closed superstring
animation by Patricia Schwarz - The Official String Theory Web Site

One form of unified field theory involves explaining the basic units (quanta) of energy and matter in terms of tiny vibrating loops known as superstrings. But for the math of superstring theory to make sense it is necessary to postulate a hyperspace or higher spatial dimensions beyond the usual three.  Hence the idea of ten dimensional space, eleven if you include time as well.

Superstrings would vibrate in an extremely small scale.  Their hyperdimension motion would return to its starting point almost instantanously.  A huge amount of energy would be required for a particle accelerator to detect such tiny dimensions (one of many paradoxes of quantum physics - the smaller you go to measure something, the more energy you need to generate).

In 1996, Dr. Joseph Lykken of Fermilab suggested that superstrings might have effects detectable at much lower energies. If so, the hidden superstring dimensions could be much bigger than originally thought, as much as a millimeter across.  In these hidden dimensions, the 3 dimensions of our universe would be extremely thin (about  10-millionth of a billionth of a millimeter) but these universes would exist in other dimensions, which are extremely thin relative to our universe.

open superstring
animation by Patricia Schwarz - The Official String Theory Web Site


Superstrings and Auras

books Superstring Links and references Web links

Web SiteThe Official String Theory Web Site - by Patricia Schwarz - really easy to follow intro to Superstrings - accessible and enjoyable stuff - recommended!

Web SiteSUPERSTRINGS! Home Page - an online introduction to superstring theory, which is the leading candidate for the theory of all fundamental interactions in the universe -  by John M. Pierre

web pageEvent-Symmetric String Theory - lots of stuff on superstrings and supersymmetry (unified field theory).  Hardly any maths.  - chapter 8 or Event-Symmetric Space-Time, by Philip Gibbs


Book Review

by Arvan Harvat

String Theory

String Theory
by Joseph Polchinski

Standard textbook on strings and superstrings. Although pretty well written (doesn't skip equations, has very informative appendices and glossaries), this is for pros only. With it- they should be able to follow the literature (articles, preprints,..). An aside remark: since the discipline has not yet yielded any significant experimental confirmation (its status still shaky); the math too exacting (and better presented in other books) - it's virtually useless for outsiders.

accessibility - Very Technical Very technical (advanced level textbook equivalent)
quality - 4 out of 5


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unless otherwise stated, content by M.Alan Kazlev
most recent update 21 May 2001