No Such Thing As a One-Ended String

I am beginning a small bout of learning, if that is possible, into what is called “string theory” (there is a nice article here, which summarizes the basics at the bottom). I’m learning about it, because there is so much controversy directed at it. On the one hand, it is a contender for The Theory Which Explains Everything (Ultimately). Yet, there is (after over 40 years of theorizing) no documentable proof of its existence. This would be a question of trivia were this theory not so heavily influential – and invested into – within academia (particularly in America’s most elite universities), where there is growing concern that this theory has become a self-propelling conceptual vehicle which is capable of using unanswered questions of its existence to justify its existence.

I once chatted up someone who revealed himself to be a retired physics professor, and the subject of string theory came up. He smirked and said dryly, “String theory is a cult, waiting for its Jonestown.”

How could I not take that as a cue to learn more?


2 Replies to “No Such Thing As a One-Ended String”

  1. Why? Because I want to have a better idea of what the controversy is truly about, factually.

    Science has done a horrible job of making itself understandable to the general public (arguments about the general public's level of education set aside), and – if the allegations are true (namely, that string theory represents a 20+ year dead end in experimental physics) – I think more could be done not only to attempt to explain what the problem is, in layman's terms, but to promote a better understanding of science in general.

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