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Old 05-03-2014, 04:48 AM
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Default M-Theory and the Merging of All Forces

Table of Contents
.......The Elegant Universe
THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE, Brian Greene, 1999, 2003
```(annotated and with added bold highlights by Epsilon=One)
Chapter 14 - Reflections on Cosmology
M-Theory and the Merging of All Forces
In Figure 7.1 we showed how the strengths of the three nongravitational couplings merge together when the temperature of the universe is high enough. How does the strength of the gravitational force fit into this picture? Before the emergence of M-theory, string theorists were able to show that with the simplest of choices for the Calabi-Yau component of space, the gravitational force almost, but not quite, merges with the other three, as shown in Figure 14.2. String theorists found that the mismatch could be avoided by carefully molding the shape of the chosen Calabi-Yau, among other tricks of the trade, but such after-the-fact fine tuning always makes a physicist uncomfortable. Since no one currently knows how to predict the precise form of the Calabi-Yau dimensions, it seems dangerous to rely upon solutions to problems that hinge so delicately on the fine details of their shape.

Figure 14.2 Within M-theory, the strengths of all four forces can naturally merge.
Witten has shown, however, that the second superstring revolution provides a far more robust solution. By investigating how the strengths of the forces vary when the string coupling constant is not necessarily small, Witten found that the gravitational force curve can be gently nudged to merge with the other forces, as in Figure 14.2, without any special molding of the Calabi-Yau portion of space. Although it is far too early to tell, this may indicate that cosmological unity is more easily achieved by making use of the larger framework of M-theory.

The developments discussed in this and the previous sections represent the first, somewhat tentative steps toward understanding the cosmological implications of string/M-theory. During the coming years, as the nonperturbative tools of string/M-theory are sharpened, physicists anticipate that some of the most profound insights will emerge from their application to cosmological questions.

But without currently having methods that are sufficiently powerful to understand cosmology according to string theory fully, it is worthwhile to think about some general considerations concerning the possible role of cosmology in the search for the ultimate theory. We caution that some of these ideas are of a more speculative nature than much of what we have discussed previously, but they do raise issues that any purported final theory may one day have to address.
Table of Contents
.......The Elegant Universe
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