Silly super strings
June 11, 2003 7:16 PM   Subscribe

The official String Theory website. Fo' all your supa string needs.
posted by slipperywhenwet (11 comments total)
Perhaps this Super String Theory is a bit more plausible...

Or maybe this one
posted by GT_RULES at 7:37 PM on June 11, 2003

Not that I'm qualified, but I am getting the sense that physics and cosmology are due for some big changes. As I understand it, most physicists are skeptical of string theory, and nothing else seems to be a strong candidate for a 'theory of everything'. Meanwhile, the standard model of cosmology seems to require hypotheses of an increasingly ad hoc character (dark matter, reviving the cosmological constant, parallel universes) to hold together. Perhaps we are close to some big Kuhnian paradigm shift in physics?

Well, as I say, I am nothing but an occasional consumer of popular science articles. No one has a prayer of understanding this stuff without a lot more math than I have, anyway. Also, I loathe even mentioning Kuhn, whose work has been appropriated into a buzzword for all kinds of facile skepticism about science. But it seems like the time is ripe for some genius to step forward with a revolutionary theory. Easier said than done of course.
posted by crunchburger at 8:32 PM on June 11, 2003

crunch, that's interesting, I've been getting the exact opposite feeling. Although I'm also at the popular science level, the general sense I've gathered is that the new generation of experimental results, like the recent high resolution survey of the cosmic background radiation [hmm.. can't seem to find a link w. google. Anyone have a url?] have been nicely falling in line with theoretical predictions. But I guess we'll just have to see what kind of consensus develops.
posted by slipperywhenwet at 9:18 PM on June 11, 2003

Cosmic Background from the Scientific American (with some more links). I'm with crunch though, what's making me uneasy is the multiplication of entities - eight invisible dimensions, infinite unreachable parallel universes, a whole new previously unobserved fundamental force - the mathematicians are in control and the result is unintelligible and counterintuitive. Always makes me think of deferents and epicycles
posted by grahamwell at 2:57 AM on June 12, 2003

infinite unreachable parallel universes

The level I multiverse has been pretty well-accepted for decades; it's nothing other than a single infinite universe, really, with most areas unreachable as a consequence of relativity.

Anway, the standard model isn't really gospel anymore; here's an article from this month's Scientifi American on the standard model being surpassed, if not exactly overturned.


It may be counterintuitive, but inelegent the New Physics is not.
posted by Tlogmer at 3:02 AM on June 12, 2003


Blasted spelling. While I'm double posting, I might as well link to the previous multiverse discussion.
posted by Tlogmer at 3:04 AM on June 12, 2003

Quantum theory is also counterintuitive but it's pretty well accepted now. While that's not to say that something better won't replace it one day, that something isn't terribly likely to be any less weird, at least to the lay person, IMHO.
posted by Nick Jordan at 3:25 AM on June 12, 2003

Tlogmer, that SciAm article cuts into subscription land just as it's getting interesting. What does it say?
posted by grahamwell at 3:50 AM on June 12, 2003

I'm sure it's been mentioned before somewhere on MeFi (it's on the main link of this thread too, buried), but for an excellent overview of string theory, I highly recommend The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene, a Columbia physicist. I saw him talk once at my university, and he came off as kind of a prick (as if he didn't have time for me, being an undergraduate), but the book is brilliant and pretty understandable for laymen.
posted by The Michael The at 6:19 AM on June 12, 2003

the mathematicians are in control and the result is unintelligible and counterintuitive. Always makes me think of deferents and epicycles


Or to quote McKenna,

"If you can't comprehend the accepted concept of reality, then what good is it?"

I'm much more a believer the 64 hexagrams of infinity :)
posted by velacroix at 6:28 PM on June 12, 2003

Oops; I probably should have scrolled down before copying the URL. Basically, the article outlined the possibilities for a new theory to surpass the Standard model in the same (or similar) ways relativity surpassed newtonian gravitation, the old theory remaining accurate as a special case within the new.
posted by Tlogmer at 6:55 PM on June 12, 2003

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