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String Theory Rundown

  1. Aug 7, 2009 #1
    Would someone please give me the rundown on the String Theory? I have The Elegant Universe novel and I've been stressing to understand this theory but I've hit a few dead ends. Could someone please enlighten me? Thank you kindly
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 7, 2009 #2
    You have 'a few' dead ends? Please try to be more specific. If you want some general introduction on string theory you're better off checking out wikipedia or sites like http://www.superstringtheory.com/

    Feel free to ask more specific questions after that :)
  4. Aug 7, 2009 #3
    Ok, I've read the basics. But I have a few questions. What is the purpose of the Superstring Theory? Like what is it trying to prove?
  5. Aug 7, 2009 #4
    I think there is a slight problem for any layman who wants to understand string theory. The problem lies in that string theorists themselves are not sure exactly how string theory relates to the rest of physics. The story that seems to be unraveling itself is that string theory is a dual way of looking at the world. But because it is dual to our other understanding of the world( like QFT's) and even to itself( dual to other theories) it becomes very hard to know what any given string theory is actually describing. Of coarse eventually progress will be made and indeed is being made(AdS/CFT) so we can start to relate string theory to physics we understand well. Certainly it is this aspect of duality that makes string theory seem more and more appealing to people like me. I think the consequence of these dualities might be that string theory is not so much as a physical theory as a framework in which we can understand different aspects of physics.
  6. Aug 7, 2009 #5
    If you have a problem with quantum field theories of point particles, strings are one next possible option with the attractive features of being beautiful and rather robust mathematically. Historically string theory received attention as a model for hadrons, before QCD. Although work declined with the discovery of asymptotic freedom of QCD, suitable to describe quarks inside hadrons, people like Schwarz and Scherk realized that string theory could do much more than just describing hadrons, it provided a theory for quantum gravity. Today, string theory is the leading option to construct unified theories of all interactions.
  7. Aug 7, 2009 #6
    Finbar, I think that's why I had a hard time understanding it(it's hard to relate the string theory to proven physics, if you will). But I think I'm beginning to come around to the concept. Thank you all
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