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The Music of String Theory

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  • The Music of String Theory

    Table of Contents
    .......The Elegant Universe
    THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE, Brian Greene, 1999, 2003
    ```(annotated and with added bold highlights by Epsilon=One)
    Chapter 6 - Nothing but Music: The Essentials of Superstring Theory
    The Music of String Theory
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    Even though string theory does away with the previous concept of structureless elementary particles, old language dies hard, especially when it provides an accurate description of reality down to the most minute of distance scales. Following the common practice of the field we shall therefore continue to refer to "elementary particles," yet we will always mean "what appear to be elementary particles but are actually tiny pieces of vibrating string." (Epsilon=One: Rather than "vibrating," "oscillating" would be a better word choice.) In the preceding section we proposed that the masses and the force charges of such elementary particles are the result of the way in which their respective strings are vibrating. This leads us to the following realization: If we can work out precisely the allowed resonant vibrational patterns of fundamental strings—the "notes," so to speak, that they can play—we should be able to explain the observed properties of the elementary particles. (Epsilon=One: This is correct! The "vibrational patterns" are the symbolic, algebraic geometry of the Emergent Ellipsoid (EEd) For the first time, therefore, string theory sets up a framework for explaining the properties of the particles observed in nature. (Epsilon=One: Yes! And, much more.)

    At this stage, then, we should "grab hold" of a string and "pluck" it in all sorts of ways to determine the possible resonant patterns of vibration. (Epsilon=One: The resonance (Resoloids) of the various harmonic oscillations—slide, swing, vibration, pulse, et cetera—when within the dual "envelopes" of the Pulsoid manifest in accordance with the Pauli exclusion principle and are referred to as protons and electrons ("matter"/mass). When Resoloids are expelled from within the Pulsoid ("dark" matter), they manifest as bosons/light.)If string theory is right, we should find that the possible patterns yield exactly the observed properties of the matter and force particles in Tables 1.1 and 1.2. Of course, a string is too small to carry out this experiment literally as described. Rather, by using mathematical descriptions we can theoretically pluck a string. In the mid-1980s, many string adherents believed that the mathematical analysis required for doing this was on the verge of being able to explain every detailed property of the universe on its most microscopic level. Some enthusiastic physicists declared that the T.O.E. had finally been discovered. More than a decade of hindsight has shown that the euphoria generated by this belief was premature. String theory has the makings of a T.O.E., but a number of hurdles remain, preventing us from deducing the spectrum of string vibrations with the precision necessary to compare with experimental results. At the present time, therefore, we do not know if the fundamental characteristics of our universe, summarized in Tables 1.1 and 1.2, can be explained by string theory. As we will discuss in Chapter 9, under certain assumptions that we will clearly state, string theory can give rise to a universe with properties that are in qualitative agreement with the known particle and force data, but extracting detailed numerical predictions from the theory is currently beyond our abilities. And so, although the framework of string theory, unlike that of the point-particle standard model, is capable of giving an explanation for why the particles and forces have the properties they do, we have not, as yet, been able to extract it. But remarkably, string theory is so rich and far-reaching that, even though we cannot yet determine its most detailed properties, we are able to gain insight into a wealth of the new physical phenomena that follow from the theory, as we will see in subsequent chapters.

    In the following chapters we shall also discuss the status of the hurdles in some detail, but it is instructive first to understand them at a general level. Strings in the world around us come with a variety of tensions. The string laced through a pair of shoes, for example, is usually quite slack compared to the string stretched from one end of a violin to another. Both of these, in turn, are under far less tension than the steel strings of a piano. The one number that string theory requires in order to set its overall scale is the corresponding tension on its loops. How is this tension determined? Well, if we could pluck a fundamental string we would learn about its stiffness, and in this way we could measure its tension much as is done to measure the tension of more familiar everyday strings. But since fundamental strings are so tiny, this approach cannot be carried out and a more indirect method is called for. In 1974, when Scherk and Schwarz proposed that one particular pattern of string vibration was the graviton particle, they were able to exploit such an indirect approach and thereby predict the tension on the strings of string theory. Their calculations revealed that the strength of the force transmitted by the proposed graviton pattern of string vibration is inversely proportional to the string's tension. And since the graviton is supposed to transmit the gravitational force—a force that is intrinsically quite feeble—they found that this implies a colossal tension of a thousand billion billion billion billion (10^39) tons, the so-called Planck tension. Fundamental strings are therefore extremely stiff compared with more familiar examples. This has three important consequences.
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    Table of Contents
    .......The Elegant Universe
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