What Is String Theory?

The Two Great Theories

We humans living on a very minor planet and revolving around a very average star are born curious. We began as wanderers and we are still wanderers. So over the past centuries our understanding of the universe can be summed up into two great theories: one is Albert Einstein’s General Relativity which is the theory deeply dealing with black holes, stars etc and also it is the best description of gravity. Another theory is known as Quantum Mechanics. This theory tells how fundamental particles behave on a microscopic level. Both of them work perfectly well in their domain, but wait! Why two different theories to describe the universe and not a single unified theory to describe everything?

String Theory

The String Theory

It turns out that there is a theory to describe everything and it is known as  the ‘String theory’. Our Understanding of the universe (standard model of particle physics) says that matter is made up of particles called atoms. These are made up of even smaller particles called protons and neutrons with electrons revolving around them.  Protons and neutrons are made up of even smaller particles called quarks and here the story ends.

However, String theory says that even our elementary particles are made up of tiny vibrating strings which is actually an energy that is vibrating in the form of a string. These strings are very small in length and each of them vibrates at a certain frequency. Its just like guitar strings, as these vibrate a unique note is created. These particles are also vibrations due to strings in them. The reason why you and a rock are different is because strings in both of you vibrate at different frequencies.

Predictions of String Theory

It predicts the existence of higher dimensions i.e. dimensions other than we see and experience. But why don’t we see them? It turns out that these dimensions are very small and are curled up in very tiny volumes of space which is why we do not have any access to them. Also, string theory will
not work in just 3 dimensions of space but it requires at least 11 dimensions to work perfectly.

What is string theory

Another prediction of string theory is that it promises us to unify all the forces of nature to create a theory of everything. It also predicts a new particle of gravity known as graviton (having no charge and no mass). If somehow we are able to find this, then it will be a massive triumph for this theory.

Also Read: 5 hypothetical particles, the discoveries of which can change the course of science.

It also provides us the evidences of the pre big bang era and it goes like this: There were 2 giant universes which merged together to form our universe or there might be a much larger universe which splitted into 2 baby universes and our universe is one of them!

Versions of String Theory

There are many versions of string theory which describe quantum scales with great accuracy. But the most important version of this is known as the loop quantum gravity. It tells us that the very fabric of space and time is quantized which means that space and time are themselves made up of tiny packets of energy and these packets are continuously being created, annihilated and destroying energy! These packets of energy are known as virtual particles.


Goal of String Theory

The final goal of string theory is to unify all the fundamental laws of physics and to create an equation that can explain every aspect of the Universe. Also, the string theory will give the ultimate theory of gravity.

Also Read: Basics of Astrophysics Series

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