, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 182-200
Date: 30 Nov 2011

String and M-Theory: Answering the Critics

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Abstract

Using as a springboard a three-way debate between theoretical physicist Lee Smolin, philosopher of science Nancy Cartwright and myself, I address in layman’s terms the issues of why we need a unified theory of the fundamental interactions and why, in my opinion, string and M-theory currently offer the best hope. The focus will be on responding more generally to the various criticisms. I also describe the diverse application of string/M-theory techniques to other branches of physics and mathematics which render the whole enterprise worthwhile whether or not “a theory of everything” is forthcoming.

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10701-012-9696-y.