Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Strings Unknot Problems in Particle Theory, Black Holes," by James Glanz. Science, 27 June 1997, pages 1969-1970.

This article discusses ways in which string theory is being used to approach some important problems in physics. String theory posits that matter is made up of ten-dimensional loops of "string"; fundamental particles are identified with the vibrational harmonics of the strings. One of the main problems with the Standard Model of particle physics is that the rules of quantum mechanics cause the model to "explode with `infinities'," as the article puts it. String theorists have pointed the way to a possible solution to this problem. Another problem to which string theory is being applied is the question of what happens to information trapped inside a black hole.

--- Allyn Jackson