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In string theory, what are the small strings physically made out of?

  1. Jan 16, 2012 #1
    In string theory, what are the small strings physically made out of?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 16, 2012 #2


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    In the standard model, what are the point particles physically made out of?
    (Answer: Nothing)

    It's an axiom of the theory, not meant to be explained.
  4. Jan 16, 2012 #3
    Aren't they supposed to be 'energy'?

    I wouldn't bother trying to understand anything about string theory. It's a bunch of mathematical hokum.
  5. Jan 16, 2012 #4


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    In string theory, they are fundamental, i.e. not made of anything else. Some other theory might say that they're made of something else, but if you knew of such a theory, you would be asking a similar question about that one instead.
  6. Jan 16, 2012 #5
    It should be highly stressed that what is presented in popular science accounts (Brian Greene or what have you) is a series of vague pictures and analogies intended to convey EXCITEMENT, not understanding. String theory is a deeply mathematical theory and any intuition you might have about a CGI image of a vibrating string will be completely incorrect. There are no "strings" in string theory, at least in any way that you can have an intuition about from every day life. I know very little about string theory, however, my understanding is that the central mathematical extension to the standard model is instead of taking particles to be infinitely small 0-dimensional point one instead attaches a single degree of freedom to them, this degree of freedom is the "string". It's not actually a "thing" like a real string, it's just colorful language (and CGI artists looking for a *wow* special effect with no understanding), the "string" is essentially an additional freedom of motion/physics attached to each point in the universe.
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