There’s an article up on Wired News today that gives a quick explanation of the problems with the standard applications of String Theory (which has yet to really make a prediction that’s been able to be tested) and the various other mathematical tools that could replace its use…
“In string theory — an idea that’s been around since the late 1970s — the universe is a 10-dimensional place, with six of those dimensions curled up inside themselves like a cat in front of a fireplace. All particles and forces are different resonances and vibrations of these 10-dimensional strings.
Strings are far from the only game in town. There are other, potentially equally promising approaches to unifying physics’ two seemingly incompatible visions of the cosmos: general relativity and quantum mechanics.
This fall, Columbia University mathematician Peter Woit has published a critique of string theory (Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory), pointing out that in more than three decades, string theory still has yet to make a single prediction that can be verified in the lab or through the lens of a telescope. If all scientific disciplines maintained such fluffy and forgiving standards, Woit argues, science would devolve into little more than medieval disputations about angels and heads of pins.”
I’m not that familiar with String Theory’s inner workings to be honest. It was just gathering a critical mass of interest about the time I really left my studies in Astrophysics. From what I do know of it though, the theory is so very rich that it’s capable of explaining just about anything you want. The problem is that it doesn’t seem to be much use in figuring out why the Universe is the way it is rather than being different. Perhaps one of the replacements will have more success – or perhaps someone will finally figure out how to wrestle string theory into a form that is more predictive and less descriptive.
(Thanks to Rick Cluett for pointing me to this article!)
Read the rest here: Wired News: Moving Beyond String Theory