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    Princeton physicists connect string theory with established physics
    Posted on Sunday, May 06, 2007 @ 22:29:57 GMT by vlad

    Science String theory, simultaneously one of the most promising and controversial ideas in modern physics, may be more capable of helping probe the inner workings of subatomic particles than was previously thought, according to a team of Princeton University scientists.

    The theory has been highly praised by some physicists for its potential to forge the long-sought link between gravity and the forces that dominate within the atomic nucleus. But the theory -- which posits that all subatomic particles are actually tiny "strings" that vibrate in different ways -- has also drawn criticism for being untestable in the laboratory, and perhaps impossible to connect with real-world phenomena.


    However, the Princeton researchers have found new mathematical evidence that some of string theory's predictions mesh closely with those of a well-respected body of physics called "gauge theory," which has been demonstrated to underlie the interactions among quarks and gluons, the vanishingly small objects that combine to form protons, neutrons and other, more exotic subatomic particles. The discovery, say the physicists, could open up a host of uses for string theory in attacking practical physics problems.

    "These problems include describing the interactions among the quarks within everyday atomic nuclei," said Igor Klebanov, the Thomas D. Jones Professor of Mathematical Physics at Princeton and an author of a recent paper on the subject. "We have previously been able to study these interactions in detail only at the high-energy conditions within particle accelerators, but with these findings we may be able to describe what's happening inside the atoms that make up rocks and trees. We cannot do so yet, but it appears that the math of string theory could be what we need to bridge this gap."

    The team's paper appears in the March 30 issue of the scientific journal Physical Review Letters. Klebanov's co-authors include graduate student Marcus Benna and postdoctoral fellows Sergio Benvenuti and Antonello Scardicchio...

    More: http://www.physorg.com/news97339219.html

     
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    "Princeton physicists connect string theory with established physics" | Login/Create an Account | 1 comment | Search Discussion
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    Testing the Equivalence Principle (Score: 1)
    by vlad on Monday, May 21, 2007 @ 21:42:16 GMT
    (User Info | Send a Message) http://www.zpenergy.com
    Standing on the Moon in 1971, Apollo 15 astronaut Dave Scott held his hands out at shoulder height, a hammer in one hand and a feather in the other. And as the world looked on via live television, he let go.

    It was an odd sight: the feather didn't drift to the ground, it plummeted, falling just as fast as the hammer. Without air resistance to slow the feather, the two objects hit moondust at the same instant ( Video [nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov]).
    ...
    But what if the equivalence principle (EP) is wrong?

    Galileo's experiments were only accurate to about 1%, leaving room for doubt, and skeptical physicists have been "testing EP" ever since. The best modern limits, based on, e.g., laser ranging of the Moon to measure how fast it falls around Earth [www.physorg.com], show that EP holds within a few parts in a trillion (1012). This is fantastically accurate, yet the possibility remains that the equivalence principle could fail at some more subtle level.

    "It's a possibility we must investigate," says physicist Clifford Will of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. "Discovering even the slightest difference in how gravity acts on objects of different materials would have enormous implications."

    In fact, it could provide the first real evidence for string theory. String theory elegantly explains fundamental particles as different vibrations of infinitesimal strings, and in doing so solves many lingering problems of modern physics. But string theory is highly controversial, in part because most of its predictions are virtually impossible to verify with experiments. If it's not testable, it's not science.

    The equivalence principle could offer one way to test string theory.

    Full story: http://www.physorg.com/news98974036.html [www.physorg.com]



     

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