News FocusPhysics

String Theorists Find a Rosetta Stone

Science  23 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5427, pp. 512-517
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5427.512

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Black holes--theoretical versions of them--have lately taken on the leading role in string theory, physicists' most recent attempt to create a "theory of everything" that joins the macroworld of gravity and the microworld of quantum mechanics. These hypothetical objects are serving as a sort of Rosetta stone on which the same phenomena can be found written in the languages of both quantum field theory and general relativity, Einstein's theory of gravity. Whether or not the latest work leads to a working theory of everything, it is already responsible for a paradigm shift in how string theorists think about gravity.