the forces to combine it would be necessary to see mass and charge as related properties.

It is possible to learn a lot about black holes and the big bang without a small scale theory of gravity.

## Quantum Physics / Quantum Mechanics

 Quote by LilSciWizGirl 1.) How can string theory be science, if it can't be proven like any other theory is? 1a.) Is it science or is it just a philosophy?
Hi Kristine,

I'll toss in a different position. I would disagree with MK; current string physics models make no testable predictions at all. Saying that they might "catch" a graviton is one thing, but actually determining what that will look like, when and how it will take place, and what you should measure is much more difficult. String physics has produced many interesting ideas, but it has had grave trouble bringing any of those "down to earth" enough to generate interesting predictions of what will be observed. The few things they claim they can predict... well, they can't agree on what they'll see. They've had awful problems coping with recent astronomical observations, such as the discovery of quintessence.

I don't mean that to sound overly harsh, but personally I find the way string physics is marketed to the public to be unacceptable. The caveats I listed above do not mean string physics is a failure or that funding should be stopped. However, you are correct that it is not currently a "theory" as the word is taught in school. It can be considered science for the time being because it builds on ideas that do have experimental verification, but to keep that status it will need to do something... someday. I find it ironic that in a discipline where we rely so much on evidence, that we would try and convince the public string physics is a scientific theory when there is no evidence.

It's worth noting that many of string physics most caustic critics work in other fields of theoretical physics which cannot be said to have produced significantly more. Then there are many of us who work in experimental physics, and simply have no use for decades of theoretical meanderings that have produced nothing we would consider useful.

You'll get other opinions here, from very knowledgable people, and some may disagree with me. I hope they will make their case, as the more voices that are heard on this, the better.

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