Late one evening (read 3:30 AM) watching T.V I came across a documentary on Quantum theory. They began to talk about String Theory, Dimensions and then M-Theory. These theories are an attempt at a unified theory of the universe. Apparently sub-atomic “strings” of energy are responsible for the creation of this universe along with another 11 dimensions. And the big bang is the result of two “strings” colliding and creating the universe. Now for a humble I.T undergrad this is some very serious thought provoking stuff. What is this talk of another 11 dimensions? Are they parallel? How many strings can exist and therefore collide and create a universe. Is our universe just another dimension and if so is there another you and me somewhere? Basically I do not have a specific question as such but am looking for other explanations, positions and general thoughts on the theory.


Loosely speaking…

There are five versions of string theory that differ in certain details, M-Theory is an attempt to tie them all together. Nobody knows much about the truth content of string theory yet, the equations are still just approximations, but it does show promise of being able to resolve the inconsistencies between quantum mechanics and general relativity. The extra dimensions aren’t parallel, they’re just rolled up at the subatomic scale of the strings. The various resonant vibrations of the strings are what we detect as mass, charge, spin, and so on, in subatomic particles. The extra dimensions are necessary to provide enough resonant modes to account for all the observed properties. Check out Brian Greene’s book The Elegant Universe for a non-mathematical and very readable treatment of the main ideas.

I highly recommend The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene. Dr. Greene elegantly explains quantum, string and M theories in easy-to-understand terms.