Kenneth Kawamoto «String Theory» 2005.


String Theory

General relativity has yielded a wealth of insight into the Universe, the orbits of planets, the evolution of stars and galaxies, the Big Bang and recently observed black holes and gravitational lenses. However, the theory itself only works when we pretend that the Universe is purely classical and that quantum mechanics is not needed in our description of Nature.

String theory is believed to close this gap.

According to Einstein's theory, a relativistic equation has to use coordinates that have the proper Lorentz transformation properties. But then we have a problem, because a string oscillates in space and time, and as it oscillates, it sweeps out a two-dimensional surface in spacetime that we call a 'world sheet,' compared with the world line of a particle.

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In the nonrelativistic string, there was a clear difference between the space coordinate along the string, and the time coordinate. But in a relativistic string theory, we wind up having to consider the world sheet of the string as a two-dimensional spacetime of its own, where the division between space and time depends upon the observer.