I was discussing string theory with a buddy on the way to work this morning. It turns out that the practical applications of string theory have not yet been fully realized — at least as far as patented technology is concerned. Only eight issued patents and eight published applications refer to string theory in any way. Of these, the two most interesting include Jerry Jacobson’s patented method for ameliorating the aging process by using electro-magnetic energy. (U.S. Patent No. 6,004,257).
Although not yet issued, UK scientists Andrew Worsley and Peter Twist have applied for their patent on specifications for warp drive technology based on the theoretical underpinnings of both general relativity and string theory. (U.S. Pub. No. 2003–0114313). The Worsley-Twist warp drive does not depend upon traditional emissions of matter to create thrust. Rather, the drive creates a change in the curvature of the space-time continuum — thus allowing travel by warping space-time. Worsley & Twist recently responded to a rejection under Section 101 of the patent act. The patent examiner raised concerns over the possibility of the claimed terms “graviton” and “warp drive.” In their response, the applicants pointed out that the warp drive does not necessarily require superluminal (faster than light) travel.