Physicists create string theory test

Feb. 1, 2007 at 1:55 PM

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Scientists have long questioned the validity of "string theory" and now U.S. physicists have created a test for the controversial "theory of everything."

String theory contends the fundamental forces and matter of nature can be reduced to tiny one-dimensional filaments called strings -- but no test exists for the predictions stemming from the premise.

Now researchers at the University of California-San Diego, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Texas at Austin have developed a test that involves measuring how elusive high-energy particles scatter during particle collisions.

"Our work shows that, in principle, string theory can be tested in a non-trivial way," said Carnegie Mellon Professor Ira Rothstein.

Some physicists believe such collisions will be observable at the Large Hadron Collider, a subatomic particle collider to begin operating later this year in Europe.

Professor Jacques Distler of the University of Texas at Austin; Professor Benjamin Grinstein at University of California-San Diego, Carnegie Mellon graduate student Rafael Porto and Rothstein developed the test based on studies of how strongly force-carrying particles called W bosons scatter in high-energy particle collisions.

The test is detailed in the Jan. 26 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.

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