String Theory
A Theory of Everything
Physics has a problem. Einstein’s theories of relativity describe massive objects and the makeup of space and time. Quantum mechanics defines the miniscule world of atoms and subatomic particles. Both theories are excellent at illustrating their respective domains, but when they are used together the biggest problem in modern physics and perhaps the history of science arises: they don’t work. This becomes clear when both a conceptual and mathematical combination of the two is examined. The combined equations of relativity and quantum mechanics almost result in an answer of infinity, which in real life terms means nothing. Infinity cannot be experimentally measured; a scientist cannot take out a ruler, and measure infinity in meters. The uncertainty principle is a cornerstone of quantum mechanics, and one consequence of it are quantum jitters, a term that describes how on small scales, waves never actually equal zero but fluctuate above and below zero, effectively canceling out to zero as far as the macroscopic world is concerned. It is important to note that the smaller the scale, the larger the uncertainty and the more significant the quantum fluctuations. If we consider space at an incredibly small scale, below the Planck length of 10-33 of a centimeter, then the quantum jitters of quantum mechanics predicts the fabric of space to be so tumultuous, so distraught and different from the gently curving space that Einstein described that all familiarity we have with right and left, up and down, and back and forth are lost and even time becomes jumbled up in the mess. Figuring out how to combine these two theories would effectively yield a theory of everything, realizing Einstein’s dream of a Unified Field Theory.
In 1968, Gabriele Veneziano was one of the many physics trying to understand the strong nuclear force between particles by analyzing data from atom smashers around the world. He made a connection between the data...