String Theory?

anyone heard of this or want to explain?
i read that the universe is supposed to be made of strings, things that are infinitely small, or something like that…

Chief’s Domain -

Isn’t this a General Question?

It’s a long way to heaven, but only three short steps to hell.

There was a segment on this a few months ago on 20/20, Dateline, or one of those other shows that seem to be on every day. I watched it and was totally confused. Sorry, that’s all the input you’ll get from me, I know nothing else.

“Now, Bart, you don’t want to drink beer. That’s for daddies and kids with fake IDs.”

I will exhaust all my knowledge very rapidly:
String theory is derived from the contention that the universe really consists of more dimensions than the three we are accustomed to. There are theoretical reasons for this supposition but they still have to explain why we only perceive three dimensions. The answer: The other dimensions are curled up inside (you guessed it!) strings. These strings then manifest themselves in three dimensions. The subatomic particles we are used to hearing about, quarks, leptons, etc., are derived from different vibration modes of the strings.

Having said all that (and I probably got most of it wrong) let me clarify one very important point. String theory, like most physical theories, is a mathematical description of an idea. Since it is difficult to talk mathematics all the time physicists use ordinary words to describe extraordinary things. No one really thinks there are little strings floating around out there somewhere. It’s just that some aspects of the model resemble the behavior of strings.

This happens all the time. There really wasn’t a “bang” at the big bang. In fact the term was invented by a guy (Fred Hoyle) who was trying to prove the theory wrong. He thought it was a humorous description of the model being described. But it caught on.

Another example is the “spin” of subatomic particles. The mathematical description is identical to the description of the actual rotational spin of a macroscopic particle. But physically there is no basis for the term. But it’s convenient so they use it.

“Vandelay!! Say Vandelay!!”

I just read a book on string theory and you’re pretty close, Pluto.

The big stumbling block with this theory is that nobody can solve the equations. It’s going to require the development of some new mathematics to deal with it.

The most important thing you said is that it’s a description, not a reflection, of reality. The same is true of quantum physics. Nobody knows how things really are at that level.

This space for rent.

You’re not kidding no one can solve the equations. Have you seen those things? The best you can do is get a numerical approximation.

I’m actually kind of hoping string theory is wrong, just because it’s so mind-numbingly difficult.

If you want more info, here is the OFFICIAL string theory website:

And now, for my next trick, I will talk in spooky half-references.

frayed knot! ha ha(600th post).

The previous post deserves some kind of prize.

Unfortunately I wasn’t drinking anything when I read it so I can’t talk about spraying stuff on my keyboard. (Does drool count?)

“Vandelay!! Say Vandelay!!”


I can tell you’re a real fungi!

We live in an age that reads to much to be wise, and thinks too much to be beautiful–Oscar Wilde

No, metro, she’s fungal.

Now that joke was in spore taste!

You guys didn’t leave mush room for another joke.

This space for rent.

I’d lichen it to any other simple plant joke, though they don’t all fit the same mold.

P.S. As a Tennessee boy, I’m rooting for **Al G. **