String theory future

Posted: December 03, 2020

Introduction

Despite being one of the most confusing, string theory continues to be among the most famous ideas in today's modern physics. At the heart of string theory is the idea that particles are tiny strings with tiny extra dimensions of space and not point-like dots. Physicists believe that the string's theory's primary goal is to link the laws of general relativity with the laws of quantum mechanics. The future progress of string theory solely relies on the various conflicting approaches geared towards the subject as well as deeper comprehension of the relationships among them. There would be a clear understanding of exciting questions such as compactification, early universe cosmology, and space-time singularities once string geometry is understood. The paper is premised on the future of string theory. It will look at the contributions of physicists in the realization of the future.

Literature Review

The general theory of relativity advanced by Albert Einstein availed physicists with not only an advanced understanding of gravity but also new answered questions. Despite the theory being a groundbreaking one, it failed to describe gravity as a consistent quantum theory successfully. Theoretical physicists Muyang Liu, Mirjam Cvetic, and Ling Lin furthermore fronts that Einstein's general theory of relativity failed to link gravity with all the forces of nature (David and Robert n.p).

Andrew Strominger, a physicist at Harvard University, recalls the early enthusiasm which characterized the onset of string theory and perception of the theory of everything associated with it (Andrew n.p). However, he maintains that despite the backlashes brought by the various high-profile articles and books which attacked the theory, the theory has not gone away. Moreover, Juan Maldacena, who is a physicist based in the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton in New Jersey, maintains that string theory has receded from the spotlight but still has a potential of refinement. The aspirations that Einstein had while advancing the general theory of relativity of linking gravity with strong and weak forces of nuclear and electromagnetism into one framework is yet to be achieved or realized.

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Methodology

This research utilizes both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Most of the information acquired to validate the thesis has been obtained from archival study or secondary data analysis. Various journal articles and magazines published by physicists offering insights on string theory and its future have formed the basis of qualitative methods in this research work. Moreover, published reports, periodicals, and updates from the physics community concerning Large Hadron Collider have availed valuable data. Lastly, data obtained from quantitative methods such as surveys and the use of questionnaires in conferences attended by theoretical physicists have provided vital information in this research work.

Results

Based on the fact that the Large Hadron Collider has been unable to find clues about the importance of string theory contrary to the expectations of theorists, the debate has accelerated whether string theory could unite physics to one grand ultimate theory. In one of the conferences held, which brought together theoretical physicists, questions were asked based on their current beliefs (Kim et al., 71). The results revealed that votes were split evenly, with slightly more than half of the attendees being against prospects of string theory to unite physics.

The remaining physicists floated the idea that string theory is not likely to pan out, and so far, it's a leading step in the right direction. Good or bad science cannot be determined through a poll. However, it informs about the current thoughts of scientists, and going by the poll; it is evident that string theory is having an obscured future (Kim et al., 81). Despite that poll, the various archival study presents much optimism regarding string theory future.

Discussion

Physicists continue to look forward to the future as they try their best to develop a single mathematically consistent framework that links the laws of general relativity with the laws of quantum mechanics (Kiritsis 8). The laws of general relativity are popularly known as the laws of the 'large' while the laws of quantum mechanics labeled as the laws of the 'small.' Without an idea of string theory, mathematical inconsistencies are realized while attempting to combine general relativity and quantum mechanics (Kiritsis 9). String theory has a viable future since people need a single mathematically consistent framework because the universe is consistent.

Failure to have such a consistent framework, there will not be a chance to clearly understand the origin of the universe as well as the occurrences at the deep interior of black holes. Despite being a hard nut to crack, melding general relativity and quantum mechanics continue to yield success because of few approaches such as string theory proposal (Dine 4). Scientists continue to work on string theory to harmonize the extreme domains of quantum mechanics and general relativity for several reasons. Firstly, the challenge of the unification of quantum mechanics and gravity presents one of the most critical challenges in fundamental theoretical physics. That is a problem that has continued to attract attention. Per many practitioners, mainly researchers, string theory offers the best convincing and compelling solutions out of the available proposed solutions to that problem (Dine 8). Through natural incorporation of significant breakthroughs from physics research of the past few decades, string theory offers a single theory that is mathematically persuasive in uniting general relativity and quantum mechanics (Dine 5).

Moreover, string theory has established profound contact with other areas of physics. The whole research area revolving around supersymmetry has been made possible. Supersymmetry gets noted as an extension of the standard model, which strives to fill gaps through the prediction of partner particles for each particle in the standard model (Plauschinn 100). Today's understanding of the black hole entropy is attributed to string theory. The currently existing inspiring insights of quark-gluon plasma remain one of the critical milestones of string theory and hence, have a viable future. Current available conventional calculations in the theory of quantum mechanics have been inspired by the theory (Plauschinn 117). For that reason, people can realize that there is a profound nexus between string theory and the theoretical framework of quantum mechanics. In simple terms, Brian Greene, who is a physicist at Colombia University and globally recognized for his various groundbreaking discoveries in superstring theory field reveals that string theory is beyond research, which is isolated and being undertaken in a particular obscure physics corner (Brian n.p). He further states that string theory has got tentacles, which has enabled it to maneuver through a variety of common areas. As a result, the interest and enthusiasm of string theory continue to remain strong, attributed to its vibrant aspects in the various areas of physics (Plauschinn 122). According to him, it, however, remains uncertain whether string theory is the long-sought wholesome, encompassing theory that Albert Einstein aspired for, not until physicists develop explicit observational or experimental support.

The future of such a single mathematically consistent framework concerning elementary particles remains bright. The standard model of particles has maintained consistency when it comes to its prediction but not precisely when it comes to stating the masses of particles. Quantum physics fails to incorporate aspects of gravity. For that reason, string theory has been unable to work when applied to more significant objects, which are of macroscopic scale, considering that quantum theory works at insignificant magnitudes scales due to gravity absence (Bergshoeff et al., 133). Concerning the notion of space-time, the scale becomes very fragile since the plank scale presents a space-time doomed calculation.

Also, the standard model lacks elementary particles, but it has mediators, baryons, and lepton alongside other zoos. As per string theory prediction, all elementary particles are composed of similar types of strings, which are either tangled or looped (Bergshoeff et al., 133). Those elementary particles vibrate at particular modes, which ultimately dictate the properties of those elementary particles or their behavior. The vibrating strings have energy, which, when they get in the region of gravitational potential, act as masses, thus solving one of the problems associated with the standard model. Going into the future, there is a need for string theorists to engineer some technology or design an exceptional experiment capable of detecting those strings, which are a fundamental interest and concept in physics and engineering.

There also exists the skeptical view regarding string theory. Some researchers, especially physicists, continue to be skeptical concerning the ability of string theory to unite the various fundamental forces of nature (Chakraborty et al., 45). David Gross, who is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist currently at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics sites, strange implications such as extra dimensions and the multiverse as a hindrance towards the path to unite physics into one ultimate theory. He has termed string theory as a failed theory because of its unverifiable predictions regarding the universe (Bergshoeff et al., 131).

Challenges exist as physicists try to finally materialize Albert Einstein's dream of unifying gravity with the other forces. For instance, Robert Dijkgraaf, who is a mathematical physicist, states that string theory is attempting to propose a fresh system of putting down quantum gravity theories. However, according to him, researchers are unaware of all the features that are worth putting down and not features of quantum gravity theories alone (Chakraborty et al., 2019)

Conclusion

In summary, string theory avails a direction towards the unification of quantum mechanics and general relativity (gravity). It remains the only idea out of the few alternatives which can provide quantum gravity. For that reason, it is hotly persuaded. String theory continues to promise unlimited bounty, as stated by physicist Andrew Strominger. It carries alongside the notion that energy and matter are fundamentally made up of tiny strings that are in constant vibration as it attempts to unify all the fundamental forces into one elegant package. Many physicists have hailed string theory and christened it as the "theory of everything" which has been long sought.

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References

Andrew, Strominger. The Fall and Rise of String Theory. 2016. https://www.discovermagazine.com/the-sciences/the-fall-and-rise-of-string-theory

Bergshoeff et al. "Nonrelativistic String Theory and T-duality." Journal of High Energy Physics 2018.11 (2018): 133. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/JHEP11%282018%29133.pdf

Brian, Greene. The Future of String Theory. 2006. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-future-of-string-theory-a-conve/

David, Gross, and Robert, Dijkraaf. The Strange Second Life of String Theory. 2016. https://www.quantamagazine.org/string-theorys-strange-second-life-20160915/

Dine, Michael. Supersymmetry and String Theory: Beyond the Standard Model. Cambridge University Press, 2016. https://cds.cern.ch/record/1027290/files/0521858410_TOC.pdf

Kiritsis, Elias. String Theory in a Nutshell. Vol. 21. Princeton University Press, 2019. https://cds.cern.ch/record/1065428/files/9780691122304_TOC.pdf

Chakraborty et al. ", and String Theory." Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical 52.38 (2019): 384003. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1905.00051

Kim, Hee‐Cheol, et al. "E‐String Theory on Riemann Surfaces. 66.1 (2018): 1700074. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1709.02496

Plauschinn, Erik. "Non-geometric Backgrounds in String Theory." Physics Reports 798 (2019): 1-122. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1811.11203