Monday, June 20, 2005

Day 47

Finally finished reading my book on string theory, although I have to admit I did rather romp through the last third (unlike the first half, where I was dilligently checking all of the equations). I did end up with some sympathy with Penrose's position (chapter 31 of "The Road to Reality") that it's a cute theory but rather lacking in an obvious connection with reality (except in that it can reproduce the Standard Model—but then, so can the Standard Model).

The aspect I found particularly dubious is that the string theorists seem fond of proclaiming that string theory "predicts gravity". From what's covered in the book (which is admittedly only a beginners' guide), it's more the case that string theory has a traceless, symmetric, 2-index tensor field that can be put in correspondence with the linearized, source-free field equations.

Anyway, on to some abstract nonsense next.

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