191 – String Theory
Guests: Alexander Westphal Host: Markus Voelter Shownoter: Alexander Grote
String Theory is currently one of the most important theories in fundamental physics, with applications to a variety of subfields including black holes and cosmology, nuclear physics others. This episode is an introduction to the core ideas of the field, as well as to some of its applications. Our guest is Alexander Westphal of Germany’s particle physics lab DESY. He does a wonderful job of introducing the very abstract topic in a way that could be understood by non-physicists, at least to some degree.
Once again I forgot to mention those of you (listeners) who suggested questions, so I am doing it here: Stefan Hacker, Brent Knickerbocker, Christopher Schuster and David Liaromatis.
Introduction of Alexander Westphal and overview of the standard model00:03:15
Desy | Standard Model | Quantum field theory | Special relativity | Quantum chromodynamics | Quantum electrodynamics | Electroweak interaction
Limits of the standard model/ Gravity00:09:05
Radiative corrections | Pertubation Theory | Uncertainty priciple | Quantum fluctuations | General relativity | Quantum gravity
Origin of string theory00:15:45
Particle zoo | Strong interaction | Gauge theories | Quantum chromodynamics | Illustration of string (theory) vibration
Transtition to string theory00:20:35
Spin | Graviton | Kaluza-Klein Theory | Manifold | Cakabi-Yau Manifold | GUT | Holography | Black hole | Neutron star | Entropy | Spacetime | Spacetime duality | bosonic string theory | super string theory | M-theory | AdS/CFT correspondance | Soliton | cosmology inflation | cosmology inflation illustration | Scalar field theory | Planck scale
Research in string theory today02:03:15
great episode. I especially liked the depth of the discussion and the great questions asked.
Excellent episode, brilliant communicators, would be fantastic if Alexander could would enlighten us, on a more regular basis..Thanks guys
I will let him know of your idea :-)
Great episode, thanks!
I especially was happy about the epistemology-section, beginning at about 2h00m.
This topic was one of my wishes, which I expressed in the survey.
Thanks for picking this up. I also enjoyed the answers / discussion on that topic.
Only that this episode is much too long to fit into my normal listening-behaviour was a bit bad.
Nevertheless it was interesting. I already spread the links to this episode.
It was recorded before I saw your comment in the survey :-)
This was one of the best episodes yet. Mr. Westphal explained some concepts in ways I had not heard before. Despite the length of the interview, I will probably listen to it again. I give this episode 5 stars.
Wow, that was a really great episode covering a lot of ground. Compliments to Alexander Westphal for the tour de force, both presenting some of the intricate problems to be addressed by the theory while not losing view of the big picture. Definitely a teaser to go back to some of the related literature.
@MaNo: “It was recorded before I saw your comment in the survey :-)”
OK, wisely selected questions :-)
Regarding the epistemological parts of the interview, let’s throw in a link here about perception, ontology, science, …
Donald Hoffman: Do we see reality as it is? | TED Talk
… maybe Donald Hoffman may one day also be interviewed at Omega Tau?! :)
Thanks, I will look into him :-)
With “related literature” you mean real physics texts about ST? I wouldn’t understand a thing :-)
I liked it very much, interesting topic, at least for students who are interested in natural science. Good interview and interview partner.
One of my favorite episodes.
Wow – endlich mal ein Landsmann von Dir, der gut Englisch spricht. Aber um ganz ehrlich zu sein, das war mir zu hoch um mich beim Autofahren berieseln zu lassen! Aber es kann nicht immer für jeden was dabei sein!
Na komm, so schlimm waren die meisten anderen auch nicht :-)
Thank you – from my perspective one of the best podcast on omega tau.
Wow, very nice interview. At some points I had the feeling that Markus couldn’t follow any more, but then the next very good question came, invalidating that feeling. I didn’t really expect to hear such a nice description of inflation in an episode on string theory, either, but good that I did! Throughout I had the impression that an older person was talking, which I think he should take as a compliment.
It’s quite possible that I was temporarily lost :-) And who did you think was the old guy? Alexander?
@ MaNo With “related literature” I indeed mean actual physic texts ;) Does not necessarily mean to dive into the very specialised, front-line material (I think this would go way over my head), but some of the astro-particle-physics text books and overview articles (e.g. on arXiv) are a good starting point if you want a bit more of the mathematical framework.
Thanks Lars. I will read 10 or so papers tonight. Just joking :-)
Great episode. However this is a tough topic and the episode was really densely packed. I had to listen to it more than three times to get at least 90%.
Also I would really appreciate to here more of that.
For a lot of superficially mentioned aspects a separate Interview (maybe again with Alexander Westphal) could be done
Ein faszinierendes Thema zwischen Grundlagenwissenschaft und philosophischer Freiheit des Gedankens. Toll und unglaublich inspirierend – eine Vorstellungswelt, die so jeden gesunden Menschenverstand verlässt. Alexander Westphal hat hier Tiefen des Themas beschritten und zu erklären vermocht, die ich bisher nicht so kannte, obwohl ich mich auch schon eingehend mit dem Thema beschäftigt hatte (Brian Greene – Die verborgene Wirklichkeit).
Allerdings reicht mir ein Mal hören dieser Episode nicht wirklich… :)
Danke, Markus für immer wieder die richtigen Fragen!
Danke Jochen :-)
What an episode! One of the best there are. Especially the little drift-off at the end towards science and philosophy is very good. But also the rest of the episode is just brilliant.
wow, what a great episode, i understand it as an early x-mas present
Extremely thoughtful discussion that explains the status quo of mankinds scientific interpretation of the universe.
Amazing that Mr Westphal can talk so enthusiastically for over 2 hours without a break shows just how enthralling this subject is.
… especially considering that, as he said, he doesn’t to this very often :-)
A bit late with my review but I just wanted to tell you how much I liked the episode. Sure, it was not easy, my knowledge of quantum mechanic and cosmology is a bit rusted, so I listened it several times. But I think I’ve got the gist of it. The guy is very enthusiast and he knows how to explain such a complex subject in a very engaging and interesting way. Back to review some physics now!
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Thanks for the episode. :)
For a brief moment you were searching for a fiction book you thought to had been reminded of; you concluded on the Hitchhiker. Maybe you have been looking for a ancient TV movie:
Welt am Draht -> http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070904/ :)
I was really excited about the depth of the interview, the reference to epistemology and quantum computers. Thrilling.
Great episode! Accidently pressed 3 stars on my phine, sorry for that, meant to give 5! Thanks!
Ok, registered :-) Thx!
Great episode! Even if I thought as non-native speaker/listener I would not understand much about physics (coming from computer science), but I understood a lot and took a lot away thanks to to Alexander’s great explanations and the right questions! :-)