THE SUPERSTRING THEORY AND LEE SMOLIN'S TROUBLES WITH PHYSICS (Teoria superstrun i Lee Smolina klopoty z fizyka)
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Contemporary physics is in a great need of a unified theoretical framework allowing for a comprehensive physical description of particles and interactions. One of the leading candidates for such a framework, the 'superstring theory', has recently provoked immense criticism due to the lack of its experimental verification (L. Smolin, R. Penrose). The survey of the specificity of the unification mechanisms that are operative within the superstring theory shows that, in comparison with such a successful paradigm as that of the general theory of relativity, the unification model of the theory does not follow the strict relation between the formalism and a unifying physical idea. The critical analysis of the superstring theory, presented by Lee Smolin in his book 'The Trouble with Physics', offers a detailed re-evaluation of theory's physical foundations but remains insensitive to issues of methodological, ontological and epistemological import. In particular, Smolin seems to be aware of the lack of the background independence as well as the need to compactify extra space-time dimensions that are hoped to be alleviated in the future M-theory. He treats purely mathematical criteria such as that of 'renormalizability' on an equal footing with the physical interpretation of the theory. Such a methodological disarray leads to Smolin's biased estimate of the true drawbacks of the superstring theory.
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