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PORTLAND, Ore. — Researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison claim that they have found a way to test string theory. String theory is a leading candidate in the search to identify a single principle that guides all other forces of nature in the universe—weak and strong nuclear forces as well as electromagnetic and gravitational forces. But until now no one had devised an experiment to test it.
The researchers suggest that they can confirm the unified theory from the effects seen as they peer back into time to observe the most distant astronomical objects, which existed "at the beginning" of the universe.
The postulation of these extra dimensions—up to 10 in all—explains why only the pointlike tips of these particles are visible to us: The rest of each particle could be spread through this multidimensional space. Their interactions in the other dimensions—akin to interference among vibrating "strings"—explains why quantum mechanics requires statistics to describe matter: their tips could be jumping about like the end of a whip.