In Strung Together: The Cultural Currency of String Theory as a Scientific Imaginary , Sean Miller examines the cultural currency of string theory, both as part of scientific discourse and beyond it. He demonstrates that the imaginative component of string theory is both integral and indispensable to it as a scientific discourse. While mathematical arguments provide precise prompts for physical intervention in the world, the imaginary that supplements mathematical argument within string theory technical discourse allows theorists to imagine themselves interacting with the cosmos as an abstract space in such a way that strings and branes as phenomena become substantiated and legitimized. And it is precisely this sort of imaginary—which Miller calls a scientific imaginary—duly substantiated and acculturated, that survives the move from string theory technical discourse to popularizations and ultimately to popular and literary discourses. In effect, a string theory imaginary legitimizes the science itself and helps to facilitate a virtual domestication of a cosmos that was heretofore remote, alien, and incomprehensible.
"Sean Miller covers wickedly difficult and recondite material with impressive care and aplomb. He proceeds with magnanimity and laudable lack of pretension in rendering comprehensible the hard mathematical physics at hand, the necessity of its trafficking with concrete imageries, and the cultural desires that it feeds in both its devotees and its lay audiences."
—Bruce Clarke, Texas Tech University
Jacket art: Fractal ©iStockphoto/hlehnerer.
Choosing any of the above format options will take you to the appropriate e-retailer to complete your purchase. Pricing may vary by individual e-retailer. Please see e-retailer site for purchasing information.
For more information about our Digital Products, including reading systems and accessible formats, visit our Digital Products page.