No announcement yet.

Chapter 12: Notes

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Chapter 12: Notes

    Table of Contents
    .......The Elegant Universe
    THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE, Brian Greene, 1999, 2003
    ```(annotated and with added bold highlights by Epsilon=One)

    Chapter 12: Notes
    1. Albert Einstein, as quoted in John D. Barrow, Theories of Everything (New York: Fawcett-Columbine, 1992), p. 13. Return to Text

    2. Let's briefly summarize the differences between the five string theories. To do so, we note that vibrational disturbances along a loop of string can travel clockwise or counterclockwise. The Type IIA and Type IIB strings differ in that in the latter theory, these clockwise/counterclockwise vibrations are identical, while in the former, they are exactly opposite in form. Opposite has a precise mathematical meaning in this context, but it's easiest to think about in terms of the spins of the resulting vibrational patterns in each theory. In the Type IIB theory, it turns out that all particles spin in the same direction (they have the same chirality), whereas in the Type IIA theory, they spin in both directions (they have both chiralities). Nevertheless, each theory incorporates supersymmetry. The two heterotic theories differ in a similar but more dramatic way. Each of their clockwise string vibrations looks like those of the Type II string (when focusing on just the clockwise vibrations, the Type IIA and Type IIB theories are the same), but their counterclockwise vibrations are those of the original bosonic string theory. Although the bosonic string has insurmountable problems when chosen for both clockwise and counterclockwise string vibrations, in 1985 David Gross, Jeffrey Harvey, Emil Martinec, and Ryan Rhom (all then at Princeton University and dubbed the "Princeton String Quartet") showed that a perfectly sensible theory emerges if it is used in combination with the Type II string. The really odd feature of this union is that it has been known since the work of Claude Lovelace of Rutgers University in 1971 and the work of Richard Brower of Boston University, Peter Goddard of Cambridge University, and Charles Thorn of the University of Florida at Gainesville in 1972 that the bosonic string requires a 26-dimensional spacetime, whereas the superstring, as we have discussed, requires a 10-dimensional one. So the heterotic string constructions are a strange hybrid—a heterosis—in which counterclockwise vibrational patterns live in 26 dimensions and clockwise patterns live in 10 dimensions! Before you get caught up in trying to make sense of this perplexing union, Gross and his collaborators showed that the extra 16 dimensions on the bosonic side must be curled up into one of two very special higher-dimensional doughnutlike shapes, giving rise to the Heterotic-O and Heterotic-E theories. Since the extra 16 dimensions on the bosonic side are rigidly curled up, each of these theories behaves as though it really has 10 dimensions, just as in the Type II case. Again, both heterotic theories incorporate a version of supersymmetry. Finally, the Type I theory is a close cousin of the Type IIB string except that, in addition to the closed loops of string we have discussed in previous chapters, it also has strings with unconnected ends—so-called open strings. Return to Text

    3. When we speak of "exact" answers in this chapter, such as the "exact" motion of the earth, what we really mean is the exact prediction for some physical quantity within some chosen theoretical framework. Until we truly have the final theory—perhaps we now do, perhaps we never will—all of our theories will themselves be approximations to reality. But this notion of approximate has nothing to do with our discussion in this chapter. Here we are concerned with the fact that within a chosen theory, it is often difficult, if not impossible, to extract the exact predictions that the theory makes. Instead, we have to extract such predictions using approximation methods based on a perturbative approach. Return to Text

    4. These diagrams are string theory versions of the so-called Feynman diagrams, invented by Richard Feynman for performing perturbative calculations in point-particle quantum field theory. Return to Text

    5. More precisely, every virtual string pair, that is, every loop in a given diagram, contributes—among other more complicated terms—a multiplicative factor of the string coupling constant. More loops translate into more factors of the string coupling constant. If the string coupling constant is less than 1, repeated multiplications make the overall contribution ever smaller; if it is 1 or larger, repeated multiplications yield a contribution with the same or larger magnitude. Return to Text

    6. For the mathematically inclined reader, we note that the equation states that spacetime must admit a Ricci-flat metric. If we split spacetime into a Cartesian product of four-dimensional Minkowski spacetime and a six-dimensional compact Kahler space, Ricci-flatness is equivalent to the latter being a Calabi-Yau manifold. This is why Calabi-Yau spaces play such a prominent role in string theory. Return to Text

    7. Of course, nothing absolutely ensures that these indirect approaches are justified. For example, just as some faces are not left-right symmetric, it might be that the laws of physics are different in other far-flung regions of the universe, as we will discuss briefly in Chapter 14. Return to Text

    8. The expert reader will recognize that these statements require so-called N=2 supersymmetry. Return to Text

    9. To be a little more precise, if we call the Heterotic-O coupling constant g„,, and the Type I coupling constant g,, then the relation between the two theories states that they are physically identical so long as g = 1/g,, which is equivalent to g, = 1/gf1„. When one coupling constant is big the other is small. Return to Text

    10. This is a close analog of the R, 1/R duality discussed previously. If we call the Type IIB string coupling constant g„, then the statement that appears to be true is that the values g„, and 1/g1, describe the same physics. If ga is big, 1/g119 is small, and vice versa. Return to Text

    11. If all but four dimensions are curled up, a theory with more than eleven total dimensions necessarily gives rise to massless particles with spin greater than 2, something that both theoretical and experimental considerations rule out. Return to Text

    12. A notable exception is the important 1987 work of Duff, Paul Howe, Takeo Inami, and Kelley Stelle in which they drew on earlier insights of Eric Bergshoeff, Ergin Sezgin, and Townsend to argue that ten-dimensional string theory should have a deep eleven-dimensional connection. Return to Text

    13. More precisely, this diagram should be interpreted as saying that we have a single theory that depends on a number of parameters. The parameters include coupling constants as well as geometrical size and shape parameters. In principle, we should be able to use the theory to calculate particular values for all of these parameters—a particular value for its coupling constant and a particular form for the spacetime geometry—but within our current theoretical understanding, we do not know how to accomplish this. And so, to understand the theory better string theorists study its properties as the values of these parameters are varied over all possibilities. If the parameter values are chosen to lie in any of the six peninsular regions of Figure 12.11, the theory has the properties inherent to one of the five string theories, or to eleven-dimensional supergravity, as marked. If the parameter values are chosen to lie in the central region, the physics is governed by the still mysterious M-theory. Return to Text

    14. We should note, though, that even in the peninsular regions there are some exotic ways in which branes can have an effect on familiar physics. For example, it has been suggested that our three extended spatial dimensions might themselves be a three-brane that is large and unfurled. If so, as we go about our daily business we would be gliding through the interior of a three-dimensional membrane. Investigations of such possibilities are now being undertaken. Return to Text

    15. Interview with Edward Witten, May 11, 1998. Return to Text
    Table of Contents
    .......The Elegant Universe