A beginner's guide to string theory

During the final thirty years of his life, after changing the course of modern physics, Albert Einstein sought a unified physics theory relentlessly. He pursued an approach to describe nature's forces within a single, all-encompassing, coherent framework. A passionate belief drove Einstein that the most profound understanding of the Universe would reveal its most real wonder: the simplicity and power of the principles. Einstein wanted to illustrate the Universe's workings with a clearness never before achieved.

Einstein never achieved this dream of a single unified theory. But in later years, physicists have built steadily on the discoveries of predecessors for a fuller understanding of how the Universe works. Long after Einstein and his quest for a unified theory, physicists believe they have finally found a framework for stitching many insights together into a seamless framework capable of describing all physical phenomena. Simply put, string theory is a mathematical framework that encompasses all the forces of nature in a single unified theory.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler".
-Albert Einstein

String theory aims to be the "theory of everything" — that is, the single physical theory that describes all physical reality at the most fundamental level. If the idea is successful, it could demonstrate many of the fundamental questions about our Universe.

Why string theory?

String theory is the most likely contender for a successful theory of quantum gravity that hopes to unite two major physical laws of the Universe into one unified framework. Quantum physics and general relativity don't work together to understand and represent two different types of behaviour in totally different ways. We will get into more details on this phenomenon later.

Studying string theory's implications means understanding profound aspects of our reality at the most fundamental levels.



What is string theory?

According to String theory, the Universe is composed of vibrating filaments of energy rather than minuscule particles of matter. These vibrating strings of energy represent the most fundamental aspect of nature. String theory proclaims that the observed properties of a particle, like a proton, electron or neutron, result from the various ways in which a string can vibrate. All matter in our Universe is made of the vibrations of these strings. According to string theory, the force that acts on all matter particles are also associated with particular patterns of string vibration.

String theory and its unifying nature:

Modern physics has two basic scientific laws generally accepted by most scientists: quantum mechanics and general relativity. These scientific laws describe radically dissimilar fields of study. Quantum physics breakdowns the smallest fundamental building blocks of matter, while relativity describes nature at the scale of planets, stars, galaxies, and the entire Universe.

String theory attempts to unify quantum mechanics and general relativity by unifying the four fundamental forces in the Universe — the electromagnetic force, the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, and gravity. These elemental forces appear as different and distinct phenomena. String theorists believe these forces can be described by strings interacting within a single mathematical framework.

The fundamental implications of String Theory;

✓ According to String theory, all objects in our Universe are composed of vibrating filaments of energy, not point-like particles of matter.

✓ String theory attempts to combine general relativity (gravity) with quantum physics and unify all the fundamental forces of the Universe.

✓ String theory predicts a new connection (called supersymmetry ) between two fundamentally different types of particles, bosons and fermions.

✓ String theory predicts several extra (usually unobservable) dimensions to the Universe.

✓ String theory describes 10^500 separate universes (a multiverse), with different constants of nature and even different laws of physics.

✓ Instantly after the Big Bang, the Universe is believed to have expanded quite rapidly through a process called "inflation". But the string theory has trouble producing inflation in its equations.

✓ One of string theory's most dramatic predictions is that we should find cosmic strings. These would be billions of light-years long, thinner than a proton and spectacularly dense. As they could reveal themselves in images of distant galaxies

Though String theory offers a multitude of complex solutions for the Universe's tricky riddles, it lacks experimental analysis and many other drawbacks. As long as the search for the Ultimate truth behind the Universe remains, scientists believe string theory might hold its ground and provide potential answers to the great questions. In upcoming posts, we shall deal with the multiverse concept, extra dimensions, cosmic strings, and the weird awesomeness string theory holds.


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