Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Reflections on the Fate of Spacetime," by Edward Witten. Physics Today,April 1996, pages 24-30.

This article is an expository presentation of some of the basic notions ofstring theory and its implications for physics. Witten discusses and contraststhree views of physics---the classical view, the quantum view, and the stringtheory view---and speculates on a full theory that would incorporate notionsfrom each. ``Stringy'' Feynman diagrams, the Ising model, and mirror symmetryare a few of the concepts that come into play. The article closes with a lookat what string theorists are currently working on.

-Allyn Jackson