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Name: Jasper de R.
Status: student
Age: 15
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 5/15/2003


Question:
Electromagnetic waves have alternating electric and magnetic fields that "propel" the wave. What propels strings in the superstring theory? Strings themselves define energy so how can there be a smaller force to vibrate those strings?


Replies:
Jasper,

One important thing to realize is what a "string" is. It is a representation of a particular object as a function of time. Imagine a ball just moving up and down. Graph the ball's height as a function of time. The line of this graph can be called a string. Add another component to qualify as momentum. Now you can graph position and momentum as a function of time. You are much closer to a superstring. Always you get a line extending in the direction of the time axis, oscillating side to side as momentum and position change. The oscillations of the string are not actually vibrations like a vibrating cord. The oscillations are a record of the life of the object. It is the object that must feel forces. String theory provides a way to discuss the effects and limitations of these forces on the object.

Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Physics Instructor
Illinois Central College



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