String Theory... is it?

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Anglocowboy

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Why is String "Theory" given credence as an actual theory? Have we any means to prove or disprove it?&nbsp; I know that a theory by it's very nature is unproven, but to be a theory, isn't there supposed to be some means of putting it to the test? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> "Make like Siamese twins and split... and then one of you die." </div>
 
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centsworth_II

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<p><font color="#333399"><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Why is String "Theory" given credence as an actual theory?<br /> Posted by Anglocowboy</DIV></font></p><p>It's certainly not seen as a real theory by everyone.&nbsp; Many scientists do not consider it a real scientific theory at all for the reason you state: it cannot be tested.&nbsp; But it is very attractive as a potential mathematical and philosophical model of reality, not that that makes it a theory. Those who wish to see it as a scientific theory are up against the wall when it comes to finding a string "theory" prediction that can be tested.&nbsp; </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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KickLaBuka

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<p>An interesting (and frustrating) read is that of Lee Smolin, <u>The Trouble With Physics</u>.&nbsp; He was a string theorist himself for over fifteen years.&nbsp; In his book, he lays out the basics of the string theory and shows his problems with quantum mechanics and general relativity, as well as peer review.&nbsp; The book is frustrating because it does not end with closure, but if you can spare the energy required to read it, the question of string theory goes away on its own.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>-KickLaBuka</p> </div>
 
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baulten

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>It's certainly not seen as a real theory by everyone.&nbsp; Many scientists do not consider it a real scientific theory at all for the reason you state: it cannot be tested.&nbsp; But it is very attractive as a potential mathematical and philosophical model of reality, not that that makes it a theory. Those who wish to see it as a scientific theory are up against the wall when it comes to finding a string "theory" prediction that can be tested.&nbsp; <br /> Posted by centsworth_II</DIV></p><p>To be more specific, I think current models of string theory are untestable under realisticly achievable situations.&nbsp; I believe one estimate was energy levels equal to the mass of Jupiter to directly detect strings.</p><p>However, string theorists are working dilligently toward putting forth testable theories. </p>
 
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DrRocket

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Why is String "Theory" given credence as an actual theory? Have we any means to prove or disprove it?&nbsp; I know that a theory by it's very nature is unproven, but to be a theory, isn't there supposed to be some means of putting it to the test? <br />Posted by Anglocowboy</DIV></p><p>String theory is not a useful physical theory -- yet, and perhaps never.&nbsp; It is an attempt to produce a theory that is mathematically self-consistent and that includes the known quantum theories (the electroweak theory and quantum chromodynamics) and also general relativity.&nbsp; It has not achieved that goal so far.</p><p>Before it, or any competing theory, is accepted as a real physical theory it will have to make predictions that can be tested through observation and experiment.</p><p>String theory, and its progeny, such as M theory, offer the possibility of a breakthrough in understanding of elementary particle physics and of gravity. It remains to be seen whether that possibility is realized.</p><p>One problem that has occurred in recent years with the commercial success of popularizations of research physics is a confusion between what are established physical theories, with proven predictive power and hypothesis and tentative notions on the cutting edge of research in fundamental physics.&nbsp; String theory is in the nature of a hypothesis and research area.&nbsp; It is far from an accepted theory.&nbsp; <br /></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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vastbluesky92

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I've always tended to think of it as a mathematical theory but definitely not a physical one. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>--____________________________________________--</p><p><font size="1"> Don't be too hard on me...I'm only in PHY 1010 ;)</font></p><p> </p><p><font color="#339966">         The following goes without saying:</font> </p> </div>
 
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