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Debunking String Theory

  1. Oct 30, 2004 #1
    Debunking String Theory.

    Why not starting to debunking the String dream?

    String theory is the result of the failure the Standard Theory gave. The concept of atoms, electrons and other elementary particle being little balls of spheres failed. There was a need to change the approach.
    Almost everyone knew that vibrations (and i.e. resonance) was essential. That approach was already used in the 1800's by people in (religious) Theosophy. Theosophists based there ideas on ancient Indian books.
    So the idea of vibration was nothing original at all, it was just old wine in new sack.
    And - myself - agree on that.

    But String Theory pretends to be an "accident" ... and the real theory will only appear in 2050!!!.
    Now that's great. What a statement!
    Already today the Guru's know that the are right ... but they have not concept. It's like building a house without a architectural plan. And we see also that a number of these Guru's (sorry Lubos my friend) refer to God. Is string theory a scientific religion?

    Another remarkable thing is that String Theory mixes an number of things. Can you imagine that gravitation is due to open strings ... which hang somewhere in the blue! Now if something should be (inter)connected that must be strings related to gravity.

    So in String Theory there is a lot of hokus-pokus.

    What's your idea?
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2004
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  3. Oct 30, 2004 #2

    Hurkyl

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    Probably because there aren't many here who understand anything about string theory beyond media popularizations.

    Besides, there's nothing to debunk -- String theorists freely admit that there isn't any empircal evidence of the theory.


    I hate to go off on a tangent, but I don't understand this comment. The only failure of the Standard Model of which I'm aware is that it doesn't include gravity. It certainly doesn't treat elementary particles as little spheres.
     
  4. Oct 30, 2004 #3
    So ... shouldn't be String Theory in the Theory development Thread? :tongue2:
     
  5. Oct 30, 2004 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    This is a hot issue for some physicists. Technically, until ST can produce a testable hypothesis, it is a philosophy.
     
  6. Oct 30, 2004 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    If you are interested in ST, you should go here http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/programs.html
    and watch The Elegant Universe. It is an excellent introduction to the subject and really well done.
     
  7. Oct 30, 2004 #6

    Chronos

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    At least in my mind, the ability to make testable, quantifiable predictions is what sets apart a theory from a philosophy. A complete theory makes such predictions. String theory has that ability, it is merely incomplete.
     
  8. Oct 30, 2004 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    This is not what some argue. It is said that ST may never be testable. One such claim is made in the linked Nova program.
     
  9. Oct 30, 2004 #8

    Chronos

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    Agreed, it may never mature to a complete theory. I am quite disturbed by the near-infinite number of possible solutions. It makes it look very ad hoc... Pick a number, any number, and I can come up with a formula that predicts it. Perhaps it will end up in the philosopical scrap pile some day. But for now, it still has enough popular support to retain the cloak of respectability.
     
  10. Oct 30, 2004 #9

    selfAdjoint

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    If you mean the Standard Model, it never used any such concept. The elementary particles in the SM are treated as dimensionless points. That may be an idealization, but it does not lead to any problems and was not the reason people went to strings.
     
  11. Oct 31, 2004 #10
    Thanks for the comment. But SM put a number of elements by hand and that made scientists look for other models.
    My essential critic on String Theory is that there is no concept behind. Cfr. the TV video. Remember that on SST I said - and Paultr agreed - that everything could be explained with only one string. And it is more easy to start from one string than starting from billions and billions of strings.
     
  12. Oct 31, 2004 #11

    selfAdjoint

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    I don't believe anybody's explanations of what string theory can explain; they all have a lot of unexpressed contingency in them: "We explain it all, given that we explain anything." Reminds me of the "Field Theory" in John Crowley's novella "In Blue", which perfectly postdicted every feature of the past but never could predict anything at all.

    The in-by-hand of the Standard Model is its 19 parameters. Given the shape of the theory (which is NOT put in by hand) you have to specify 19 numbers to bring it down to individual cases. And yes, this is one reason for interest in string theory, which has no free parameters. The other reason is that it easily produces a graviton, which no previous quantum theory had successfully done.
     
  13. Oct 31, 2004 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    As I understand some objections, this still misses the point. Even if ST is complete it may never be testable.

    One other thought, there is a certain elegance to the notion that the last theory in physics may remain forever philosophical. In a way this wouldn't surprise me. After all, at the deepest level physics is a subject of philosophy.
     
  14. Nov 1, 2004 #13

    Phobos

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    It's enjoying a provisional science status. :smile:

    I seem to recall hearing about some possible tests of ST. Maybe I can dig up that info again. :confused:
     
  15. Nov 2, 2004 #14
    Isn't there some huge collider being built that may determine the existence of supersymmetry? Sorry, it's been a while since I read Greene.
     
  16. Nov 2, 2004 #15

    selfAdjoint

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    The LHC (Large Hadron Collider) is being built at CERN, which straddles the French-Swiss border. It is expected to be powerful enough to detect the Higgs particle, and perhaps see evidence for supersymmetry. Or it could rule out supersymmetry.
     
  17. Nov 12, 2004 #16
    Ivan Seeking: I am actually the proud owner of The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene. It's quite an interesting philosphy.
     
  18. Nov 12, 2004 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    and a great show!
     
  19. Nov 12, 2004 #18
    Didn't Einstein say that an elegant theory should be understandable by a child? In this regard, string theory's arcaneness appears to border more on obfuscation than intelligibility.

    The inability to be visualized or otherwise intuited much beyond its basic tenets of multidimensionality and duality reveals superstrings as part of a theory for elite theoreticians, not for the physicist in general.

    The questions are begged as to who eventually will claim to know the true unified theory, what reviewer in turn will keep them honest, and how the theory itself will be tested universally.

    (Kaku must have written about this.)

    I must review "The Elegant Universe," though. Can one order it through PBS?
     
  20. Nov 13, 2004 #19
    String theory is probably right in its view that the smallest distance is 10^-34 metres.
    I believe this because if one cubic metre of space is made from 10^102 cubes with dimension 10^-34 metre,then there can be 10^110 Joules per cubic metre if there is one particle of wavelength 10^-34 metres in each cube.This is close to one
    quantum mechanical estimate of 10^114 Joules per cubic metre.
     
  21. Nov 13, 2004 #20

    Hurkyl

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    Even if Einstein is correct, it still doesn't follow that the search for that theory must be so simple.
     
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