Thursday, March 4, 2010

Superstrings Theory: Not Exactly Successful



String theory, that is to say Superstrings Theory to use its correct name since the fail that was Bosonic (no Fermions allowed) Strings Theory of '68, is a fail, and an epic fail, because it depends on not one but four foundations, none of which have been proven, and if only one is disproven, the whole theory will fall apart like a house of cards in the slightest breeze.

They are:

1) Elementary  particles (e.g. photons, electrons, quarks, gluons, weak force bosons, neutrinos, etc.) are not in fact point particles as treated and experimentally verified in QFT but are rather one-dimensional "strings."

Says who? Says string theorists, that's who. What if they're fractal dimensional strings? What if they are in fact point particles but intersections in a bigger "verse," but not "branes?"

2) Supersymmetry is true.

Really? Here comes the LHC at smart power. We'll see.

3) Oskar Klein explained Ted Kaluza's theory.

Did he now? I seem to recall Klein only explained it as one extra rolled-up fourth dimension of space in 5-D (including 1-D of time), not 9 dimensions of space, 1 of supergravity and 2 of time. And what if Klein was wrong in that the 5th dimension isn't rolled up, but so large we all experience it as one value, as a constant? What of that?

4) M-Theory is true.

Is it now? Is it a) a "theory," or b) an idea of a theory?
Answer: b)

You don't even have to bring AdS/CFT or Anthropic Landscape in at this point. Good luck all ya'll String Theorists pretending you're Physicists, because you're not. What you ARE are Mathematicians, as fine a profession as ever was. Good for you. Keep the superstring theoretic manifold topology theory rolling. It's great pure mathematics.

But don't try to convince us your theory reflects "reality." There are too many of us out here too smart for you, and with all due respect, stop trying to bullshit us. But don't let me or anyone else stop you, you go ahead and  keep dreaming and keep trying to convince us. The rest of us will choose to work on stuff that really matters.

Good luck on the grant money, mates. From your University's Mathematics department, NOT your University's Physics department, thanks.

UPDATE: They say it never hurts to get a second opinion. I'm pretty sure that truism isn't always true, but in order to be fair, click here for a differing view by Czech and former Harvard Physicist Lubos Motl, who savagely defends String Theory against all criticism. 

3 comments:

Jérôme CHAUVET said...

What does "2 dimensions of time" means?

I know we have been taught with quantum theory not to question a lot about where is reality in the theory, but the fact is that Physics will in fine deal with reality, so this question is the most important question ever that any theorist should keep bearing on mind.

2 dimensions for time may mean that each person in the world has 2 nows. Mmmm, the thing is that if special relativity theory sounds firstly weird, it becomes fascinating once you have understood that it is natural with respect to real measured principles (invariance of light speed).

A nice French expression for characterising Superstring theory would be: "C'est une usine à gaz" ("It is a smoke factory"), which means it was created to be complicated, and to show to others how complicated it is.

Once again I show that I disagree with String theory, I guess it means more spams to my blog :(, but I do not resign anyway.

Best,

Steven Colyer said...

Cumrum Vafa and the F-Theory approach to Superstrings, to answer your first question.

The funny thing is, I am not saying String Theory is wrong. It may actually be correct, although frankly the odds are long. The odds are zero if their assumptions fall apart, but STer's have a habit of backing up in the face of adversity and finding a new angle.

(Btw, I very much like the AdS/CFT conjecture ... I simply don't see where it MUST be linked to ST as the STers claim.)

ST is sales and hype on top of as you say, wildly complex and complicated Math. The math part isn't a problem with me. The weak assumptions and the sales hype are.

On Philosophical grounds alone you could make an argument against ST that the Universe should get less complicated, not more, the smaller the length scales we explore. Not sure how strong of an argument that is though, because that makes sense, and QM (On which Strings are based) can be quite non-nonsensical at first blush.

But QM was built up from experimental results. Where are the results for ST? Nowhere. Not yet. Will the LHC produce some? Maybe. First up: let's see if the supersymmetric particles that F-Theory predicts appear.

If not, then, Houston, we have a problem.

But also if not, STers will find a way to explain it away with yet another weak backing-up. Some things, like that, are predictable.

Steven Colyer said...

Thanks, I'd forgotten I'd written that, or that I'd done so as recently as last March. I've learned so much more since.

"Epic Fail" is a bit strong I suppose, but that's a "hook" to get people to read it. Fairly cheeky of me, I suppose I should back off a bit.

Nevertheless, I stand by what I wrote, technically speaking. Since then, and I suppose I should amend, I realize that Strings have had SOME success, at least in the sense that they have helped ONE area of Physics, QCD, make a certain calculation between Quarks and Gluons easier, though that was the whole point of Strings being developed in the first place, not T.O.E.

Also, Strings have helped open up different fields in math which have then given back, etc.

For example, String Theory has helped Condensate Physics, not surprising since Condensate Physics provided Strings with important formulas at one point ... the giving back thing again. IN ANY EVENT, the Mathematics of String Theory are very intriguing, and regardless of where Strings end up going, the Math is simply wonderful and I look forward to studying it in more detail in the next few years, beginning with Calabi-Yau Manifoild theory as beautifully exposited in the new book by Shing-Tung Yau and Steve Nadis: The Shape of Inner Space.