Ongoing Progress in String Theory

In recent years string theory has been getting a lot of uninformed criticism about its supposed lack of progress towards the ultimate goal of a predictive theory that unifies the Standard Model and quantum gravity.   Postings on this blog will be devoted to answering this criticism by highlighting and discussing recent string theory research, describing the progress that is being made.

The most dramatic advance in our understanding of fundamental physics coming out of string theory has been the realization that our universe is built on just one out of an exponentially large number of possible string theory metastable vacuum states.  The theory of eternal inflation implies that we live in just one part of a multiverse containing regions with very different characteristics due to their very different vacuum states.  This multiverse picture explains why string theorists have found it so difficult to make predictions, since the quantities involved are environmental rather than fixed by the fundamental string theory.   This framework is described by Leonard Susskind as the “New Standard Model”, and as part of our discussion of progress in string theory, some postings will cover progress being made towards a predictive string theory-based multiverse framework.

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6 Responses to Ongoing Progress in String Theory

  1. Pingback: String Theory Fan « Not Even Wrong

  2. CIP says:

    Now you are showing the proper respect.

  3. Arun Gupta says:

    Shades of Galileo!


    The physicists in their studies transcribe
    formulae that define reality.
    Theirs is a cloistered yet secular tribe
    that daily deals with strict duality.
    Foremost, their math must be made to agree,
    precisely, with all that can be observed,
    though, often, what we are able to see
    can misinform; they must not be unnerved.
    To gain acceptance, they are overseen
    by peers and the harshly economic,
    while pressured to find covenant between
    the classical and the subatomic,
    and, though they cannot see their superstring,
    keep faith that it will answer everything.


    Physicists foresee a utopia
    (once they squint through micro-myopia)
    where all of the forces of nature should
    become unified and be understood.
    Even in science, letting go is hard,
    and notions are the hardest to divorce,
    but, to reach there, they’ll have to discard
    their classical point-particles of force.

    While Newton works large-scale, his physics fail,
    and even Einstein’s theories can’t subsist,
    when applied to the sub-atomic scale.
    The answers they produce just can’t exist.

    Particle physics, in quantum foam, sank,
    when its researchers walked the length of Planck.

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