Jonathan Bui

Robert Ross

May 2015

Going Deeper: Strings

Abstract

For some time before string theory, an early 20th century postulation, scientists had already had reason to believe subatomic particles had existed. This report discusses how the advent of string theory expanded the quantum field drastically and revolutionized our understanding of spatial reality although with much revision. One of these revisions examined in this article is the inaptly yet intentionally named M-theory, which was the revolutionary postulation for the past couple of generations of physicists. Between the early decades of the 20th century and our times, other areas of quantum research have also developed which has resulted in criticism of M-theory.

The Origins and Basics of String Theory

The importance of quantum theoretical and research sciences are needless to say the hurdles and frontiers of science yesterday, today, and for the foreseeable future.

Quantum mechanics by definition involve and govern everything in the Universe, from the forces, energy, matter and so on. Because the subject matter is so simple, yet as a consequence, is random and impossible to predict and is as nearly impossible to observe, at least directly. This is where String-theory its derivatives and adjustments attempt to give order and explanations to our Universe where there is none to be had.

String theory at its core concerns the most infinitesimally small particles which are described as strings. Much like a line, strings have only one dimension as opposed to other zero dimensional subatomic particles such as quarks or electrons. This was postulated in 1984 as part of an effort to unify relativity and quantum mechanics. The complexity of the space-time continuum is tantamount to the nature and organization of

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sub-atomic particles. Thus, one can imagine combining of an ordered object with a complete mess into a greater and orderly whole as the basis of string theory. What exactly happened in 1984 was that John Schwarz, a university researcher, found that instead of those zero dimensional particles being the most basic particles, he proposed that they are actually comprised of vibrating strings which determine mass, charge, spin, and so on. This was determined indirectly as the particle accelerators at the time and even modern ones could only measure some millions of magnitude in size greater than the supposed dimensions of a string.1 Twenty years before Schwarz, in the 1960’s,

Steven Frautschi and Geoffrey Che w found a curiosity with mathematical proofs and evaluating kinematic factors of various categories of subatomic particles. These were spectrums of fermions and bosons with hadron characteristics, being that they consisted of quarks, gluons, and antiquarks, which are broad terms for specific subatomic particles such as electrons, protons, mesons, or the Higgs boson for example. As a side note which will have relevance later on, fermions are particles which carry mass, while bosons are particles which carry energy. The quantified data studied of these particles were the momentum of a certain particle in their particle spectrum of excited levels as a result of past and ongoing quark collision experiments in their integer or half integer of spin magnitude and the net squared mass, measured in energy electron volts as per the

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mass-energy equivalence found in Einstein’s E=mc equation. As a side note, the

momentum was quantized, meaning it was not directly observed. Instead, quantum mechanics are applied to classical momentum equations, substituting particle

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“Hanging by a String”

Vol. 45 Issue 9

(New York:Smithsonian Magazine:2015),2190

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“operators” for the original variables. These operators are characteristics that act on the particle but do not represent the particle directly. An example of this procedure was the collision and scatter of pi mesons and rho mesons in a way that would yield the