# Math Is Fun Forum

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## #1 2006-06-23 18:35:07

MathsIsFun
Registered: 2005-01-21
Posts: 7,710

### String Theory Just Wasted Effort?

A new book out called "Not Even Wrong" (a quote from Pauli, referring to something so silly it can't even be called "wrong") says that String Theory is a waste of time, because it is so theoretical and has so many solutions it cannot be proven right or wrong.

Have a read of this synopsis: http://www.nwfdailynews.com/articleArch … nwrong.php

"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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## #2 2006-06-24 05:50:43

Ricky
Moderator
Registered: 2005-12-04
Posts: 3,791

### Re: String Theory Just Wasted Effort?

String theory, which is pretty much built on an entirely mathematical framework, predicts the existence of gravitons.  We have never seen gravitons, nor do we have any other reason to believe they exist.  Not only does string theory tell us that they must exist, but even how we can find them.

Problem is, we don't have the engineering ability just yet to see if they are actually there.  A current project is supposed to be completed in 2007 to be able to detect them, I believe in France.

If gravitons exist and behave like we expect them to, I'd say that's a pretty good test validating string theory.

"In the real world, this would be a problem.  But in mathematics, we can just define a place where this problem doesn't exist.  So we'll go ahead and do that now..."

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## #3 2006-06-24 10:06:17

mikau
Member
Registered: 2005-08-22
Posts: 1,504

### Re: String Theory Just Wasted Effort?

They do exist. I've seen one at the traveling carnival that visits my local parkway. Well they used to, but they stopped visiting when some girl got stabbed during one of their visits, which really had nothing to do with the carnival itself.

(sigh) I miss those gravitions...

A logarithm is just a misspelled algorithm.

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## #4 2006-06-24 12:09:57

MathsIsFun
Registered: 2005-01-21
Posts: 7,710

### Re: String Theory Just Wasted Effort?

Yes, Ricky! Thanks for pointing that out.

"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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## #5 2006-07-12 19:23:47

MathsIsFun
Registered: 2005-01-21
Posts: 7,710

### Re: String Theory Just Wasted Effort?

An update on this topic.

Apparently basic constants in physics are not as constant as we thought!

Read here, it is worthwhile: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13816702/

(I just wish the guy mentioned wasn't called Murphy)

"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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## #6 2007-01-24 23:03:33

MathsIsFun
Registered: 2005-01-21
Posts: 7,710

### Re: String Theory Just Wasted Effort?

The new Large Hadron Collider may be able to test string theory: http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/20 … -the-test/

"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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## #7 2007-01-24 23:28:59

Toast
Real Member
Registered: 2006-10-08
Posts: 1,321

### Re: String Theory Just Wasted Effort?

Yeah, I remember seeing a great, informative (and glossy) documentary on string theory. It was called 'The Elegant Universe' by Brian Greene.

Here is a lot of interesting stuff on string theory, plus you can watch all the episodes:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/
(The documentary isn't really intended for the extremely mathematically inclined)

FermiLab is trying to find the graviton before CERN edges it out with its new particle collider which is supposed to be around 7x more powerful than the one at FermiLab.

They had better bloody find that graviton. If nobody finds it, where will we turn?

Last edited by Toast (2007-01-24 23:35:08)

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## #8 2007-01-25 00:36:28

mathsyperson
Moderator
Registered: 2005-06-22
Posts: 4,900

### Re: String Theory Just Wasted Effort?

This looks like an interesting topic, but the first link doesn't work anymore.
It's interesting that the fundmental constants aren't actually constant though.

I read that the kilogram is defined by a weight that's kept locked in a vault in France. So, anything that's as heavy as that defining weight is defined as being 1kg. But, because of microscopic surface corrosion, that defining weight is slowly getting lighter! Of course, that's probably not the official definition anymore. There's probably some fancy one involving a specific number of hydrogen atoms or something.

Why did the vector cross the road?
It wanted to be normal.

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## #9 2019-12-06 20:01:12

Monox D. I-Fly
Member
From: Indonesia
Registered: 2015-12-02
Posts: 2,000

### Re: String Theory Just Wasted Effort?

Ricky wrote:

String theory, which is pretty much built on an entirely mathematical framework, predicts the existence of gravitons.  We have never seen gravitons, nor do we have any other reason to believe they exist.  Not only does string theory tell us that they must exist, but even how we can find them.

Problem is, we don't have the engineering ability just yet to see if they are actually there.  A current project is supposed to be completed in 2007 to be able to detect them, I believe in France.

If gravitons exist and behave like we expect them to, I'd say that's a pretty good test validating string theory.

So, it's been 12 years after 2007, did we prove that gravitons exist?

Actually I never watch Star Wars and not interested in it anyway, but I choose a Yoda card as my avatar in honor of our great friend bobbym who has passed away.
May his adventurous soul rest in peace at heaven.

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## #10 2019-12-06 20:43:30

ganesh
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 37,965

### Re: String Theory Just Wasted Effort?

The graviton is a hypothetical particle which is thought to be responsible for carrying the force of gravity, in analogy to the photon, which is responsible for communicating all electromagnetic forces. Like a photon, it is a massless particle. However it is a spin 2 particle rather than a spin 1 particle.

When certain elementary particles move through a magnetic field, they are deflected in a manner that suggests they have the properties of little magnets. In the classical world, a charged, spinning object has magnetic properties that are very much like those exhibited by these elementary particles. Physicists love analogies, so they described the elementary particles too in terms of their 'spin.'

"Unfortunately, the analogy breaks down, and we have come to realize that it is misleading to conjure up an image of the electron as a small spinning object. Instead we have learned simply to accept the observed fact that the electron is deflected by magnetic fields. If one insists on the image of a spinning object, then real paradoxes arise; unlike a tossed softball, for instance, the spin of an electron never changes, and it has only two possible orientations. In addition, the very notion that electrons and protons are solid 'objects' that can 'rotate' in space is itself difficult to sustain, given what we know about the rules of quantum mechanics. The term 'spin,' however, still remains."

Despite being widely accepted to exist by physicists and astronomers, direct detection of a graviton is unlikely to ever happen. Gravity is an incredibly weak force (compared to the other fundamental forces) which means that the particles that transfer it only interact very weakly with matter. As all experiments ultimately rely on interactions with matter, this means that an experiment sensitive enough to directly detect gravitons is practically impossible. However, we are able to infer information about gravitons by indirect methods, such as measuring gravitational waves. For instance, LIGO's first detection was used to estimate an upper limit on the graviton's mass of

kg.

(LIGO : The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a large-scale physics experiment and observatory to detect cosmic gravitational waves and to develop gravitational-wave observations as an astronomical tool.)

It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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