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String without Strings

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Foundations of Physics





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Scale invariance provides a principled reason for the physical importance of Hilbert space, the Virasoro algebra, the string mode expansion, canonical commutators and Schrödinger evolution of states, independent of the assumptions of string theory and quantum theory. The usual properties of dimensionful fields imply an infinite, projective tower of conformal weights associated with the tangent space to scale-invariant spacetimes. Convergence and measurability on this tangent tower are guaranteed using a scale-invariant norm, restricted to conformally self-dual vectors. Maps on the resulting Hilbert space are correspondingly restricted to semi-definite conformal weight. We find the maximally- and minimally-commuting, complete Lie algebras of definite-weight operators. The projective symmetry of the tower gives these algebras central charges, giving the canonical commutator and quantum Virasoro algebras, respectively. Using a continuous, m-parameter representation for rank-m tower tensors, we show that the parallel transport equation for the momentum-vector of a particle is the Schrödinger equation, while the associated definite-weight operators obey canonical commutation relations. Generalizing to the set of integral curves of general timelike, self-dual vector-valued weight maps gives a lifting such that the action of the curves parallel transports arbitrary tower vectors. We prove that the full set of Schrödinger-lifted integral curves of a general self-dual map gives an immersion of its 2-dim parameter space into spacetime, inducing a Lorentzian metric on the parameter space. This immersion is shown to satisfy the full variational equations of open string.


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