Tuesday, February 10, 2009

String Theory

This'll just give you a rough idea of what it's all about. Anything further would probably require high level math which I am hardly equipped to handle.

It all starts with a German Mathematician who in 1919 had another one of those infamous naked eureka moments when he theorized that the universe has not 4, but 5 dimensions. The new dimension is the 4th spatial dimension which he used to describe Electromagnetic force in the form of warping just as Einstein had described gravitation as the curving and warping of the space-time fabric. Now this theory fell away because it didn’t hold in application when trying to calculate things like the mass of an electron. But once the Superstring theory emerged, we went back to consider additional spatial dimensions. Apparently there are 10 spatial dimensions in all. I’m not even gonna dream about asking my mum to give me permission to hallucinate so as to consider trying the math involved in that.
Space is said to curled up in these extra spatial dimensions at a Planck scale. And to prove the existence of extra dimensions and the possibility of existence of strings, we vest our hopes in the LHC. If after collision the sub-atomic particles which are created get ejected, so to speak, into those extra dimensions that we can’t see it will result in “disappearance” of energy. If we have lesser energy after the collision than before it, that means something entered one of those extra spatial dimensions. Q.E.D. because of the law of conservation of energy.

The theory, to put it rather vaguely, is that the universe is fundamentally built of unidimensional vibrating energy filaments called strings. Irony is, according to Wikipedia, strings are no longer considered essential to the theory itself since they can be replaced with points or surfaces. But I’m gonna use to term string just 'cause it’s really weird and can freak people out.
Moving on, these strings vibrate in different patterns and frequencies thus forming the different particles known to us. Vibrations of Strings is affected by the intertwining geometry of the extra dimensions. If someone was to figure out what these new spatial dimensions look like then he could also calculate the vibrational patterns which means he will also be able to find the values of some numbers which essentially define the universe like the strength of electromagnetic forces (no clue how). If the values this guy finds are equal to the already experimentally calculated values then the world will fall to its knees and praise him or just say he's deranged cause the other guy already proved that the universe is in fact made of tiny orange pips.