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  1. Mar 28, 2004 #1


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    The debate:
    "By 2020, no one will have won a Nobel Prize for work on superstring theory, membrane theory, or some other unified theory describing all the forces of nature."

    View the Argument here > Kaku is the Challenger and $1000 bucks is at stake!

    John Horgan
    author, The End of Science and The Undiscovered Mind
    SEEMS TO AGREE and puts $1000.00 ON THE TABLE

    Dr. Kaku > The Almighty Challenger seems to DISAGREE
    Lets read his statement on why he he disagrees:

    "It is often forgotten that physics is mainly done indirectly. Thus, we know that the sun is made of hydrogen gas, yet no one has ever visited the sun. We know that black holes exist in space, yet they are invisible by definition. We know that the Big Bang took place approximately 15 billion years ago, yet no one was there to witness it. We know these things, because we have indirect evidence or "echoes", such as sunlight and characteristic radiation from black holes and Creation. Likewise, you do not need to build an atom smasher the size of the galaxy to prove string theory or M-theory (the leading and, in fact, only candidate for a "theory of everything). Instead, we need to look for echoes from the 10th and 11th dimensions as follows: a) Within a few years, the Large Hadron Collider, the largest atom smasher on earth, will be turned on outside Geneva, Switzerland. It might be able to find "sparticles" or super particles, i.e. higher vibrations or octaves of the superstring. b) Invisible dark matter, which makes up 90% of the matter in the universe, might be shown to consist of sparticles like the photino. This might also verify string theory. c) In this decade, gravity wave detectors should be able to record shock waves from colliding black holes, which might reveal the first quantum corrrection to Einstein's original theory of 1915. These quantum corrections can be compared to those predicted by string theory. d) Within 20 years, NASA plans to send three gravity wave detectors into outer space. They should be sensitive enough to pick up the shock waves from the Big Bang itself created a fraction of a second after the instant of creation. This should be able to prove or disprove string theory. Personally, I feel no need to prove the theory experimentally, since I believe it can be proven using pure mathematics. A theory of everything is also a theory of everyday energies, where we find familar electrons, protons, and atoms. If we can solve the theory mathematically, then we should be able to calculate the properties of electrons, protons, and atoms from pure mathematics. If the results disagree with known data, then string theory will be shown to be a "theory of nothing." However, if the numbers agree, then it will be heralded as the greatest achievement of the human mind. We will have "read the mind of God." So what prevents us from simply solving the theory and comparing the results with nature? The problem is that the theory is smarter than we are. No one on this planet is smart enough to solve this theory. The smartest people on earth are working on this problem, and have so far failed. (This is because the theory was discovered purely by accident in 1968. We were never supposed to see this theory in the 20th century. The mathematics necessary to solve the theory have not yet been discovered.) Because string theory has near-miraculous breakthroughs every 8 to 10 years, we can expect 2 more breakthroughs in the theory before 2020, and hence might be able to solve this theory by then. Perhaps someone reading this bet will be inspired to mathematically solve this theory completely. Maybe that person will then receive a telephone call from Sweden."

    Nicely done.
    Im with Kaku on this one!

    All Best,

    Michael Phillips (Ebe)
    Hyperspace Productions, Inc.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 29, 2004 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Very interesting discussion there of the bet and the possibilities. I noticed Peter Woit was there with his point of view. This seems to be the year everybody hits on string physics, and my personal take is that neither side has well-based arguments. It's like arguments for and against Hegel's dialectic. Maybe both sides are wrong!
  4. Mar 29, 2004 #3
    Someone will win the Nobel Prize for Unified Field Theory, but not string theory

    So, if the bet includes any winning in any kind Unified Field Theory? But string theory will fail. Then how could one vote in this condition?
    Anyway, it's interesting.
  5. Mar 29, 2004 #4
    Is String Theory Even Wrong?

    Just wanted to post some of the comments of Peter Woit in regards to stringtheory

    For nearly 18 years now, most advanced mathematical work in theoretical particle physics has centered on something known as string theory. This theory is built on the idea that elementary particles are not pointlike objects but are the vibration modes of one-dimensional "stringlike" entities. This formulation hopes to do away with certain lingering problems in fundamental particle physics and to offer the possibility of soon explaining all physical phenomenaýeverything from neutrinos to black holesýwith a single theory. Fifteen years ago Edward Witten of the Institute for Advanced Study made the widely quoted claim that "string theory is a part of 21st-century physics that fell by chance into the 20th century," so perhaps it is now time to begin judging the success or failure of this new way of thinking about particle physics.

  6. Mar 29, 2004 #5
    In 2020?

    9. Did quarks turn out to be elementary or composite? If composite, did the candidates for their constituents turn out to be elementary or composite? Or do you have a better way of looking at these phenomena? What, indeed, is the lifetime of the nucleus of the hydrogen atom?

    If string theory is already a better way of looking at these phenomena, the question may be partly answered. Maybe a better way to phrase it is this: What energy scales have you been able to reach, and have you observed new structure all along the way, or have things finally started to simplify, as people once innocently expected that they would?

  7. Mar 29, 2004 #6
    String theory sounds a little too much like repackaged "wavicle" theory to me... but what do I know?

    How can anything, point or not, pass for an absolute... if there's more than one of them?

    An absolute IS what we're looking for... right?
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