Archive for October 22, 2018

Counting String Theory Standard Models

Posted in The Universe and Stuff with tags , on October 22, 2018 by telescoper

I saw a paper on the arXiv and couldn’t resist a (snarky) comment. Here is the abstract:

We derive an approximate analytic relation between the number of consistent heterotic Calabi-Yau compactifications of string theory with the exact charged matter content of the standard model of particle physics and the topological data of the internal manifold: the former scaling exponentially with the number of Kahler parameters. This is done by an estimate of the number of solutions to a set of Diophantine equations representing constraints satisfied by any consistent heterotic string vacuum with three chiral massless families, and has been computationally checked to hold for complete intersection Calabi-Yau threefolds (CICYs) with up to seven Kahler parameters. When extrapolated to the entire CICY list, the relation gives about 1023 string theory standard models; for the class of Calabi-Yau hypersurfaces in toric varieties, it gives about 10723 standard models.

Isn’t  10723 also the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin? That number of models for the price of one theory looks like a bargain to me!

But, seriously, people often complain that string theory isn’t really scientific because it isn’t predictive. That clearly isn’t true. String theory is the most predictive theory ever: it can predict anything you want!