Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"The Frontier of Knowledge," by David Gross and Edward Witten. Editorial,Wall Street Journal, 12 July 1996.

String theory, the authors argue, promises a revolution in physics as profoundas that caused by the formulation of general relativity and quantum mechanics.The central assertion of string theory is that matter consists not of pointparticles but of tiny, vibrating strings. Right now string theory lacksexperimental verification, but experimental particle physicists are starting todetect hints of supersymmetry, one of the basic predications of string theory.Supersymmetry, the authors write is a "largely unprobed structure" in naturethat would point to "a while new `quantum' dimension of space-time." Thearticle mourns the termination of the Superconducting Supercollider and reviewsthe potential of existing particle accelerators and other research projects tocarry out the experiments necessary to detect supersymmetry.

-Allyn Jackson