Thursday, 9 July 2009

String Theory

String Theory:
Another recent attempt to form a TOE is through M (for membrane) or string theory.
String theory is actually a high order theory where other models, such as supergravity
and quantum gravity, appear as approximations. The basic premise to string theory is
that subatomic entities, such as quarks and forces, are actually tiny loops, strings and
membranes that behave as particles at high energies.

One of the problems in particle physics is the bewildering number of elementary
particles (muons and pions and mesons etc). String theory answers this problem by
proposing that small loops, about 100 billion billion times smaller than the proton, are
vibrating below the subatomic level and each mode of vibration represents a distinct
resonance which corresponds to a particular particle. Thus, if we could magnify a
quantum particle we would see a tiny vibrating string or loop.
The fantastic aspect to string theory, that makes it such an attractive candidate for a
TOE, is that it not only explains the nature of quantum particles but it also explains
spacetime as well. Strings can break into smaller strings or combine to form larger
strings. This complicated set of motions must obey self-consistent rules and the the
constraint caused by these rules results in the same relations described by relativity
Another aspect of string theory that differs from other TOE candidates is its high
aesthetic beauty. For string theory is a geometric theory, one that, like general
relativity, describes objects and interactions through the use of geometry and does not
suffer from infinites or what is called normalization problems such as quantum
mechanics. It may be impossible to test the predictions of string theory since it would
require temperature and energies similar to those at the beginning of the Universe.
Thus, we resort to judging the merit of this theory on its elegance and internal
consistence rather than experiment data.

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