Have you heard the term “string theory” and wondered what exactly it meant? This video is a great explanation and it’s in terms that anybody can understand. It’s given to a room of non-physicists at a Ted Conference by Brian Greene, a Professor of Mathematics & Physics at Columbia University focusing on Theoretical Physics, String Theory & Quantum Gravity. Let me try to boil it down, but it’s better to watch this video (link below).
There are about 20 measurements / numbers which describe all the matter and forces in the universe. These are numbers like the mass of the particles, such as electrons and quarks, the strength of gravity and the strength of the electromagnetic force. These 20 numbers have been measured with incredible precision, but nobody has an explanation for why the numbers have the particular values that they do or why they all exist and coincide. String theory tries to explain them all because the math shows that if any of those 20 numbers were to change, the universe wouldn’t exist…..so there must be a unification somehow. String theory is an attempted explanation that describes what everything in the universe is made of and it describes not only matter but also energy and forces.
The theory is that there are strings, or tiny vibrating filaments, that operate on tiny dimensions and the frequency at which they vibrate determine what they are. So apparently, a force like gravity is actually a particle (yes, a particle…..with no mass) made of a vibrating string. What’s fascinating too is that these strings exist in 10 dimensions plus time (that’s right, not three dimensions). Don’t get confused by my explanation…..the video makes sense, is easy to follow and it is understandable to the average person / non-physicist. Watch it. It’s cool. If you are wondering what’s up with this picture above, it’s explained in the video too.