M(atrix) theory: matrix quantum mechanics as fundamental theory

M(atrix) theory: matrix quantum mechanics as fundamental theory This article reviews the matrix model of M theory. M theory is an 11-dimensional quantum theory of gravity that is believed to underlie all superstring theories. M theory is currently the most plausible candidate for a theory of fundamental physics which reconciles gravity and quantum field theory in a realistic fashion. Evidence for M theory is still only circumstantial—no complete background-independent formulation of the theory exists as yet. Matrix theory was first developed as a regularized theory of a supersymmetric quantum membrane. More recently, it has appeared in a different guise as the discrete light-cone quantization of M theory in flat space. These two approaches to matrix theory are described in detail and compared. It is shown that matrix theory is a well-definedquantum theory that reduces to a supersymmetric theory of gravity at low energies. Although its fundamental degrees of freedom are essentially pointlike, higher-dimensional fluctuating objects (branes) arise through the non-Abelian structure of the matrix degrees of freedom. The problem of formulating matrix theory in a general space-time background is discussed, and the connections between matrix theory and other related models are reviewed.

Authors: Taylor W.Pages: 43     Year: 2001

Tags: m(atrix) theory theory fundamental quantum mechanics matrix

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