Research on string theory continues to be funded by the EU
Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (AEI) is one of the two best EU network projects AEI confirmed as an internationally leading center for gravitational physics.
The two EU networks "Superstring Theory" and "Forces Universe" have now been evaluated as the two best networks among some 650 applicants. The MPI for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, AEI) plays a leading role in both networks, in which research into string theory is being advanced. Superstring theory, often just called string theory, is the main candidate for a TOE (Theory of Everything). It aims to unify the two main pillars of modern physics: general relativity, which is valid for structures on a large scale, and quantum field theory, which is applied in the microcosm.
The "Superstring Theory" network (14 partners) will thus receive further funding of around 3 million euros, including around 300,000 euros for the AEI. Among the research partners of this project, which runs from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2008, are Chalmers University of Technology (Gothenburg), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the universities of Amsterdam, Cambridge, Crete, Rome, Uppsala, Utrecht, Cyprus, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and King's College London.
The "ForcesUniverse" network with its 25 partners is also being funded with around 3 million euros. The AEI will receive around 27,000 euros of this from November 1, 2004 to October 31, 2008. The partners in this project include the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, the universities of Barcelona, Turin, Leuven, Neuchatel, Patras, Utrecht, Bonn, Iceland, Padua, Milan, Brussels, Edinburgh, Craiova, TH Zurich, CNRS Paris, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) Madrid, Nordisk Institut Copenhagen.
Prof. Hermann Nicolai, Director at the AEI: “In recent years we have already participated in EU networks on string theory and superstring theory. The two new projects are particularly concerned with the further investigation of superstring theory and thus ‘what holds the world together at its core’. We are very happy that we can now further expand the cooperation with our European partners. In particular, we are of course delighted that both proposals, which were developed with our participation, were evaluated as the two best proposals ever”.
Superstring theory is currently the most promising candidate for formulating a theory of quantum gravity that includes the standard model of quantum field theory and general relativity as borderline cases, but overcomes their seemingly irreconcilable mathematical contradictions.
Superstring theory, often just called string theory, is the main candidate for a TOE (Theory of Everything). The term superstring theory is used to express that an important component of string theory is the so-called supersymmetry.
The goal is to unite the two main pillars of modern physics: General relativity, which is valid for structures on a large scale, and quantum field theory, which is applied in the microcosm.
The primary statement of string theory is that all kinds of elementary particles are nothing more than different excitation states of a single object, the so-called string. The strings of string theory are one-dimensional threads that vibrate like strings (hence the English name string) in a multi-dimensional space. Depending on which “frequency” (energy) and in which of the space dimensions the strings oscillate, they represent different elementary particles.
According to the ideas of string theorists, the observed particles such as electrons or quarks correspond to (almost) massless excitation states. It is particularly encouraging that one of these massless states has exactly the properties of the hitherto hypothetical elementary particle of gravity, the “graviton”. This ultimately means that superstring theory contains the gravitational interaction as a subsector. For this reason, the scientists expect that they will succeed in bringing together relativity theory and quantum theory.