This list is a HEP-sociology indicator of the highest importance because citation counts indicate the value placed on research by the researchers themselves. http://www.slac.stanford.edu/spires/topcites/2009/annual.shtml If a class of papers loses citation-count standing in the overall Spires HEP (high energy physics) category it indicates a loss of significance as perceived by the research community. Of particular interest are the recent papers---those which appeared in the past 5 years period 2005-2009. Over the course of several years I have been keeping track of the current citation rate of recent string papers. The current top-50 list used to contain a dozen or so recent string papers, and many were near the top of the list. Like in the top ten of the top fifty. However this has declined somewhat--a downward trend beginning around 2003. In 2008 there were only 4 recent string papers and they were near the bottom of the list. The "hot" papers in Spires high energy physics (HEP) category tended to be in other areas. This sort of thing could include some random ups and downs. It is not clear what to expect. I have not yet looked at the 2009 list, and I shall do so now. I will extract the recent (2005-2009) string papers from the list ranked by current (2009) citations. Well, I see only two, and I am not sure the "theory of dark matter" paper is actually stringy, although Nima used formerly to be active as a string theorist. For example see http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0601001 . 30. 225 A Theory of Dark Matter By Nima Arkani-Hamed (Princeton, Inst. Advanced Study), Douglas P. Finkbeiner (Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. Astrophys.), Tracy R. Slatyer (Harvard U., Phys. Dept.), Neal Weiner (CCPP, New York U.). Published in:Phys.Rev.D79:015014,2009 (arXiv:0810.0713 [hep-ph]) [276 Total citations in HEP] 33. 222 N=6 superconformal Chern-Simons-matter theories, M2-branes and their gravity duals By Ofer Aharony (Weizmann Inst.), Oren Bergman (Princeton, Inst. Advanced Study & Technion), Daniel Louis Jafferis (Rutgers U., Piscataway), Juan Maldacena (Princeton, Inst. Advanced Study). Published in:JHEP 0810:091,2008 (arXiv:0806.1218 [hep-th]) [401 Total citations in HEP] Yes i looked at the Nima paper and it is totally non-string. I'm getting to be a fan of Nima's---recently he has said some things I think very sensible. Like in November 2008 at a Princeton conference he said not to expect string to give useful information about fundamental particle theory. The speakers were basically torpedoing the multiverse-stringlandscape business and he shared the common view to a surprising extent. Forget it as an avenue to unification. So there is only ONE recent stringy paper on the 2009-cites top-50 list---and it is number 33. Back in the glory days one would have expected a dozen or so, with several standing near the top. Let's look at the one that made the cut: http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0806.1218 N=6 superconformal Chern-Simons-matter theories, M2-branes and their gravity duals Ofer Aharony, Oren Bergman, Daniel Louis Jafferis, Juan Maldacena 41 pages, 4 figures. (Submitted on 6 Jun 2008) "We construct three dimensional Chern-Simons-matter theories with gauge groups U(N)xU(N) and SU(N)xSU(N) which have explicit N=6 superconformal symmetry. Using brane constructions we argue that the U(N)xU(N) theory at level k describes the low energy limit of N M2-branes probing a C^4/Z_k singularity. At large N the theory is then dual to M theory on AdS_4xS^7/Z_k. The theory also has a 't Hooft limit (of large N with a fixed ratio N/k) which is dual to type IIA string theory on AdS_4xCP^3. For k=1 the theory is conjectured to describe N M2-branes in flat space, although our construction realizes explicitly only six of the eight supersymmetries. We give some evidence for this conjecture, which is similar to the evidence for mirror symmetry in d=3 gauge theories. When the gauge group is SU(2)xSU(2) our theory has extra symmetries and becomes identical to the Bagger-Lambert theory." I think this is the sort of thing Hermann Nicolai referred to at the July 2009 Planck Scale conference when he noted that "string phenomenology is becoming increasingly Baroque, if you follow the literature".