The String Theory of the Universe

Igot involved as a listener the other night where several of my science addict friends were talking about the string theory of the universe where Einstein attemped to explain time-space-and gravity concepts into natural law. It was late at night and the concepts went right over my head.

What exactly is the string theory? Is it valid?

A large pizza pie normally has 12 slices but I can’t possibly eat that many slices so I have them cut it up into 6 slices.


This is not the kind of thing Your going to be able to learn in a post or two. I’d suggest a good book on the subject.

In a nutshell:

String theory is the current best guess for a theory of everything.

“String” describes the behavior of certain very small particles and the fact that their behavior can best be described as an elastic string on a probability curve.

It’s hard to describe without math.

Here’s a decent summary:

I used to rock and roll all night and party every day. Then it was every other day. Now I’m lucky if I can find a half an hour a week in which to get funky.

Alphagene and Scylla: After reading a great deal at the web site rec. by Alphagene, I can see with even greater clarity why everything went right over my head. Thanks for your responses.

A really, really good book on the subject is Brian Green’s “The Elegant Universe”. It’s not too technical or formula laden and he uses a lot of excellent graphics to help get his points across.
BTW, you wrote:

Technical nit picking, but Einstein did not count string theory in his repetoir of tools. It’s a fairly recent theory.

A high school buddy of mine went on to get his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Harvard , specializing in string theory.

Once, he gave me a paper he had gotten published to read. The first sentence of the paper – the broad statement designed to draw the reader in – was: “Orbiforms define consistent string vacua.” From there, the paper got a bit technical.

Another time, I asked him to explain generally what string theory was. After four sheets of paper were covered with equations, I cried for mercy.

Anyway, as somebody who knows a string theorist, my advice is that if you’re talking with one at a cocktail party, keep the conversation on the ball game and not on work.

They do call it that because it strings you along for quite a bit, until you’re thoroughly strung out, don’t they?

Ray (not so much of enlightenment)

“The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.” – Steven Weinberg, Physicist