inued to grow, the string was an attempt to join them all together, leading to the idea of a string field. This field represents all particles as vibrations of a string at given frequencies. The string field is then the sum total of all vibrations, elegantly bringing all particles together into one, so that physicists no longer need to be embarrassed by the discovery of yet another particle type.
It's a sort of field theory for the infinite tower of oscillatory modes of a string, each of them representing different particle species, Schnabl said. As Schnabl observed, string field theory, by explaining also how quantum mechanics is compatible with general relativity, is essential for understanding what goes on in situations where both of these are playing together.
It is important in the regimes where quantum gravity is important, such as black holes and the beginning of the universe, added Schnabl. In both cases, dimensions can be small, requiring quantum mechanics, but energies and mass are enormous, creating huge gravitational fields that currently can only be dealt with by general relativity.
One of the problems of string field theory lies in conducting experiments that test predictions or help inspire new theoretical developments. The theory predicts that the universe has 10 dimensions, of which four are the ones we observe in spacetime. Yet in 40 years no better candidate has emerged to explain the properties of the universe, or all universes, at all scales of time and distance. Furthermore the string field has a habit of feeding the rest of physics and mathematics by virtue of lying at the cutting edge of analytical reason. This is why it should interest lay people as well, insisted Schnabl. The very general public can be interested if they enjoy watching mankind's advances in understanding some of the deepest questions about the nature of our universe.
Schnabl, a 34 year-old Czech scientist, is a member of Princetons Institute for AdvancedPage: 1 2 3 Related biology news :1
Contact: Thomas Lau
European Science Foundation
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