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String theorist wins $3 million physics prize

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Posted March 22, 2013

It’s beautiful physics, but it probably won’t earn anyone a Nobel prize. String theory has yet to make observable predictions, and thus it cannot be experimentally tested – making it unlikely to be considered for that honour.

Now big-value awards are being given out to people who work on fundamental physics, and a leader in string theory has walked away with this year’s grand prize of $3 million.

On 20 March, Alexander Polyakov of Princeton University took home the 2013 Fundamental Physics prize for his contributions to quantum field theory and string theory, including what are now considered classic descriptions of magnetic monopoles.

These hypothetical particles would act like magnets that each have only one magnetic pole. So far hunts for magnetic monopoles suggest that if they exist, they are so rare that we may never find them. But the search could lead us to a better understanding of the basic forces in the universeMovie Camera, such as electromagnetism, and maybe even to a unified “theory of everything”.

Read more at: NewScientist.com

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