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String theory entangled

Equations can be retooled to describe a strange quantum effect

12:57pm, September 3, 2010

Physicists looking for a way to test their theory about strings might make more progress if they tangle them up.

String theory — equations that aspire to explain all of nature’s particles and forces — has extended its reach to the strange quantum behavior known as entanglement, physicists report September 2 in Physical Review Letters. Repurposing string theory mathematics allowed physicists to solve a hard problem involving entanglement, a strange feature at the heart of quantum mechanics. In doing so, the new study also points out a way to test whether the co-opted string theory equations are actually correct.

“String theory has not had a lot of success in making falsifiable predictions,” says study coauthor Michael Duff of Imperial College London. “But in the field of quantum information theory, it can.”

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