Superstring Theory and the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics
Gerard ’t Hooft
Distinguished Professor Utrecht University
and Nobel Laureate
Usually portrayed as a non-perturbative quantum theory describing matter as well as space and time, superstring theory seems to be based on extremely weak foundations. It is not understood very well how to formulate the principles on which it is based without referring to rather poorly justified assumptions. This lack of understanding may be related to our lack of understanding quantum mechanics itself. In the talk it is shown how to reformulate the mathematics of string theory such that it has hidden variables. The physical properties are not affected, and the internal logic seems to become a lot easier to understand. But then we have a different problem: hidden variables are considered to be excluded by Bell's theorem, and this argument appears to be air-tight. To address this apparent contradiction we note that the procedure applied above was limited to the perturbative theory. The non-perturbative system has information loss and holography. Thus attempting to improve the foundations of string theory may lead to a better understanding of quantum mechanics itself, as well as the Planck world.