String Theory at Short Distance and the Principle of Equivalence

Paul F. Mende

Submitted on 1 October 1992


Point particles fall freely along geodesics; strings do not. In string theory all probes of spacetime structure, including photons, are extended objects and therefore always subject to tidal forces. We illustrate how string theory modifies the behavior of light in weak gravitational fields and limits the applicability of the principle of equivalence. This gives in principle a window on the short-distance structure of geometry in quantum gravity where one can see in a model-independent way how some of its predictions differ from those of classical gravity. We compare this with the lessons of high-energy string scattering.


Comment: 15 pages, phyzzx, Brown-HET-875

Subjects: High Energy Physics - Theory; Astrophysics; General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology