nLab String Theory Dynamics In Various Dimensions

on M-theory and duality in string theory via consideration of BPS states, specifically establishing evidence for duality between M-theory and type IIA string theory.

A public talk announcing the conjecture that the strong-coupling limit of type IIA string theory is 11-dimensional supergravity KK-compactified on a circle is at 15:12 in

  • Edward Witten, talk, 1995(?) (video)

    19:33: “Ten years ago we had the embarrassment that there were five consistent string theories plus a close cousin, which was 11-dimensional supergravity.” (19:40): “I promise you that by the end of the talk we have just one big theory.”

The term “M-theory” seems to originate in

as a “non-committed” shorthand for “membrane theory”

As it has been proposed that the eleven-dimensional theory is a supermembrane theory but there are some reasons to doubt that interpretation,1 we will non-committally call it the M-theory, leaving to the future the relation of M to membranes. (Hořava-Witten 95, p. 2)


which coined the association

the eleven-dimensional “M-theory” (where M stands for magic, mystery, or membrane, according to taste) (Witten 95, p. 1)

that later gained much publicity

  • Edward Witten, Magic, Mystery, and Matrix, Notices of the AMS, volume 45, number 9 (1998) (pdf)

The term became fully established with surveys including

See also

category: reference

Last revised on October 24, 2020 at 07:51:31. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.