Message boards : LHC@home Science : String theory will finally get its day in scientific court
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Message 16280 - Posted: 9 Feb 2007, 2:24:06 UTC

SCOTT LaFEE
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San Diego Union-Tribune

February 8, 2007

In science, anything worth talking about must be testable. That is, I can blather all I want about extraterrestrial life in the universe, but unless and until I can test for it, I'm not talking science.

This demand for empirical proof has long undermined one of the more compelling ideas in physics, the one about the building blocks of the universe not being particles of matter or energy, but rather tiny, one-dimensional filaments called strings.

The big problem with string theory, sometimes grandly dubbed the “theory of everything,” has been that it has not been testable. Physicists have debated endlessly about how these strings might behave, about the possibility of 10 or more dimensions, about all manner of mind-bending stuff, but they have always lacked the means to prove or disprove their predictions.

That may change later this year when a new particle smasher called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) comes on line at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, or CERN, in Switzerland.

The collider will be able to measure how subatomic particles called W bosons scatter in high-energy collisions created within the accelerator. W bosons are notable because they possess a property called the weak force, which provides a fundamental way for particles to interact with each other.

String theory makes specific predictions about how W bosons should scatter. With the LHC in mind, researchers at UCSD, the University of Texas at Austin and Carnegie Mellon University have devised a test to see if those predictions are actually based in reality.

“If the test does not find what the theory predicts about W boson scattering,” said UCSD physics professor Benjamin Grinstein, “it would be evidence that one of string theory's key mathematical assumptions is violated. In other words, string theory – as articulated in its current form – would be proven impossible.”
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Message 16433 - Posted: 28 Feb 2007, 12:41:54 UTC
Last modified: 28 Feb 2007, 12:46:35 UTC

Umm... String Theory...

I love it and I hate it. I love it best in its popular (Ed Witten M theory) 11 dimension version, because 11 is my lucky number. Oh, but for sake of mercy!!! Even quantum mechanics at it base is still "rashy" and "itchy". String Theory (or sometimes certain physicist insist calling it "Super String Theory") is reminiscent of a bad scene from one of the Matrix movies. Or, if you're familiar with Aqua Teen Hunger Force, you will realize that String Theory predicts that "the bun is in your mind."

I want to believe the basic ideas of String Theory like I want Jesus to save me from this insane World. I'm a Christian who's low on faith, so I hope String Theory will rescue us from our ignorance before the second coming of Christ..... otherwise, I'm out of here.



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"Three quarks for Muster Mark!"
. . . . . . . - James Joyce, Finnegans Wake . . . .

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Message 17586 - Posted: 28 Jul 2007, 14:00:15 UTC - in response to Message 16280.  

“If the test does not find what the theory predicts about W boson scattering,” said UCSD physics professor Benjamin Grinstein, “it would be evidence that one of string theory's key mathematical assumptions is violated.”[/quote]

But on the other hand ... it would help if the findings match the theory. I find string theory compelling on a visceral level.
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Message 17588 - Posted: 28 Jul 2007, 20:32:17 UTC - in response to Message 17586.  

“If the test does not find what the theory predicts about W boson scattering,” said UCSD physics professor Benjamin Grinstein, “it would be evidence that one of string theory's key mathematical assumptions is violated.”
But on the other hand ... it would help if the findings match the theory.
How soon can this W boson test be conducted? Is it on the LHC to-do list? Can Fermilab, or old CERN, etc. conduct this experiment?



Ariel: Certified "Too Cute for LHC" Cruncher!


. . . . . . . . . . . . -- Consider the lilies.
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Message 18618 - Posted: 19 Nov 2007, 22:46:38 UTC

There's another theory the LHC will be able to test, according to The Register.

Don't ask me for any further comment, I'll just slip quietly out this side door and let the mathematicians and physicists fight it out.
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Message boards : LHC@home Science : String theory will finally get its day in scientific court


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