Using Bosons to Test String Theory

Theoretical Physicists Develop Test for String Theory. ‘For decades, many scientists have criticized string theory, pointing out that it does not make predictions by which it can be tested. Now, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University; the University of California, San Diego; and The University of Texas at Austin have developed a test of string theory. Their test, described in the Jan. 26 Physical Review Letters, involves measurements of how elusive high-energy particles scatter during particle collisions. Most physicists believe that collisions will be observable at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is set to turn on later this year at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, commonly known as CERN. “Our work shows that, in principle, string theory can be tested in a nontrivial way,” explained Ira Rothstein, co-author of the paper and professor of physics at Carnegie Mellon.
Rothstein and colleagues Jacques Distler, professor of physics at The University of Texas at Austin; Benjamin Grinstein, professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego; and Carnegie Mellon graduate student Rafael Porto developed their test based on studies of how strongly W bosons scatter in high-energy particle collisions generated within a particle accelerator. W bosons are special because they carry a property called the weak force, which provides a fundamental way for particles to interact with one another.’

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