Interpretations:Cut The Strings

From This Might Be A Wiki

this song is, infact, about string theory. but it was written, not just out of the mind of two johns, this song was written on commision from the show "brave new world". -uncletony.

Okay, this song, I believe, is about the new rising "Super String" theory among certain physicists. The theory is controversial and most people do not believe it. This song seems to be speaking out against the theory stating it is ridiculous.

"I don't need no/ Ten dimensions/ Ain't afraid of/ Quantum jitter"

According to super string there are 10 dimensions, I'm not overly educated on this (few people are) but it somehow involves the geometric make-up of a single point. The reason this theory exists is due to scientists uncertainty about quantum theory, John says he isn't bothered by "Quantum jitter"

"General relativity/
Quantum theory/
They've been put to the test/
And Isaac Newton has been laid to rest/
But you're still not satisfied/
'Cause when the two theories collide/
All hell breaks loose and you fashion the noose/
To tie it all together with string. NO!"

Physicists who developed the super string theory were unsatisfied with the current quantum theory because it couldn't account for general relativity. Neither has been proven false but they don't work together thus the hell breaking loose and whatnot. The super string theorists believed it could be explained by single points actually being strings, or something, like I said I don't really understand it all that well.

"Cut the strings/
Physics doesn't demand/
any vibrating band/
Of string."

This is once again a testament to his disbelief of string theory.

I'm not overly sure about this, I had an epiphany a while ago about the meaning of this song. I could just be delusional. If i'm right though why is this in only the midly educational section? heh :)

String theory relates that a string is a vibrating loop of a subparticle that can only exsit in quantum physics, thus "Quantum Jitter". There are many different versions of this theory that are vastly different, which is one of the main reasons few are ready to belive any of it.

_Yes, this song is definitely about string theory. No doubt about it whatsoever.

The "quantum jitter" line refers to the fact that strings in string theory "flatten out" the quantum jitter in spacetime that would render the point-particle concept unusable when general relativity is considered.

There was a pbs special about this a while ago, Lemme see if I can remember any of it... The equation(s) that describes the movement of a peice of string is the same equation that discribes a subatomic partical. So thats why its called string theory. I know that this theory has been around for a while, and only now is it picking up any momentum. -M Stuefen

the entire PBS series, "The Elegant Universe", can be viewed online. this wil explain everything you wanted to know about strings. webwiz1986

No offense, but I personally wouldn't choose "The Elegant Universe" if I wanted to know about string theory? It's designed for sixth-graders, cram-packed with filler graphics, and it's a bit of a propoganda piece for the theory. "It's true, it really is. True. And Ed Witten is like Einstein. Really. Einstein. Who was really really smart." Uh, okay....

They repeat concepts endlessly like we're a little retarded. Similarly, it fails to tell you anything meaty other than a short summary of the historical unification process in physics, and the fact that M theory might provide relief from the incompatibility of relativity with quantum theory as part of a further unification.

It is critically short on details. A better source might be:

I can't vouch for the math, but the site offers a breakdown of what string theory actually *says*, and you can choose from basic or advanced explanations, depending on your tolerance for formulae. Just a suggestion. Maybe we have a string theorist amongst us who has an even better suggestion.

I think the song is about the debate over the legitimacy of the theory, because It Might Be Funny if metal heads had opinions on the scientific merits of some abstract theoretical physics stuff.

~Christina Miller, August 2005

Also, apparently, this stuff cracks Them up. In Podcast 1A, there is a send up of "It Was A Very Good Year" in which Mr. Linnell fondly recalls having sex in a state of quantum uncertainty while simultaneously not having sex. So maybe they think it's funny that an indie band would have thoughts about it, too, while simultaneously not having thoughts about it. Or something.

Well, yeah, I thought I mentioned this somewhere on this site, but I can't find it - didn't we decide Mr. Linnell's mass is too high for him to exist in a state of quantum uncertainty? (without a schroedinger's cat set-up)

C'mon, there have to be physics majors in this fandom! ~Christina Miller, January 2006

One of the farthest-stretching interpretations about Particle Man was that it had to do with quantumn physics. Triangle Man represented spin, position and momentumn of an electron, or so the theory went. The discussion is probably only remembered by really old usenet junkies, and I can't imagine how it would have ever gotten back to J&J Themselves. But when I first heard Cut The Strings, I laughed--it seemed as if They were saying, "no, THIS is a song about quantumn physics." -AntiEgo

I just find this song pretty amusing, in that heavy metal bands are always singing about their anger towards some kind of oppression, and now they're getting mad at the laws of physics for holding them back. I can just picture this imaginary band, their faces illuminated by the glare of a television set accidentally turned to PBS. "NO! I will not accept this!" The lead singer cries at hearing the details of string theory. A clever song indeed.

In reference to the previous discussion, I don't think that John Linnell should panic over whether or not he's in a state of quantum uncertainty. Mostly because of his mass (more specifically the fact that it puts him in an environment in which his uncertainty factor and de Broglie wavelength are essentially immeasurable), but the fact that he's not an elementary particle helps too. -Merrill

Agreed. Someone correct me if I am wrong here, but the deBroglie wavelength function has momentum in the denominator? As the mass rises, the demoninator gets larger, making the wavelength increasingly short, so that the indeterminacy gets negligible. Isn't that the problem? That he's too massive. Linnell can theoretically have a deBroglie wavelength, I think, but his mass makes it really short. ~Christina Miller, December 2007

String Theory: Not Even Wrong[edit]

Reading YouTube comments, some are taking the Johns here to be anti-science (or rather, overly skeptical of modern physics). But, quite the contrary, "Cut the Strings" may show how knowledgeable they are concerning the difference between established science and pseudoscience. For years, many have regarded string theory as the most promising of attempts to reconcile the apparent conflict between quantum mechanics and general relativity. But recently, prominent physicists and philosophers of science have made their doubts known to the public. The most devastating critique is that string theory does not seem to be testable (Hasn't been "put to the test") and it violates ockham's razor by positing too many "entities" (10 Dimensions) in order to explain how data fits the theory. Lee Somlin's "Trouble With Physics" and Peter Woit's "Not Even Wrong" cover these critiques and others in great detail.

I'm not a physicist, and have no opinion on this debate. Still, I think the Johns deserve a pat on the back for writing another clever (not to mention hilarious) song, about a real issue in science. And certainly, any flack sent their way because of this song is undeserved. In the end, those searching for a theory that will unify the very large with the very small in physics, may need to "cut the strings" before any progress can be made.