Can String Theory Survive Complete Falsification?
Pp. 42-47 (6)
Moataz H. Emam
The current pursuit of a complete theory of physics, one that incorporates both general relativity and the Standard Model , is wholly based on the power of pure thought. The lack of experimental verification and guidance has forced physicists to explore, and indeed expand, the vast mathematical landscape in search of ideas, one of which happens to be the staggeringly large edifice known as superstring theory. Many of us have specialized into some remote corner of this landscape with little or no hope of that corner ever making contact with reality. So certain questions naturally arise: Why are we doing this? Why is this theory of strings so attractive that, against all odds, it has survived for decades as an active field of physics research? In this article I ask this question, and discuss those achievements of string theory that may just be enough to allow it to survive, even if completely falsified as an explanation of nature.
Department of Physics, State University of New York College at Cortland