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Number of Lepton Generations in string theory

  1. Jan 27, 2009 #1
    Is the number of lepton generations in string theory restricted to 3? Or is this "landscape dependent"?

    I don't really see what could limit the number of eigenmodes on a continuous object like the string.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2009 #2
    I've heard that the study of the neutrino oscilations proves that there are exactly 3 generations
  4. Jan 27, 2009 #3
    I thought that by various brane configurations, one could construct almost arbitrary combinations of gauge groups in string theory, including the standard model. This would mean that in String Theory a lepton generation number could be constructed to be 3, but also (almost?) any other value. Am I mistaken here?
  5. Jan 27, 2009 #4
    Hi Justin---

    It depends on which string theory you are working in, but in general the number of generations is topological. In other words, the geometry of the compact dimensions regulates the numbers of generations that you observe. In this sense, it is "landscape dependent".

    In general, Orbb is correct when dealing with Type II model building, where you can make branes intersect. In other types of models, there are constraints on the types of gauge groups and matter that you can get. None of these constraints require three generations, but they can make it very difficult to see how one gets a gauge group that is larger than E8, for example.
  6. Jan 30, 2009 #5
    Don't some string theories have multiple copies of E8?
    If so, would that mean those theories predict more than 3 generations?
  7. Jan 30, 2009 #6
    Well, yes to the first question and no to the second.

    To the first, the multiple copies of E8 don't really talk to each other, except via gravity. One E8 is typically "hidden" from the other.

    To the second, you have to work out the details, as this is a very model dependent question. Everything depends on the compact manifold.
  8. Jan 30, 2009 #7
    Ah, okay. I didn't realize those were "hidden sector" theories.

    Are people confident enough that there are only three generations to use it as a constraint on the topology of the compact dimensions? Or are people still seriously considering a very heavy fourth generation, or "sterile neutrinos" and the like?
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