Foundations of Physics

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 182-200

First online:

String and M-Theory: Answering the Critics

  • M. J. DuffAffiliated withThe Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London Email author 

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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.


String theory M-theory