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I have a very basic questions about string theory. I'm not sure if I can express it clearly, or even if the premise of the question is correct, but here goes... In general relativity, the effects of gravitation are attributed to curvature of spacetime. Test particles follow geodesics in curved spacetime, and this accounts for how those particles are affected by gravity. The field equations relate the curvature of spacetime to the distribution of mass, energy, and stress.
Now, in string theory we hear about spacetime, and indeed curved spacetime, with curled up dimensions, and so on, but this seems confusing, because if we already have curved spacetime, then we already have gravitation (don't we?), so what are the "strings" doing for us? Are we supposed to understand that, somehow, spacetime consists of strings? Or do strings exist within spacetime? If the latter, is the spacetime allowed to be curved? If so, doesn't this curvature already imply a kind of gravity? On the other hand, if the answer is that spacetime actually consists of strings, then I'm even more baffled, because all the depictions of "strings" that I've ever seen (in popular accounts) seem to show them wiggling around in spacetime. If we are supposed to understand that spacetime consists of (or arises from) strings, then it seems to me the popular accounts are all very incorrect and misleading.
google says that translates into "demote me to trial bro!"
Edited by Endulé on 7/26/2012 2:26 PM PDT
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