This is an interesting, though complex, story!
Between the late eighties and the early 2000s I was totally into string theory. I was there for the five different theories, the bane worlds and M-theory that joined the five theories. The downfall of superstring theory, at least for myself, was only months away but, in reality, for myself anyway, was already happening due to a number of items.
I had no issue with string theory’s biggest problem, which was that it could not make any predictions that
could readily be tested. Because I was a ‘believer’, I even had my own arguments for this quandary. They went like this: in fact, there were predictions strings could make… it’s just that Relativity and/or quantum mechanics and/or QED had already made these predictions and lab tests had already confirmed them. Not only did it sound good, it was true…for instance, ‘strings’ could absolutely predict gravity but so could an apple.
The first crack in my stringy beliefs was no more than just an uneasy feeling I got when I heard Mr. Stringman himself–Brian Green—pronounce, “(string theory) is too elegant to be wrong.” OK, I’ve been sitting here for many minutes trying and I cannot explain why this hit me as so wrong.
There were other minor things—especially ‘M-Theory’ that supposedly explained the five different string theories but not, it seemed, itself. However, the absolute showstopper was the big lie and I’m just now realizing it’s something that’s going to be a little hard to explain but I’ll do my best.
One bedrock of any theory’s reliability is the level to which the math behind it is finite. That is to say, it produces few or no infinities. It’s called or referred to as the theory’s ‘level of approximation’. The leading contenders in quantum physics—superstrings and Loop Quantum Gravity (LQG)—had both been proven ‘finite’. Article after article since the mid-80s had stated that the superstring theory was proven finite. That foundation supporting string theory, after all these years, was simply a given or, so they said.
…around 2002 a physicist named Lee Smolin—a giant in the field–was asked to write a report on the state of all the different quantum theories now on the table and, to make a long story short, he discovered that no one had ever proven any of the five string theories to be finite! To my knowledge, no one has done it yet. Evidently, someone, somewhere, at some time had just stated this and everyone had just jumped on board–unbelievable!
Upon discovering this, personally, I pretty much gave the big finger to string theory.
Understand that I had based The Spiral Slayers universe on string theory! Bane worlds were playing key parts in the story. I almost completely give up on the story…hell, I almost decided to chuck science and writing sci-fi completely. When a pet theory, one you’ve devoted decades to studying, supporting and believing in turns sour…you basically go through the 5 phases of grief. I went into a deep depression and stopped all work on The Spiral Slayers book, the trailer and definitely on my reading of science books.
Of course I bounced back (I’m the original bounce back kid). In the next post, the direction I took.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year