Searching for a string explanation

  • Thread starter mitch bass
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  • #1
Can someone please define for me what is meant by string theory and what the significance of it is and why, according to stephen hawkins, it would take 32 dimension to permit the existence of such a phenomenon.
 

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  • #2
Originally posted by mitch bass
Can someone please define for me what is meant by string theory and what the significance of it is and why, according to stephen hawkins, it would take 32 dimension to permit the existence of such a phenomenon.

It is an ad hoc kludge-theory patching incorrect relativity theory with incomplete quantum theory. It has all these 32 some odd dimensions (which do not exist in reality) precisely because of the unnecessary and incompatable complexity in standard model.

It is completely abstract and has no basis in reality.



If the standard model had the correct fundamental substrate (a single fluid-dynamic continuous and compressible fluid) instead of point-particles in a void this monstrous complexity would be rendered superfluous and the whole thing would be a single unified whole as in Sorce Theory for instance.
 
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  • #3
ahrkron
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String Theory (ST) is an attempt (a very good one, I should say) to put together all fundamental interactions (including gravity) into one unified framework.

It is not just a "nice description" of general ideas about how things would work (as many "theories" you can find on the web), but a very detailed mathematical set of models, able to produce experimental predictions.

The "strings" on the name is due to the fact that, originally, instead of using points as fundamental objects (as is the case with quantum field theory), ST considers one-dimensional objects (curved lines, if you will).

Later on, it has been found that fundamental objects have to include also surfaces ("membranes", or "2-branes"), solids (3-branes), etc.

This is nice site to learn about it.

BTW, I should add that ST is not the only contender to produce a quantum-mechanical description of gravity. Another very important one is called "Loop Quantum Gravity". A google search on it should help you find some info about it.
 
  • #4
Originally posted by mitch bass
Can someone please define for me what is meant by string theory and what the significance of it is and why, according to stephen hawkins, it would take 32 dimension to permit the existence of such a phenomenon.

If you want to be a quantum accountant then the standard theories may be for you, but if you actually want to UNDERSTAND reality then I would recommend Sorce Theory.
 
  • #5
The following is from an introduction to M-Theory, which reveals many of the problems with the ‘string’ approach.

http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/gr/public/qg_ss.ht [Broken] ml

“The standard model was designed within a framework known as Quantum Field Theory (QFT), …. But unfortunately the fourth interaction, gravity, beautifully described by Einstein's General Relativity (GR), does not seem to fit into this scheme. Whenever one tries to apply the rules of QFT to GR one gets results which make no sense. For instance, the force between two gravitons (the particles that mediate gravitational interactions), becomes infinite and we do not know how to get rid of these infinities to get physically sensible results.”

First of all General Relativity did not explain the mechanism of gravity. It merely gave us the abstract image of warped space and the tautology of the rubber-sheet analogy (which uses gravity itself to explain gravity). There was and is no accepted explanation of what physically is the cause for the gravitational field which is visualized abstractly as the “shape of space”. There is no evidence for the hypothetical “graviton” or any other force-mediating-particle or particle-mediated-force.

One major problem with the standard model, that string theory is attempting to reconcile, is the nonsensical conception of the point-particle. The calculations of the forces between two “particles” become mathematically infinite because they are using the mathematical fantasy of the “point-particle” as their model for the “fundamental particle”. These so-called point-particles are "infinitely" small thus they can approach each other indefinitely, ever increasing their inter-attractive forces without ever touching each other. This is the age-old problem of trying to quantify the continuum, as explained in Zeno’s paradox. If you are going to use point-particles to escape the necessity of physical extension and then use those extensionless particles for explaining phenomena in extended space then you are going to run into problems, because you are trying to marry two separate realms: the non-existent realm of mathematical extensionless points, with the existent realm of physically extended matter. In reality a particle with zero extension can not exist! Its negation is implicit in its own zero-dimensional definition.

To deal with those infinities which are a result of a faulty premise of the point-particle, Physics has invented a trick called “renormalization”, which is simply a method of replacing those errors (infinities) with the correct observational data. It is now common-place to hear physicists speak of “renormalizability” as a necessary component of any correct theory! It has become considered a positive and necessary attribute of any theory!

[[ I recently heard a professor state that renormalizability means that the theory is mathematically consistent!! In fact it means just the opposite. ]]

String theory deals with this problem by giving a pseudo extension to the point-particle and it replaces it with a loop of “string”, a simple mathematical radius, which also possess zero-dimensionality in its width, thus it also does not exist.

Another M-Theory excerpt:
“One of the most remarkable predictions of String Theory is that space-time has ten dimensions!”

Space-time does not have dimension. It is the finite human mind which must compartmentalize nature into the quantifiable parameters called dimension. The M-theorists are concretizing a mental abstraction and tucking it neatly away beneath the quantum level where it can never be seen or experimentally verified. It is a big mistake to base a theory on an unverifiable, misinterpreted and concretized mental-abstraction. Has anyone ever SEEN a dimension or observed its physical actions? That is because there is no such thing as a dimension in the real physical world.

The main problem with modern physics is in the tacit assumption of the atom-in-the-void inherited from the ancient Greeks, the programmed obsession of breaking things down to an ultimate, quantifiable, non-structured thus indivisible particle residing in an intervening void. In contradiction to this atomic schema our experiments reveal that ALL of the so-far revealed/manufactured subatomic particles have deeper level complexities manifested in their wave nature interactions and their fluid inter-convertibility. They are harmonic resonances and fluid-dynamic effects in a continuous medium.

M-theory is a VERY complex method for patching together incorrect Relativity Theory and incomplete Quantum Theory. However, there is a much simpler, more coherent and thus humanly understandable, alternative method for the unification of ALL the disparate forces, but it requires a fundamental paradigm-shift from an underlying overly simplistic kinetic-atomic substrate to a more complex fluid-dynamic-continuum substrate. This shift in foundation from abstract, nonunified and overly-simplistic toward realistic, more complex, holistic and fluid-dynamic--ultimately enables simpler, more coherent higher-level constructions to be built, thus rendering the whole of physics visualizable and thus humanly understandable. With the proper foundation, all of the complex ad-hoc kludges to get the disparate (and desperate ;) compartments of modern physics to fit are rendered superfluous.
 
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  • #6
Hurkyl
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Kaluza and Klein (in the 50's, I believe) had essentially succeeded in unifying classical electromagnetism with gravity.

Kaluza was curious what would happen if he carried out Einstein's reasoning in developing General Relativity, but instead used 4+1 dimensions instead of 3+1 dimensions. (n+1 means n spatial dimensions, 1 time dimension)

Since 3+1 dimensional general relativity was so consistent with observation, Kaluza imposed that his extra dimension should be perfectly perpendicular to the ordinary 4, so that if you "cut away" the extra dimension, you would recover general relativity unchanged. Kaluza then carried out the derivation of the analogue to Einstein's field equations in this 4+1 dimensional space-time, and lo and behold Kaluza discovered that Maxwell's equations of electromagnetism popped out of the math!

Of course, this leaves the problem with just what an extra dimension could mean... Klein reasoned that if this extra dimension was curled up into a really thin loop (in a higher dimensional analogy to a cylinder), then it would look like space as we know it.



On the opposite end of modern physics, quantum physicists were having great success describing the other three forces with gauge theory. For example, electromagnetism could be described with the gauge group U(1); that is one would consider in some particular way functions took values in the transformatino group U(1).

It turns out that U(1) is simply a loop! Suitably abstracting both theories, Kaluza-Klein's derivation of electromagnetism via adding an extra dimension is identical to using a U(1) gauge theory to describe electromagnetism. In general, gauge theory is equivalent to studying higher dimensional surfaces.


Since gravity had resisted all attempts at quantization, the next logical thought was that if the geometrical interpretation worked for unifying classical electromagnetism with gravity, then maybe it would work for the other forces!


So, like mathematicans do whenever two disparate concepts are found to be intimately related, they lift results from each field into the other. In particular, string theorists study higher dimensional spaces, hoping to distill The Standard Model out of the geometry like Kaluza-Klein did with classical electromagnetism. It doesn't matter if the universe really has lots of extra physical dimensions or not; all that matters is that the math is the same.
 
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  • #7
Originally posted by Hurkyl
It doesn't matter if the universe really has lots of extra physical dimensions or not; all that matters is that the math is the same.

And so it doesn't matter if we actually understand reality so long as the math works.

The fact is that we can have both!!!
 
  • #8
Eh
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Mitch,

Have a look at http://www.superstringtheory.com. The site has some nice tutorials on the basic ideas of the theory, and math is optional. It also has a very good forum (just ignore the spam bot kx21) where you can ask questions about aspects of the theory without crackpots hijacking your thread with their nonsense. Neat flash presentation of the big bang as well.
 
  • #9
Originally posted by Eh

...where you can ask questions about aspects of the theory without crackpots hijacking your thread with their nonsense.

Yes how simple that every alternative viewpoint is neatly placed in your box marked "crack pot". What a brilliant method to justify your ignorance.

This is a discussion forum. We are discussing ALL sides of the subject. If you wish a narrow-minded discussion then go to your favorite religious forum where everybody believes the same.

Science evolves through diversity not through stagnation.
 
  • #10
Eh
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For someone who never learned QM or GR, and yet proclaims to have found a better theory, you aren't one to be talking about ignorance.

Yes, this is a discussion. It's a discussion about string theory, not crackpot ideas. There is a very specific forum for that.
 
  • #11
Originally posted by Eh
For someone who never learned QM or GR, and yet proclaims to have found a better theory, you aren't one to be talking about ignorance.


Sorry but I have learned both and I actually know what the equations physically represent.

You don't have to be a quantum accountant to understand quantum theory.
 
  • #12
Eh
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Sorry but I have learned both and I actually know what the equations physically represent.

Your posts here have proven otherwise. Really, this thread is about string theory, not crackpot ideas or conspiracy theories.
 
  • #13
Brad_Ad23
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Agreed. I believe it was Chroot who demonstrated you did not know what the Einstein equation was in some other thread.



anyways, one of the interesting areas of research going on now is in the holographic principle. We are starting to see that what may be described as strings for example in a 5d anti-de Sitter spacetime can be represented as plain old vanilla conformal fields in 4d spacetime (speak of the devil, I see my new issue of Sci American has the cover story about just this topic). So it will be interesting to see what developments come out of that.
 
  • #14
Originally posted by Brad_Ad23
Agreed. I believe it was Chroot who demonstrated you did not know what the Einstein equation was in some other thread.


Right, I am not a QM or GR accountant nor am I an astro-navigator near a space-hole (which don't exist) so the equations are not as important as the deeper understanding itself.

anyways, one of the interesting areas of research going on now is in the holographic principle.

What is the "holographic principal"?
 
  • #15
Originally posted by Eh
Your posts here have proven otherwise.

Proven that there is a vast difference between the theories which you do not understand.

Really, this thread is about string theory, not crackpot ideas or conspiracy theories.

Ok so I have presented the other side of the debate about string theory. If you have a problem with what I have said then address it directly instead of this ad hominem nonsense.
 
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  • #17
Eh
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What ad hominem? You are the one who jumped in and started defending crackpots, with the usual excuses. If you want to start claiming ignorance is the reason why your theory is ignored, you should at least know what you're talking about first.

Judging by this post:

It has all these 32 some odd dimensions (which do not exist in reality) precisely because of the unnecessary and incompatable complexity in standard model.

You haven't bothered to learn anything about string theory either, right? Nevermind math, just try to get the basic idea correct. You could also actually read the quotes from websites you post.
 
  • #18
Brad_Ad23
502
1
Whoa, even I missed him saying that. 32????? Last I checked it was 10 to 11.
 
  • #19
Lol...

Did you guys neglect to read the first post in this thread? I'll paste it below for you:

"Can someone please define for me what is meant by string theory and what the significance of it is and why, according to stephen hawkins, it would take 32 dimension to permit the existence of such a phenomenon."

I have studied string theory in the past and for a time was actually quite interested in it, as of now I simply have no need for it so I don't keep up on how many hypothetical dimensions they currently need to patch the incorrect theories together. The mathematical details of a faulty theory are quite pointless to me. But to each his own.
 
  • #20
Eh
746
1
You've studied it, yet you don't see a problem with the claim it requires 32 dimensions, as opposed to 26 and 10? Right, and I'm the president of the United States.
 
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  • #21
Originally posted by Eh
What ad hominem? You are the one who jumped in and started defending crackpots...


You answered your own question.


If you want to start claiming ignorance is the reason why your theory is ignored

?? you are talking in circles and misunderstanding everything I am saying. I am saying that clinging to a theory in spite of the falsifications of that theory and instead of searching for an actual understanding is what stops you from hearing what I am saying.

You are simply another defender of the faith.

%99 of the Universe consists of a mysterious substance called "dark matter/energy" yet you believe and have faith that your theory is absolutely correct and you have no need to even understand any other theory. That is hubris.
 
  • #22
Originally posted by Eh
You've studied it, yet you don't see a problem with the claim it requires 32 dimensions? Right, and I'm the president of the United States.

I did not make any such claim. I was responding to the original poster who was saying that Stephen Hawking had made such a claim.

I don't really care how many hypothetical entities they have to invent to save their theory, Mr. President.
 
  • #23
Eh
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Originally posted by subtillioN
You answered your own question.

When is it in ad hominem to tell a poster that crackpots are absent from a specific forum?

?? you are talking in circles and misunderstanding everything I am saying.

You aren't saying anything meaningful. You are simply attacking theories you haven't even bothered to learn.

I am saying that clinging to a theory in spite of the falsifications of that theory and instead of searching for an actual understanding is what stops you from hearing what I am saying.

Wow, so GR and QM have been falsified? It's amazing how you are able to see facts that physicists are apparently missing. But again, you would have to know what GR and QM actually are about before being able to make any honest statements about them.

You are simply another defender of the faith.

Why, because I don't buy into your drivel? Actually, I've got no problems with new ideas, alternative theories or such. My gripe isn't with the alternative ideas, it's with posters who claim a current theory (like GR) is wrong without even knowing what the said theory is. This is exactly what you are doing, attacking theories without even having a clue as to what the theory actual says. Such intellectual garbage does not help anyone hoping to learn something about a certain theory.

%99 of the Universe consists of a mysterious substance called "dark matter/energy" yet you believe and have faith that your theory is absolutely correct and you have no need to even understand any other theory. That is hubris.

So energy is a substance now? And no one is saying everything current theories are absolutely correct. Get a clue.
 
  • #24
Eh
746
1
Originally posted by subtillioN
I did not make any such claim. I was responding to the original poster who was saying that Stephen Hawking had made such a claim.

To which you replied: "It has all these 32 some odd dimensions (which do not exist in reality) precisely because of the unnecessary and incompatable complexity in standard model."

So it seems you have "studied" string theory as much as you've studied GR.
 
  • #25
Mentat
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People, please stop with the personal remarks.

Anyway, there is no way that String Theory could require 32 dimensions, since it's hyperspacial mathematics is based on the work of that Indian (dots not feathers) whose name I can't remember (the one that re-invented all of mathematics from a paper that he found), and these equations always yield the answer 8 or the answer 24, these are taken up by two, in order to fit reality (I don't really remember why...time to break out the old textbooks again :smile:), but these are always the conclusions. In fact, that Indian dude (I'm gonna soon, if I don't remember his name... ) used to have dreams about those two numbers (8 and 24).

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

LONG LIVE M-THEORY!!!
 
  • #26
Originally posted by Eh
When is it in ad hominem to tell a poster that crackpots are absent from a specific forum?


To call someone a crackpot is an ad hominem especially considering that you don't know the theory I am talking about.

You aren't saying anything meaningful. You are simply attacking theories you haven't even bothered to learn.

I HAVE learned them.


Wow, so GR and QM have been falsified?

Yes by the fact that they are incompatible with each other and with reality itself and that it takes far too many hypothetical dimensions to incorrectly patch them together.

My gripe isn't with the alternative ideas, it's with posters who claim a current theory (like GR) is wrong without even knowing what the said theory is.

I know what GR is and what it isn't. GR isn't wrong it is just misunderstood. It is SR that is wrong.

This is exactly what you are doing, attacking theories without even having a clue as to what the theory actual says. Such intellectual garbage does not help anyone hoping to learn something about a certain theory.

I made valid criticisms about string theory. If you think they are invalid then please by all means demonstrate their invalidity. ((and the exact number of dimensions is not part of my criticism.))

So energy is a substance now? And no one is saying everything current theories are absolutely correct. Get a clue.

I don't think energy is a substance and I don't think dark matter is one either. It simply demonstrates the incorrectness of the theory.

Yet another ignored falsification.
 
  • #27
Mentat
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Ramanujan. I think that's it (the name of the Indian). What, no applause? Oh well, a personal victory then .
 
  • #28
Mentat
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subtillion, I'd like to not take sides in your personal argument here, but the supposed "counter" to string theory, that you posted on the first page of this thread, contained a lot of ridiculous flaws. A few that I can remember are:

1) It said that GR didn't explain gravity, but just gave us an analogy of the rubber-sheet. This is entirely false, as General Relativity is a mathematically sound theory of gravity itself, and gives a perfectly reasonable explanation.

2) (And this is probably the worse one) it actually says that there are no dimensions, but that is something the human mind has invented. I don't know who wrote this originally, but they obviously have no understanding of theoretical physics.

3) It said that the idea of point-particles is utterly nonsensical, when, in fact, Quantum theorists have been using it for decades.

4) It said that the purpose of String Theory was to get rid of the ridiculous point-particles, which would make String Theory a reductionist theory, when - in fact - it is both as reductionist as the Standard Model, and as holisitic as General Relativity (taken up a few dimensions).
 
  • #29
Hi Mentat,

Originally posted by Mentat
1) It said that GR didn't explain gravity, but just gave us an analogy of the rubber-sheet. This is entirely false, as General Relativity is a mathematically sound theory of gravity itself, and gives a perfectly reasonable explanation.


There are two types of explanation confused here. There is causal explanation and mathematical description. I was specifically refering to a causal explanation. GR does not give the causal mechanism of gravity. This is what the search for quantum gravity et al is all about.

2) (And this is probably the worse one) it actually says that there are no dimensions, but that is something the human mind has invented. I don't know who wrote this originally, but they obviously have no understanding of theoretical physics.

I wrote it. Dimension is a method of measurement and quantification. You can quantify space in many different dimensional systems. Physical reality does not contain dimension whatsoever. Do you think that science has really ever observed a dimension?

And so assuming that dimensions are actually physical things is to make an unnecessary and baseless assumption.

3) It said that the idea of point-particles is utterly nonsensical, when, in fact, Quantum theorists have been using it for decades.

And this is exactly why quantum physics cannot explain the causality beneath their probability equations!!!

The point-particle assumption (as an explanation of the quantum reaction) is the direct cause of the uncertainty relations and Born's probability interpretations of Schrodinger's (et al) wave equations.

4) It said that the purpose of String Theory was to get rid of the ridiculous point-particles, which would make String Theory a reductionist theory, when - in fact - it is both as reductionist as the Standard Model, and as holisitic as General Relativity (taken up a few dimensions).

Well I don't recall saying that. I thought I said that the purpose was to patch the two incompatable theories together. Giving an extension to the point-particles to solve the infinities and focusing on wave-harmonics (even though it is completely abstracted from any physical reality whatsoever) are examples of steps in the right direction for string theory.
 
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  • #30
Hurkyl
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GR does not give the causal mechanism of gravity. This is what the search for quantum gravity et al is all about.

What's wrong with "Stress-energy warps space"? And incidentally, the search for quantum gravity is about unifying gravity with the other three forces.


Physical reality does not contain dimension whatsoever. Do you think that science has really ever observed a dimension?

No less so than observing a cloud or a force.


The point-particle assumption (as an explanation of the quantum reaction) is the direct cause of the uncertainty relations and Born's probability interpretations of Schrodinger's (et al) wave equations.

No. The point-particle definition was prompted from the fact that a particular property of a wavefunction (average, I think) has many of the properties of the ideal classical point particle (or the ideal relativistic point particle in relativistic QM)
 
  • #31
Eh
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Originally posted by subtillioN
To call someone a crackpot is an ad hominem especially considering that you don't know the theory I am talking about.

It has nothing to do with your theory. Attacking theories you haven't learned is what earns one the title of crackpot. Note that crank will also suffice. It's like a creationist coming here and claiming evolution is wrong, even though they couldn't tell you what the theory actually is.

I HAVE learned them.

So you've learned these mathematical models without math. Impressive.
But wait. If you understand the conceptual aspect of say GR, without it, why do you ask questions like "how can nothingness be curved?" and make statements like "space is just abstract"? Statements like those show a. you do not understand the physical meaning of the theory and b. you haven't put much thought into it at all.

A little more intellectual honesty on your part would make your posts here more productive.

Yes by the fact that they are incompatible with each other and with reality itself and that it takes far too many hypothetical dimensions to incorrectly patch them together.

Uh huh, they are incompatible with each other. So let's just throw them away and forget about the fact that they have both had a lot of experimental sucess, right?

I made valid criticisms about string theory.

No, you simply displayed that you never bothered to learn basic geometry either. Arguing that there is no such thing as a dimension based on an ignorance of geometry is not a very convincing argument against string theory.

I don't think energy is a substance and I don't think dark matter is one either. It simply demonstrates the incorrectness of the theory.

Yet another ignored falsification.

What theory is falsified here?
 
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  • #32
Originally posted by Eh
It has nothing to do with your theory. Attacking theories you haven't learned is what earns one the title of crackpot. Note that crank will also suffice.


I am not interested in defending myself against your personal unwarrented and incorrect attacks. If you wish to debate the actual content of my posts unstead of making baseless claims and calling me names then I will be glad to discuss it.

Otherwise my posts are simply not for you and just go ahead and ignore them like a civil human being.
 
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  • #33
Hurkyl
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I am not interested in defending myself against your personal unwarrented and incorrect attacks.

And what does that have to do with the post you quoted?
 
  • #34
Originally posted by Hurkyl
What's wrong with "Stress-energy warps space"?


It is waaaay too abstract and far from a causal explanation. Can you give an explanation of how mass (or "stress-energy" whateverthatmeans) warps space?

And incidentally, the search for quantum gravity is about unifying gravity with the other three forces.

Obviously, but this cannot be achieved without understanding gravity first.


No less so than observing a cloud or a force.

We have observed clouds directly, but the forces of Physics are abstract as well, but still not as purely quantitative as is a dimension.

No. The point-particle definition was prompted from the fact that a particular property of a wavefunction (average, I think) has many of the properties of the ideal classical point particle (or the ideal relativistic point particle in relativistic QM)

It was an incorrect interpretation of the quantum reaction of a light wave or an electric field to a responding atom.
 
  • #35
Originally posted by Hurkyl
And what does that have to do with the post you quoted?

you can figure it out
 

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