string theory

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string theory,

description of elementary particleselementary particles,
the most basic physical constituents of the universe. Basic Constituents of Matter

Molecules are built up from the atom, which is the basic unit of any chemical element. The atom in turn is made from the proton, neutron, and electron.
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 based on one-dimensional curves, or "strings," instead of point particles. Superstring theory, which is string theory that contains a kind of symmetry known as supersymmetrysupersymmetry,
in physics, theory concerning the relationship of the elementary particles called boson to those known as fermions, and vice versa, and linking the four fundamental forces.
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, has been seen by some physicists as a way of unifying the four known fundamental forces of nature, but a lack of evidence for supersymmetric particles, especially in the experiments conducted by the Large Hadron Collider, has called supersymmetry into question. The strings are embedded in a space-timespace-time,
central concept in the theory of relativity that replaces the earlier concepts of space and time as separate absolute entities. In relativity one cannot uniquely distinguish space and time as elements in descriptions of events.
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 having as many as 10 dimensions—the three ordinary dimensions plus time and seven compactified dimensions. The energy-scale at which the stringlike properties would become evident is so high that it is currently unclear how any of the forms of the theory could be tested.


See P. C. W. Davies and J. Brown, ed., Superstrings (1988); L. Smolin, The Trouble with Physics (2006).

string theory

A theory of elementary particles based on the idea that the fundamental entities are not pointlike particles but finite lines, known as strings, or closed loops formed by strings (see also cosmic strings). Incorporating the concept of strings into supersymmetry has led to superstring theory, in which all the fundamental forces are unified at the Planck time using a multidimensional framework called a superstring; this is still a highly speculative theory.

string theory

The belief that all physical matter is made up of vibrating elements called "strings." Officially known as "superstring theory," it differs from traditional physics, in which all matter is made up of ball-like particles.