Schläft ein Lied in allen Dingen
Die da träumen fort und fort,
Und die Welt hebt an zu singen,
Triffst du nur das Zauberwort.
(Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff)
Sleeps a song inside all things
Dreaming in the spellbound world
That will waken up to sing,
You just find the magic word.
(Proverbs. Sentence poem by Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff)
Please don't copy without permission. Copyright © 2010 Brainstorming Ideas.)
String theory — science or philosophy?
I’m going look at it from a philosophical or even romantic point of view. This theory especially appeals to me because it’s based on a very musical idea — strings, and ‘music’, as Nietzsche put it, ‘is the true Idea of the World’ or in other words ‘world is materialised music’ (Schopenhauer).
String theory is widely considered to be the first candidate for the theory of everything (TOE) that would describe the known fundamental forces (gravitational, electromagnetic, weak and strong interactions) and matter (quarks and leptons) in a mathematically complete system. However, it doesn’t provide any quantitative experimental predictions. It seems that, like any other quantum theory of gravity, testing the theory directly would require prohibitively expensive or technically impossible feats of engineering (and thanks God for that). Whether the theory can be tested indirectly is anybody’s guess.
String oscillations, in the absence of external interactions, are governed by tension and kinetic energy and take on the whole spectrum of discrete vibrational modes. Each oscillation mode produces a different type of particle, with the string’s dance determining its mass, spin and charge. When the strings start to waltz with each other, splitting and recombining, it translates into particle emission and absorption.
Just like a guitar string that produces different musical notes depending on how you pluck them, each note corresponds to a particle.
‘Music is the subtlest form of the movement of matter.’ Paganini
In fact, cosmological strings could be any dimension and vibrate in any direction, with particles travelling through our or any other dimension.
In most string theories graviton (quantum of gravity) is a closed string mode, and photon is an open string mode, but two ends of an open string can meet and thus form a closed string. Along the same lines, I’d hazard a suggestion that closed strings can open and form open strings. Some theories that include fermionic vibrations are called superstring theories, but they’re probably just different limits of M-theory.
M-theory offers a new insight into the structure of the world: the visible, four-dimensional universe is contained in a brane inside a higher-dimensional space, although additional dimensions can be compacted within the visible universe.
Another attractive feature is the concept of D-branes — membranes of different dimensionality (from a zero dimensional membrane — a point — and upwards to 2-dimensional membranes, 3-dimensional volumes, etc).
D-branes kind of define worldsheet (two-dimensional manifold that describes the embedding of the string in spacetime, similar to the worldline of a particle in special and general relativity) boundaries, they can emit and absorb closed strings; therefore they have mass (since they emit gravitons) and — in superstring theories — charge as well (since they emit closed strings which are gauge bosons).
Plus, the ends of open strings are attached to them, and the collision of D-branes may result in the creation of another universe, just like ours.
I’ve already mentioned it as an alternative to the Big Bang theory before.
Still the same old question rears its ugly head: who created all these dimensions, branes, universes and strings and, once again, what was before them? What’s in between the branes? Dark energy and/or dark matter? The never-ending story.
In a way this theory confirms my intuitive awareness of the intrinsic musicality of the world, universes and all the stuff it encompasses, which leads me to deduce that disharmony is contradictory and hostile to its very nature. Keep in mind that this only regards the impartial and indifferent universe, the world of humans and other living creatures (or life in general) is a different story.
(You can ask your questions, submit answers and vote on the answers you think are the best in the Get Answers gadget below the posts. Just sign in first with GFC (the 'Follow' button) right above the gadget.)