"Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind."


©
05
Apr
31N
"Three key things about String Theory. First off, what is it? Well, it’s an approach to realize Einstein’s dream of a unified theory of physics - a single, overarching framework that would be able to describe all the forces at work in the universe. And the central idea of String Theory is quite straight-forward; it says that, if you examine any piece of matter, ever more finely, at first you’ll find molecules and then you’ll find atoms and sub-atomic particles…but the theory says that if you could probe smaller - much smaller than we can with existing technology - you’d find something else inside these particles: a little tiny vibrating filament of energy. A little tiny vibrating string. And just like the strings on a violin - they can vibrate in different patterns producing different musical notes - these little fundamental strings, when they vibrate in different patterns they produce different kinds of particles, so, electrons, quarks, neutrinos, photons, all other particles, would be united into a single framework and they would all arise from vibrating strings. It’s a compelling picture; a kind of cosmic symphony where all the richness that we see in the world around us emerges from the music that these little tiny strings can play. But there’s a cost to this elegant unification, because years of research have shown that the math of String Theory…doesn’t quite work. It has internal inconsistencies unless we allow for something wholly unfamiliar - extra dimensions of space. That is, we all know about the usual three dimensions of space, and you can think about those as height, width and depth, but String Theory says that on fantastically small scales there are additional dimensions crumpled to a tiny size so small that we have not detected them. But even though the dimensions are hidden they would have an impact on things that we can observe, because the shape of the extra dimensions constrains how the strings can vibrate, and in String Theory, vibration determines everything, so particle masses, the strengths of forces, and most importantly, the amount of dark energy, would be determined by the shape of the extra dimensions. So if we knew the shape of the extra dimensions, we should be able to calculate these features - calculate the amount of dark energy. The challenge is: we don’t know the shape of the extra dimensions. All we have is a list of candidate shapes allowed by the math. Now when these ideas were first developed there were only about five different candidate shapes, so you could imagine analysing them one by one to determine if any yield the physical features we observe, but over time the list grew as researchers found other candidate shapes; from five, the number grew into the hundreds, and then the thousands - a large but still manageable collection to organize because, after all, graduate students need something to do… but then the list continued to grow into the millions and the billions, until today, the list of candidate shapes has soared to about 10 to the 500. So, what to do? Well, some researchers lost heart, concluding that with so many candidate shapes for the extra dimensions, each giving rise to different physical features, String Theory would never make definitive testable predictions. But others turned this issue on it’s head, taking us to the possibility of a multi-verse. Here’s the idea - maybe each of these shapes is on an equal footing with every other, each is a real as every other, in the sense that there are many universes each with a different shape for the extra dimensions…”
Brian Greene: Is Our Universe the Only Universe?

"Three key things about String Theory. First off, what is it? Well, it’s an approach to realize Einstein’s dream of a unified theory of physics - a single, overarching framework that would be able to describe all the forces at work in the universe. And the central idea of String Theory is quite straight-forward; it says that, if you examine any piece of matter, ever more finely, at first you’ll find molecules and then you’ll find atoms and sub-atomic particles…but the theory says that if you could probe smaller - much smaller than we can with existing technology - you’d find something else inside these particles: a little tiny vibrating filament of energy. A little tiny vibrating string. And just like the strings on a violin - they can vibrate in different patterns producing different musical notes - these little fundamental strings, when they vibrate in different patterns they produce different kinds of particles, so, electrons, quarks, neutrinos, photons, all other particles, would be united into a single framework and they would all arise from vibrating strings. It’s a compelling picture; a kind of cosmic symphony where all the richness that we see in the world around us emerges from the music that these little tiny strings can play. But there’s a cost to this elegant unification, because years of research have shown that the math of String Theory…doesn’t quite work. It has internal inconsistencies unless we allow for something wholly unfamiliar - extra dimensions of space. That is, we all know about the usual three dimensions of space, and you can think about those as height, width and depth, but String Theory says that on fantastically small scales there are additional dimensions crumpled to a tiny size so small that we have not detected them. But even though the dimensions are hidden they would have an impact on things that we can observe, because the shape of the extra dimensions constrains how the strings can vibrate, and in String Theory, vibration determines everything, so particle masses, the strengths of forces, and most importantly, the amount of dark energy, would be determined by the shape of the extra dimensions. So if we knew the shape of the extra dimensions, we should be able to calculate these features - calculate the amount of dark energy. The challenge is: we don’t know the shape of the extra dimensions. All we have is a list of candidate shapes allowed by the math. Now when these ideas were first developed there were only about five different candidate shapes, so you could imagine analysing them one by one to determine if any yield the physical features we observe, but over time the list grew as researchers found other candidate shapes; from five, the number grew into the hundreds, and then the thousands - a large but still manageable collection to organize because, after all, graduate students need something to do… but then the list continued to grow into the millions and the billions, until today, the list of candidate shapes has soared to about 10 to the 500. So, what to do? Well, some researchers lost heart, concluding that with so many candidate shapes for the extra dimensions, each giving rise to different physical features, String Theory would never make definitive testable predictions. But others turned this issue on it’s head, taking us to the possibility of a multi-verse. Here’s the idea - maybe each of these shapes is on an equal footing with every other, each is a real as every other, in the sense that there are many universes each with a different shape for the extra dimensions…”

Brian Greene: Is Our Universe the Only Universe?

String Theory    Brian Greene    TED talks    TED    multiverse    
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