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olegt



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Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Jan. 22 2011,19:41   

Quote (Kris @ Jan. 22 2011,19:09)
I'm curious about how you or anyone else here would answer this question: Is String Theory science?

String theory as we know it today is not a scientific theory. It is not yet able to make testable predictions for experiments. There are some hunches that string theorists have thrown out there but they are not themselves certain about them. Such as if the extra dimensions are sufficiently large then there may be certain signatures that could be observed at the LHC. No one knows why those extra dimension would be large and simple guesses (in essence, dimensional analysis) indicate that they shouldn't be, so there you have it.

Here is Brian Greene, a string theorist at Columbia, in a 2006 New York Times editorial:

Quote
To be sure, no one successful experiment would establish that string theory is right, but neither would the failure of all such experiments prove the theory wrong. If the accelerator experiments fail to turn up anything, it could be that we need more powerful machines; if the astronomical observations fail to turn up anything, it could mean the effects are too small to be seen. The bottom line is that it's hard to test a theory that not only taxes the capacity of today's technology, but is also still very much under development.

Some critics have taken this lack of definitive predictions to mean that string theory is a protean concept whose advocates seek to step outside the established scientific method. Nothing could be further from the truth. Certainly, we are feeling our way through a complex mathematical terrain, and no doubt have much ground yet to cover. But we will hold string theory to the usual scientific standard: to be accepted, it must make predictions that are verified.


Yes, they are working on it, but so far they don't have much to run tests.

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