Foundations of Physics

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 182–200 | Cite as

String and M-Theory: Answering the Critics

  • M. J. DuffEmail author


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 



I am grateful to Phil Gibbs for useful discussions. The author is supported in part by the STFC under rolling Grant No. ST/G000743/1.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Blackett LaboratoryImperial College LondonLondonUK

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