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Searching for a string explanation

  1. Jul 13, 2003 #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.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 13, 2003 #2
    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.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2003
  4. Jul 13, 2003 #3


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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.
  5. Jul 13, 2003 #4
    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.
  6. Jul 13, 2003 #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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  7. Jul 13, 2003 #6


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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.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2003
  8. Jul 13, 2003 #7
    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!!!
  9. Jul 14, 2003 #8


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    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.
  10. Jul 14, 2003 #9
    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.
  11. Jul 14, 2003 #10


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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.
  12. Jul 14, 2003 #11

    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.
  13. Jul 14, 2003 #12


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    Your posts here have proven otherwise. Really, this thread is about string theory, not crackpot ideas or conspiracy theories.
  14. Jul 14, 2003 #13
    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.
  15. Jul 14, 2003 #14

    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.

    What is the "holographic principal"?
  16. Jul 14, 2003 #15
    Proven that there is a vast difference between the theories which you do not understand.

    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.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2003
  17. Jul 14, 2003 #16
  18. Jul 14, 2003 #17


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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:

    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.
  19. Jul 14, 2003 #18
    Whoa, even I missed him saying that. 32????? Last I checked it was 10 to 11.
  20. Jul 14, 2003 #19

    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.
  21. Jul 14, 2003 #20


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    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.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2003
  22. Jul 14, 2003 #21

    You answered your own question.

    ?? 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.
  23. Jul 14, 2003 #22
    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.
  24. Jul 14, 2003 #23


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

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

    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.

    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.

    So energy is a substance now? And no one is saying everything current theories are absolutely correct. Get a clue.
  25. Jul 14, 2003 #24


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    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.
  26. Jul 14, 2003 #25
    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:

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