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Name: Bryan
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Question:
There have been claims that String theory solves many problems of the universe and could lead us to a unified theory. To my knowledge, the theory states that elementary particles are created by 2D strings vibrating at different frequencies... My question is, what causes them to vibrate AND what causes them to vibrate at different frequencies?



Replies:
To my knowledge, "string theory" is far from being a settled issue. There seem to be as many opponents as proponents. I do not think the dimensionality of the "strings" is at all settled. And some opponents claim that the theory has never made a testable prediction. It seems to me that it is still a topic for theoretical physicists and not for us mere mortals to yet enter into the fray.

Vince Calder


Bryan

I hope you get an answer from someone who works more closely in theoretical physics, but here is my understanding. There really are not any vibrating strings, it is more the solution to a mathematical equation. It is also a model to which Physicists can refer when discussing the issues. (We really do not know what the atom is, but we had the Niels Bohr planetary model of the atom that enabled scientists to discuss and experiment against, that is until Max Planck introduced Quantum Mechanics).

Physicists chase down the ultimate particle in mathematical equations and then they seek experiments that re-enforce or destroy the different theories. So far the chase has led down this ladder:
Atoms
Sub Atomic Particles
Fermions vs Bosons
Quarks
Vibrating Strings is as far as the theories go to date, but I am sure somebody, somewhere out there thinks they have a better idea. So far as I know, experiment data is available to prove the existence of quarks, but Super String theory is too new. If it is a blind alley, it will not be the first time science has pursued wrong answers, like bleeding people to balance the blood to cure disease.

Your questions are for the next generation of Physicists to discover. The best reference I can find is a book called "The Elegant Universe" by Professor Brian Greene.

Good luck and sincere regards,

Mike Stewart

PS One of the intriguing things about the equations is that the solution to the equations requires 11, or 12 dimensions, suggesting that parallel universes exist. Maybe you can find one.



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