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String Theory and the Real World (Second Edition)

The visible sector
Gordon Kane


This book attempts to explain why string theory may provide the comprehensive underlying theory that describes and explains our world. It is an enthusiastic view of how compactified string/M-theories, plus data that may be reachable, seem to have the possibilities of leading to a comprehensive underlying theory of particle physics and cosmology, perhaps soon. We are living in a hugely exciting era for science, one during which it may be possible to achieve a real and true understanding of our physical world.

Founded on three decades of research, this second edition covers the Planck scale, Higgs physics, supersymmetry and supersymmetry breaking, the Hierarchy problem, dark matter, inflation, hidden sectors, future colliders, testing theories in physics, possible limits to understanding, and more.

Key Features

  • Written by a world-leading authority on compactified string theory
  • Provides simple and informative explanations of many topics
  • Accessible to both physicists and general readers interested in string theory
  • Provides glimpses of future experiments that may provide strong tests of the theory, and experiments that could potentially detect dark matter
  • The second edition includes new material from compactified M-theory identifying the physical inflaton, explaining the matter asymmetry, mass-energy scales of particle physics and cosmology, cosmological histories, dark matter candidates, supersymmetry breaking, future colliders and possible tests

About Editors

Gordon Kane is the Victor Weisskopf Distinguished University Professor at the University of Michigan and Director Emeritus at the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics (MCTP, now Leinweber Center), a leading center for the advancement of theoretical physics. He was director of the MCTP from 2005–2011 and Victor Weisskopf Collegiate Professor of Physics from 2002–2011. He received the Lilienfeld Prize from the American Physical Society in 2012, and the J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics in 2017.

Kane is an internationally recognized scientific leader in theoretical and phenomenological particle physics, and theories for physics beyond the Standard Model. In recent years he has been a leader in string phenomenology. Kane has been with the University of Michigan since 1965.

Table of Contents

Preface to second edition


PART 1: What we probably know
1 The Standard Models – overview and perspective
2 The Planck scale - compactifications - extra dimensions
3 Higgs physics: the hierarchy problem
4 Supersymmetry
5 Compactification
6 The visible sector
7 Anthropic questions and string theory
8 The scales we need to explain
9 Testing theories in physics, including string theories
10 Dark matter candidates

PART 2: Explaining and interpreting recent compactified M-theory results
11 Moduli
12 Hidden sectors
13 Inflation
14 The matter asymmetry
15 Possible tests soon
16 Future colliders?
17 Three families, quark mass hierarchies and splittings
18 How much can we understand?

Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D


Hardback ISBN: 9780750335812

Ebook ISBN: 9780750335836

DOI: 10.1088/978-0-7503-3583-6

Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing


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