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    Table of Contents
    .......The Elegant Universe
    THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE, Brian Greene, 1999, 2003
    ```(annotated and with added bold highlights by Epsilon=One)
    Notes: Chapters 1 through 15
    More Dimensions Than Meet the Eye

    Chapter 2
    5. (Ending)~~
    a kind of relativistic visual illusion in which the object will appear both foreshortened and rotated. Return to Text

    6. For the mathematically inclined reader, we note that from the spacetime position 4-vector x -= (ct, x1, x2, x3) (ct, x) we can produce the velocity 4-vector u = dx/dtau, where tau is the proper time defined by dtau= dt – c-(dx1+ dx2 + dx3). Then, the "speed through spacetime" is the magnitude of the 4-vector u, V((cdt– dx)/(dt– c-dx)), which is identically the speed of light, c. Now, we can rearrange the equation c(dt/dtau) – (dx/dtau) = c, to be c(dtau/dt) + (dx/dt) = c. This shows that an increase in an object's speed through space, V(dx/dt) must be accompanied by a decrease in dt/dt, the latter being the object's speed through time (the rate at which time elapses on its own clock, dtau, as compared with that on our stationary clock, dt). Return to Text

    Chapter 3
    1. Isaac Newton, Sir Isaac Newton's Mathematical Principle of Natural Philosophy and His System of the World, trans. A. Motte and Florian Cajori (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1962), Vol. I, p. 634. Return to Text

    2. A bit more precisely, Einstein realized that the equivalence principle holds so long as your observations are confined to a small enough region of space—that is, so long as your "compartment" is small enough. The reason is the following. Gravitational fields can vary in strength (and in direction) from place to place. But we are imagining that your whole compartment accelerates as a single unit and therefore your acceleration simulates a single, uniform gravitational force field. As your compartment gets ever smaller, though, there is ever less room over which a gravitational field can vary, and hence the equivalence principle becomes ever more applicable. Technically, the difference between the uniform gravitational field simulated by an accelerated vantage point and a possibly nonuniform "real" gravitational field created by some collection of massive bodies is known as the "tidal" gravitational field (since it accounts for the moon's gravitational effect on tides on earth). This endnote, therefore, can be summarized by saying that tidal gravitational fields become less noticeable as the size of your compartment gets smaller, making accelerated motion and a "real" gravitational field indistinguishable. Return to Text

    3. Albert Einstein, as quoted in Albrecht Folsing, Albert Einstein (New York: Viking, 1997), p. 315. Return to Text

    4. John Stachel, "Einstein and the Rigidly Rotating Disk," in General Relativity and Gravitation, ed. A. Held (New York: Plenum, 1980), p. 1. Return to Text

    5. Analysis of the Tornado ride, or the "rigidly rotating disk," as it is called in more technical language, easily leads to confusion. In fact, to this day there is not universal agreement on a number of subtle aspects of this example. In the text we have followed the spirit of Einstein's own analysis, and in this endnote we continue to take this viewpoint and seek to clarify a couple of features that you may have found confusing.

    First, you may be puzzled about why the circumference of the ride is not Lorentz contracted in exactly the same way as the ruler, and hence measured by Slim to have the same length as we originally found. Bear in mind, though, that throughout our discussion the ride was always spinning; we never analyzed the ride when it was at rest. Thus, from our perspective as stationary observers, the only difference between our and Slim's measurement of the ride's circumference is that Slim's ruler is Lorentz contracted; the spinning Tornado ride was spinning when we performed our measurement, and it is spinning as we watch Slim carry out his. Since we see that his ruler is contracted, we realize that he will have to lay it out more times to traverse the entire circumference, thereby measuring a longer length than we did. Lorentz contraction of the ride's circumference would have been relevant only if we compared the properties of the ride when spinning and when at rest, but this is a comparison we did not need.

    Second, notwithstanding the fact that we did not need to analyze the ride when it was at rest, you may still be wondering about what would happen when it does slow down and stop. Now, it would seem, we must take account of the changing circumference with changing speed due to different degrees of Lorentz contraction. But how can this he squared with an unchanging radius? This is a subtle problem whose resolution hinges on the fact that there are no fully rigid objects in the real world. Objects can stretch and bend and thereby accommodate the stretching or contracting we have come upon; if not, as Einstein pointed out, a rotating disk that was initially formed by allowing a spinning cast of molten metal to cool while in motion would break apart if its rate of spinning were subsequently changed. For more details on the history of the rigidly rotating disk, see Stachel, "Einstein and the Rigidly Rotating Disk." Return to Text

    6. The expert reader will recognize that in the example of the Tornado ride, that is, in the case of a uniformly rotating frame of reference, the curved three-dimensional spatial sections on which we have focused fit together into a four-dimensional spacetime whose curvature still vanishes. Return to Text

    7. Hermann Minkowski, as quoted in Folsing, Albert Einstein, p. 189. Return to Text

    8. Interview with John Wheeler, January 27, 1998. Return to Text

    9. Even so, existing atomic clocks are sufficiently accurate to detect such tiny and even tinier—time warps. For instance, in 1976 Robert Vessot and Martin Levine of the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, together with collaboraters at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), launched a Scout D rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia, that carried an atomic clock accurate to about a trillionth of a second per hour. They hoped to show that as the rocket gained altitude (thereby decreasing the effect of the earth's gravitational pull), an identical earthbound atomic clock (still subject to the full force of the earth's gravity) would tick more slowly. Through a two-way stream of microwave signals, the researchers were able to compare the rate of ticking of the two atomic clocks and, indeed, at the rocket's maximum altitude of 6,000 miles, its atomic clock ran fast by about 4 parts per billion relative to its counterpart on earth, agreeing with theoretical predictions to better than a hundredth of a percent. Return to Text

    10. In the mid-1800s, the French scientist Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier discovered that the planet Mercury deviates slightly from the orbit around the sun that is predicted by Newton's law of gravity. For more than half a century, explanations for this so-called excess orbital perihelion precession (in plain language, at the end of each orbit, Mercury does not quite wind up where Newton's theory says it should) ran the gamut—the gravitational influence of an undiscovered planet or planetary ring, an undiscovered moon, the effect of interplanetary dust, the oblateness of the sun—but none was sufficiently compelling to win general acceptance. In 1915, Einstein calculated the perihelion precession of Mercury using his newfound equations of general relativity and found an answer that, by his own admission, gave him heart palpitations: The result from general relativity precisely matched observations. This success, certainly, was one significant reason that Einstein had such faith in his theory, but most everyone else awaited confirmation of a prediction, rather than an explanation of a previously known anomaly. For more details, see Abraham Pais, Subtle Is the Lord (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), p. 253. Return to Text

    11. Robert P. Crease and Charles C. Mann, The Second Creation (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1996), p. 39. Return to Text

    12. Surprisingly, recent research on the detailed rate of cosmic expansion suggests that the universe may in fact incorporate a very small but nonzero cosmological constant. Return to Text

    Chapter 4
    1. Richard Feynman, The Character of Physical Law (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1965), p. 129. Return to Text

    2. Although Planck's work did solve the infinite energy puzzle, apparently this goal was not what directly motivated his work. Rather, Planck was seeking to understand a closely related issue: the experimental results concerning how energy in a hot oven—a "black body" to be more precise—is distributed over various wavelength ranges. For more details on the history of these developments, the interested reader should consult Thomas S. Kuhn, Black-Body Theory and the Quantum Discontinuity, 1894-1912 (Oxford, Eng.: Clarendon, 1978). Return to Text

    3. A little more precisely, Planck showed that waves whose minimum energy content exceeds their purported average energy contribution (according to nineteenth-century thermodynamics) are exponentially suppressed. This suppression is increasingly sharp as we examine waves of ever larger frequency. Return to Text

    4. Planck's constant is 1.05 x 10^-27 grams-centimeters/second. Return to Text

    5. Timothy Ferris, Corning of Age in the Milky Way (New York: Anchor, 1989), 286. Return to Text

    6. Stephen Hawking, lecture at the Amsterdam Symposium on Gravity, Black Holes, and String Theory, June 21, 1997. Return to Text

    7. It is worthwhile to note that Feynman's approach to quantum mechanics can be used to derive the approach based on wave functions, and vice versa; the two approaches, therefore, are fully equivalent. Nevertheless, the concepts, the language, and the interpretation that each approach emphasizes are rather different, even though the answers each gives are absolutely identical. Return to Text

    8. Richard Feynman, QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988). Return to Text

    Chapter 5
    1. Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time (New York: Bantam Books, 1988), p. 175. Return to Text

    2. Richard Feynman, as quoted in Timothy Ferris, The Whole Shebang (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997), p. 97. Return to Text

    3. In case you are still perplexed about how anything at all can happen within a region of space that is empty, it is important to realize that the uncertainty principle places a limit on how "empty" a region of space can actually be; it modifies what we mean by empty space. For example, when applied to wave disturbances in a field (such as electromagnetic waves traveling in the electromagnetic field) the uncertainty principle shows that the amplitude of a wave and the speed with which its amplitude changes are subject to the same inverse relationship as are the position and speed of a particle: The more precisely the amplitude is specified the less we can possibly know about the speed with which its amplitude changes. Now, when we say that a region of space is empty, we typically mean that, among other things, there are no waves passing through it, and that all fields have value zero. In clumsy but ultimately useful language, we can rephrase this by saying that the amplitudes of all waves that pass through the region are zero, exactly. But if we know the amplitudes exactly, the uncertainty principle implies that the rate of change of the amplitudes is completely uncertain and can take on essentially any value. But if the amplitudes change, this means that in the next moment they will no longer be zero, even though the region of spce is still "empty." Again, on average the field will be zero since at some places its value will be positive while at others negative; on average the net energy in the region has not changed. But this is only on average. Quantum uncertainty implies that the energy in the field—even in an empty region of space—fluctuates up and down, with the size of the fluctuations getting larger as the distance and time scales on which the region is examined get smaller. The energy embodied in such momentary field fluctuations can then, through E = mc , be converted into the momentary creation of pairs of particles and their antiparticles, which annihilate each other in great haste, to keep the energy from changing, on average. Return to Text

    4. Even though the initial equation that Schrodinger wrote down—the one incorporating special relativity—did not accurately describe the quantum-mechanical properties of electrons in hydrogen atoms, it was soon realized to be a valuable equation when appropriately used in other contexts, and, in fact, is still in use today. However, by the time Schrodinger published his equation he had been scooped by Oskar Klein and Walter Gordon, and hence his relativistic equation is called the "Klein-Gordon equation." Return to Text

    5. For the mathematically inclined reader, we note that the symmetry principles used in elementary particle physics are generally based on groups, most notably, Lie groups. Elementary particles are arranged in representations of various groups and the equations governing their time evolution are required to respect the associated symmetry transformations. For the strong force, this symmetry is called SU(3) (the analog of ordinary three-dimensional rotations, but acting on a complex space), and the three colors of a given quark species transform in a three-dimensional representation. The shifting (from red, green, blue to yellow, indigo, violet) mentioned in the text is, more precisely, an SU(3) transformation acting on the "color coordinates" of a quark. A gauge symmetry is one in which the group transformations can have a spacetime dependence: in this case, "rotating" the quark colors differently at different locations in space and moments in time. Return to Text

    6. During the development of the quantum theories of the three nongravitational forces, physicists also came upon calculations that gave infinite results. In time, though, they gradually realized that these infinities could be done away with through a tool known as renormalization. The infinities arising in attempts to merge general relativity and quantum mechanics are far more severe and are not amenable to the renormalization cure. Even more recently, physicists have realized that infinite answers are a signal that a theory is being used to analyze a realm that is beyond the bounds of its applicability. Since the goal of current research is to find a theory whose range of applicability is, in principle, unbounded—the "ultimate" or "final" theory—physicists want to find a theory in which infinite answers do not crop up, regardless of how extreme the physical system being analyzed might be. Return to Text

    7. The size of the Planck length can be understood based upon simple reasoning rooted in what physicists call dimensional analysis. The idea is this. When a theory is formulated as a collection of equations, the abstract symbols must be tied to physical features of the world if the theory is to make contact with reality. In particular, we must introduce a system of units so that if a symbol, say, is meant to refer to a length, we have a scale by which its value can be interpreted. After all, if equations show that the length in question is 5, we need to know if that means 5 centimeters, 5 kilometers, or 5 light years, etc. In a theory that involves general relativity and quantum mechanics, a choice of units emerges naturally, in the following way. There are two constants of nature upon which general relativity depends: the speed of light, c, and Newton's gravitation constant, G. Quantum mechanics depends on one constant of nature A. By examining the units of these constants (e.g., c is a velocity, so is expressed as distance divided by time, etc.), one can see that the combination VAG/e3 has the units of a length; in fact, it is 1.616 x 10-" centimeters. This is the Planck length. Since it involves gravitational and spacetime inputs (G and c) and has a quantum mechanical dependence (A) as well, it sets the scale for measurements—the natural unit of length—in any theory that attempts to merge general relativity and quantum mechanics. When we use the term "Planck length" in the text, it is often meant in an approximate sense, indicating a length that is within a few orders of magnitude of 10-" centimeters. Return to Text

    8. Currently, in addition to string theory, two other approaches for merging general relativity and quantum mechanics are being pursued vigorously. One approach is led by Roger Penrose of Oxford University and is known as twistor theory. The other approach—inspired in part by Penrose's work—is led by Abhay Ashtekar of Pennsylvania State University and is known as the new variables method. Although these other approaches will not be discussed further in this book, there is growing speculation that they may have a deep connection to string theory and that possibly, together with string theory, all three approaches are honing in on the same solution for merging general relativity and quantum mechanics. Return to Text

    Chapter 6
    1. The expert reader will recognize that this chapter focuses solely on perturbative string theory; nonperturbative aspects are discussed in Chapters 12 and 13. Return to Text

    2. Interview with John Schwarz, December 23, 1997. Return to Text

    3. Similar suggestions were made independently by Tamiaki Yoneya and by Korkut Bardakci and Martin Halpern. The Swedish physicist Lars Brink also contributed significantly to the early development of string theory. Return to Text

    4. Interview with John Schwarz, December 23, 1997. Return to Text

    5. Interview with Michael Green, December 20, 1997. Return to Text

    6. The standard model does suggest a mechanism by which particles acquire mass—the Higgs mechanism, named after the Scottish physicist Peter Higgs. But from the point of view of explaining the particle masses, this merely shifts the burden to explaining properties of a hypothetical "mass-giving particle"—the so-called Higgs boson. Experimental searches for this particle are underway, but once again, if it is found and its properties measured, these will be input data for the standard model, for which the theory offers no explanation. Return to Text

    7. For the mathematically inclined reader, we note that the association between string vibrational patterns and force charges can be described more precisely as follows. When the motion of a string is quantized, its possible vibrational states are represented by vectors in a Hilbert space, much as for any quantum-mechanical system. These vectors can be labeled by their eigenvalues under a set of commuting hermit. ian operators. Among these operators are the Hamiltonian, whose eigenvalues give the energy and hence the mass of the vibrational state, as well as operators generating various gauge symmetries that the theory respects. The eigenvalues of these latter operators give the force charges carried by the associated vibrational string state. Return to Text

    8. Based upon insights gleaned from the second superstring revolution (discussed in Chapter 12), Witten and, most notably, Joe Lykken of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have identified a subtle, yet possible, loophole in this conclusion. Lykken, exploiting this realization, has suggested that it might be possible for strings to be under far less tension, and therefore be substantially larger in size, than originally thought. So large, in fact, that they might be observable by the next generation of particle accelerators. If this long-shot possibility turns out to be the case, there is the exciting prospect that many of the remarkable implications of string theory discussed in this and the following chapters will be verifiable experimentally within the next decade. But even in the more "conventional" scenario espoused by string theorists, in which strings are typically on the order of 10^-33 centimeters in length, there are indirect ways to search for them experimentally, as we will discuss in Chapter 9. Return to Text

    9. The expert reader will recognize that the photon produced in a collision between an electron and a positron is a virtual photon and therefore must shortly relinquish its energy by dissociating into a particle-antiparticle pair. Return to Text

    10. Of course, a camera works by collecting photons that bounce off the object of interest and recording them on a piece of photographic film. Our use of a camera in this example is symbolic, since we are not imagining bouncing photons off of the colliding strings. Rather, we simply want to record in Figure 6.7(c) the whole history of the interaction. Having said that, we should point out one further subtle point that the discussion in the text glosses over. We learned in Chapter 4 that we can formulate quantum mechanics using Feynman's sum-over-paths method, in which we analyze the motion of objects by combining contributions from all possible trajectories that lead from some chosen starting point to some chosen destination (with each trajectory contributing with a statistical weight determined by Fey nman). In Figures 6.6 and 6.7 we show one of the infinite number of possible trajectories followed by point particles (Figure 6.6) or by strings (Figure 6.7) taking them from their initial positions to their final destinations. The discussion in this section, however, applies equally well to any of the other possible trajectories and therefore applies to the whole quantum-mechanical process itself. (Feynman's formulation of point-particle quantum mechanics in the sum-over-paths framework was generalized to string theory through the work of Stanley Mandelstam of the University of California at Berkeley and by the Russian physicist Alexander Polyakov, who is now on the faculty of the physics department of Princeton University) Return to Text

    Chapter 7
    1. Albert Einstein, as quoted in R. Clark, Einstein: The Life and Times (New York: Avon Books, 1984), p. 287. Return to Text

    2. More precisely, spin-1/2 means that the angular momentum of the electron from its spin is 11/2. Return to Text

    3. The discovery and development of supersymmetry has a complicated history. In addition to those cited in the text, essential early contributions were made by R. Haag, M. Sohnius, J. T. Lopuszanski, Y. A. Gol'fand, E. P. Lichtman, J. L. Gervais, B. Sakita, V. P. Akulov, D. V. Volkov, and V. A. Soroka, among many others. Some of their work is documented in Rosanne Di Stefano, Notes on the Conceptual Development of Supersymmetry, Institute for Theoretical Physics, State University of New York at Stony Brook, preprint ITP-SB-8878. Return to Text

    4. For the mathematically inclined reader we note that this extension involves augmenting the familiar Cartesian coordinates of spacetime with new quantum coordinates, say u and v, that are anticommuting: u X v = X u. Supersymmetry can then be thought of as translations in this quantum-mechanically augmented form of space-time. Return to Text

    5. For the reader interested in more details of this technical issue we note the following. In note 6 of Chapter 6 we mentioned that the standard model invokes a "mass-giving particle"—the Higgs boson—to endow the particles of Tables 1.1 and 1.2 with their observed masses. For this procedure to work, the Higgs particle itself cannot be too heavy; studies show that its mass should certainly be no greater than about 1,000 times the mass of a proton. But it turns out that quantum fluctuations tend to contribute substantially to the mass of the Higgs particle, potentially driving its mass all the way to the Planck scale. Theorists have found, however, that this outcome, which would uncover a major defect in the standard model, can be avoided if certain parameters in the standard model (most notably, the so-called bare mass of the Higgs particle) are finely tuned to better than 1 part in 10'5 to can~~


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    Notes: Chapter 1

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    Table of Contents
    .......The Elegant Universe