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2007 the big year for string theory?

  1. Nov 17, 2007 #1
    I've always heard that 2007 was the year that may falsify string theory at a large collider in CERN or somewhere. 2007 is nearly over. I haven't heard anything about it. What has happened over there?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 17, 2007 #2
    Well if what you've heard is directly related to CERN, the fact that you've heard no more is probably due to the fact that the schedule for the science runs of the LHC has slipped quite a bit.
     
  4. Nov 17, 2007 #3

    marcus

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    For one thing, the start of LHC got delayed till 2008,
    and for another thing string folks have not signed off on any definite predictions that could falsify, if not seen. For instance, so far string could accomodate to LHC seeing supersymmetry and it could also accomodate to its not seeing it. No commitment to anything definite by way of new phenomena (not already predicted by older theory.)

    if someone called 2007 "the big year" for string it could possibly have been hype.
     
  5. Nov 17, 2007 #4

    marcus

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    Hi shoehorn, I didn't see that you already'd answered. Or would not have added my two cents. The last I heard was the director says science runs starting May 2008. And some scuttlebut I heard said more like September 2008. Do you have any hunch as to when.
    I have the impression you are at Cambridge in grad school so you'd apt to know better than I.
     
  6. Nov 18, 2007 #5

    I'll always look forward to listen to your two cents. You seem to be the authority in this subforum!? Are you an physicist academic?
     
  7. Nov 18, 2007 #6

    marcus

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    Thanks, pivoxa.
    no way, dude!:biggrin: its a group mind.
    Retired mathematician who likes to watch physicists. A lot of what i do is similar to a reference librarian's job at a research center. I track current literature selectively, accumulate links, and start threads.
    For expertise, we have people in frontline research who post here, but not often enough.
    We have regulars who are PhD students and postdocs at firstrate places, and also talented selftaughts. It could be better a lot of the time, but when it works best its like an autonomous neural network. Have fun.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2007
  8. Nov 18, 2007 #7
    I am a newbie in this subforum so good to know.

    Which area(s) in mathematics?

    Is anything in string theory falsifiable? If so what?
     
  9. Nov 18, 2007 #8

    marcus

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    That would be a good question for shoehorn to handle. Or one of several others. f-h might have a good answer, but I haven't seen a post from him in over a week.

    My personal perspective is that the question doesnt quite make sense, but they might see it differently. My attitude (you are welcome to disagree) is that string is not a theory. It is a framework hopefully for constructing theories which has not, as yet, produced a mature coherent theory.

    In other words nothing exists which deserves the name "string theory".

    A simple criterion for what might qualify is, as you mentioned, falsifiability---which is a feature of a theory as a whole, not a property of pieces or parts. (That's why your question doesn't quite make sense to me.) If a theory is predictive, and goes beyond what already established ones say, then it bets its life on some specific new prediction and is nullified if what it predicts is not observed. Being able to accept any outcome of any future experiment means it's too mushy to qualify. Being totally accommodating makes it not predictive and not science, at least in the sense I have in mind.

    The various approaches to quantum gravity (like Loop, or Spinfoam, or Triangulations) are never called theories. AFAIK they are always called approaches----I think because they have not matured to the point of being unambiguously predictive.

    So I would view string as an approach to unification, not (as yet at least) a proper scientific theory. It's actually confusing to call it by the name "string theory".

    But other people use language differently and it's really up to them to answer your question as they think best. Difference of opinion and perspective is the life blood of a discussion board. So you have to hope and pray you get several different answers to a question, right? :wink:

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    EDIT TO REPLY TO NEXT
    "but will it in the future" the future course of physics theory research is very difficult to predict, I think for the same reason the stockmarket it---that is, if an intelligent person could see where it was going then it would already be there. and that is what makes it so fun to watch.

    cant say what will emerge from string research in future. I do think it would be wise for US theory establishment to spread the bets a bit more. I like the balance at Perimeter where they do several kinds of gravity/unification in the same building and even at the same coffee-bar

    if I was going to risk a guess (hey, is this on topic, we should get on topic or start a different thread) and I mean really risk----go out on a limb more than usual----then I would predict that whatever formalism the significant results emerge from in the future the advances are more likely to be made at diversified research places, like Perimeter Utrecht and Penn State where they do both string and non-string and grad students have a choice. Events may prove me dead wrong but i predict some shifts in where the action is.

    Utrecht is way more diversified than Harvard-Princeton. I expect more interesting stuff to come out of there. Potsdam AEI (Hermann Nicolai's bunch) is diversified. The French have a system for managing support of research that we might profitably study---for some reason it reminds me of a hedge fund.:smile: I don't want to speculate any more about this. Let's get back on topic.

    Ooops! string IS the topic. Well I think I should abandon thread. Let's go somewhere else, pivoxa.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2007
  10. Nov 18, 2007 #9
    Barton Zwiebach in his opening remarks in 'A first course to String theory' said "QM is a framework, more than a theory. It gives the rules by which theories must be used to extract physical predictions.' which is interesting. It makes sense as it took a mathematician, Von Neumann to first fully develop it as we know it today. Does that make GR a framework as well?

    However the string framework has yet to extrat any credible theories as you suggest but will it in the future?
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2007
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