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Author Topic:   String Theory: Science or Philosophy
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Message 31 of 34 (194332)
03-25-2005 2:30 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by gnojek
02-25-2005 5:24 PM

Whoa whoa whoa.
The Theory of Relativity is one the most well-tested theories in physics. I have never heard of the theory failing ONE test that it has come up against. Who knows, maybe Gravity Probe B will find something that will pose a problem for relativity, but chances are slim.

You're taking me out of context here. I said this in reply to this quote from 1.61803. I said that if he maintained this (namely that Relativity is not tested), then the following statement. Furhtermore, 1.61803 explained how I misunderstood what he was trying to say and we later agreed that Einstein's theory was proven.

String "Theory" is not much more than math right now.
For the very brief period before the first experiment that tested relativity, that's all relatvity was, math and gedanken experiments.

So, is math a science? Well, the study of math can be done scientifically, but a mere equation or set of equations is not "science."

I think that mathematical theories are called theories when they are mathematically consistent, etc, not really when they've been tested physically. When that does happen it can be a physical theory.

But really they need to stop calling it String Theory for the time being and call it what it is, The String Model.

But the real question is, is it even possible for the String Model to become science?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by gnojek, posted 02-25-2005 5:24 PM gnojek has responded

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Inactive Member

Message 32 of 34 (194340)
03-25-2005 2:39 AM
Reply to: Message 30 by macaroniandcheese
03-25-2005 12:20 AM

Re: on shakey ground...
why don't you look and see what department math is under at your local university.

that's right. science. math works because it follows scientific, testable laws. what do you think physics is? math. do you believe in black holes? do you somehow think that they can be seen? no. they can only be detected mathematically. same with dark matter. same with a lot of things that simply have to exist because of how the math works. math isn't invented usually. it's discovered. fibonacci? discovered his stuff picking flowers and eating oranges. well not exactly but you get the idea.

The university example doesn't seem like a quality proof of math falling under science. The key thing about the math here is that it explains something in our world. y=x^2 is math, but it isn't the formula for speed in physics. To be considered science, the math has to explain something in our world. It's a similar question, does the math of the String Model really describe our world, or is it like calculating speed with y=x^2?
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 Message 30 by macaroniandcheese, posted 03-25-2005 12:20 AM macaroniandcheese has responded

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Posts: 4258
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Message 33 of 34 (194397)
03-25-2005 9:47 AM
Reply to: Message 32 by commike37
03-25-2005 2:39 AM

Re: on shakey ground...
you are mistaken. it does describe something in our world, just not something specific that you can put a name on. take a mathematical theory course. they're really fun. math defines the lasts of the universe. physics can't work without math working. it's not just some abstract compination of letters and numbers.
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 Message 32 by commike37, posted 03-25-2005 2:39 AM commike37 has not yet responded

Inactive Member

Message 34 of 34 (194516)
03-25-2005 7:16 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by commike37
03-25-2005 2:30 AM

commike37 writes:

But the real question is, is it even possible for the String Model to become science?

You mean does it ever have the capability of being tested?

With enough energy you could probe finer and finer scales.
But, I think I read that the first chance will come in the next generation of super-colliders. The superconducting supercollider WOULD have been nice, but they'll have to wait for the large hadron collider to come online next year or so.

I think one of the first tests will be to see if there is some energy "missing" from particular reactions. String theory predicts that among certain reactions some of the energy will be dispersed into the compacted dimensions. Supposedly we won't be able to detect it and the missing energy would indicate that it might have gone into these compacted dimensions somehow.

Something tells me that it might turn into the search for the Higgs boson. We didn't find it at THIS energy, so we have to wait for the next big collider and look for it at higher energies, and so on.


Lykken: In the particle detector what you will see from this collision will look like a jet of high-energy particles, and then you'll see that there is nothing balancing the energy and momentum of that very high-energy jet. There was something there, a high-energy graviton, but it disappeared into the extra dimensions. We see a very high-energy jet of particles going in one direction and nothing balancing it off in the other direction. That's what we call a missing energy signature. That's the kind of thing where we jump up and down and say, "This could be extra dimensions."

Here's a 2000 article referring to another collider that people had hoped would see the missing energy. I guess it rules out millimeter-sized compacted dimensions.

Some others:

Extra dimensions might explain "dark" stuff:

Another possible test:

A Way of Testing the String Theory

Although string theory is quite difficult to prove as result of the miniscule size of the strings themselves, researchers are now trying to determine the existence of strings by examining the gravitational imprints that have resulted from the birth of the universe and current gravitational waves. These physicists are relying on the data collected by their three-step experiment with stages entitled LIGO I, LIGO II, and the satellite LISA. Despite the fact that gravitational waves have never been collected or detected before, physicists are hoping that this extensive experiment will pick up gravitational waves. They believe that cosmic strings “crack” and then release gravitational waves, which can potentially be detected by LIGO. There are many other facets to this detailed experiment, and physicists are hoping to find clues that will help convince the scientific community and the public about the validity of string theory.

ooooo, cosmic strings....

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 Message 31 by commike37, posted 03-25-2005 2:30 AM commike37 has not yet responded

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