T-duality

When counting the total number of turns, counterclockwise turns count as positive, while clockwise turns counts as negative. For example, if the curve first circles the origin four times counterclockwise, and then circles the origin once clockwise, then the total winding number of the curve is three. According to this scheme, a curve that does not travel around the distinguished point at all has winding number zero, while a curve that travels clockwise around the point has negative winding number. Therefore, the winding number of a curve may be any integer. The pictures above show curves with winding numbers between −2 and 3:

In the situation described above, the total energy, or Hamiltonian, of the string is given by the expression

In the mid 1990s, physicists noticed that these five string theories are actually related by highly nontrivial dualities. One of these dualities is T-duality. For example, it was shown that type IIA string theory is equivalent to type IIB string theory via T-duality and also that the two versions of heterotic string theory are related by T-duality.