Remembering Polchinski unassuming physicist who coined a multiverse as humility is not a constitution often found in profusion in physicist. Maybe that’s because Joe Polchinski had all of it. Considerable ego is possibly an obligatory certificate for anybody trying to snatch nature’s most fathomable secrets from their mathematical lairs. However, in variety of cases ego is equivalent to the magnitude of a physicist’s achievements. But if you segmented Polchinski’s achievements by his ego, then the answer would be adjoining to infinity than unity.
Polchinski was an expeditious innovator of string theory, the mathematical instrument depicting the basic particles of matter and force as miniature floundering filament of energy known as superstrings. His benefaction to the field was enormous. As a young professor at the University of Texas at Austin in the 1980s, he advanced a branch of superstring theory including objects called supermembranes.
Superstrings are one-dimensional entities vibrating like rubber bands in multidimensional space. Polchinski traversed the potential of those multiple dimensions that could contain two-dimensional membranes, like the film forming the surface of a soap bubble. He and his students obtained the math recounting such supermembranes living in 11 dimensions (10 of space, one of time).
Supermembranes could not keep up at first. Most string theorists conjectured that they were a corrupt branch of the real theory. However, a few theorists, especially Michael Duff became a vociferous supermembrane supporter. When Duff visited Austin, Polchinksi said he was not serious when supermembranes were invented. To which Duff replied, “Many a true word is spoken in jest.”