We live in a wonderfully complex universe, and we are curious about it by nature. Time and again we have wondered— why are we here? Where did we and the world come from? What is the world made of? It is our privilege to live in a time when enormous progress has been made towards finding some of the answers.
String theory is our most recent attempt to answer the last (and part of the second) question.
It’s one of the most brilliant, controversial and unproven ideas in all of physics: string theory. At the heart of string theory is the thread of an idea that’s run through physics for centuries that at some fundamental level, all the different forces, particles, interactions and manifestations of reality are tied together as part of the same framework.
Instead of four independent fundamental forces — strong, electromagnetic, weak and gravitational — there’s one unified theory that encompasses all of them. In many regards, string theory is the best contender for a quantum theory of gravitation, which just happens to unify at the highest-energy scales. Although there’s no experimental evidence for it, there are compelling theoretical reasons to think it might be true.
String theory strutted onto the scene some 30 years ago as perfection itself, a promise of elegant simplicity that would solve knotty problems in fundamental physics — including the notoriously intractable mismatch between Einstein’s smoothly warped space-time and the inherently jittery, quantized bits of stuff that made up everything in it.
String theory is a work in progress, so trying to pin down exactly what the science is, or what its fundamental elements are, can be kind of tricky. String theory has gone through many name changes over the years.
World’s one of the most popular physicist Dr Brian Greene clarifies how string theory assist us in understanding the key elements of the universe; if he’s considering going into space; and why he’s had a spider named after him and how to understand absolutely everything: