General relativity and quantum mechanics take different approaches at looking at how the universe works. Many physicists feel that there must be a method that unites the two. One contender for such a universal theory is superstring theory, or string theory, for short. Let's take a brief overview of this complex perspective.
One string, no particles
Children in elementary school learn about the existence of protons, neutrons, and electrons, basic subatomic particles that create all matter as we know it. Scientists have studied how these particles move and interact with one another, but the process has raised a number of conflicts.
According to string theory, these subatomic particles do not exist. Instead, tiny pieces of vibrating string too small to be observed by today's instruments replace them. Each string may be closed in a loop, or open. Vibrations from the string correspond with each of the particles and determine the particles' size and mass.
How do strings replace point-like particles? On a subatomic level, there is a relationship between the frequency at which something vibrates and its energy. At the same time, as Einstein's famous equation E=mc2 tells us, there is a relationship between energy and mass. Therefore, a relationship exists between an object's vibrational frequency and its mass. Such a relationship is central to string theory.
Limiting the dimensions of the universe
Einstein's theory of relativity opened up the universe to a multitude of dimensions, because there was no limit on how it functioned. Relativity worked just as well in four dimensions as in forty. But string theory only works in ten or eleven dimensions. If scientists can find evidence supporting string theory, they will have limited the number of dimensions that could exist within the universe.
We only experience four dimensions. Where, then are the missing dimensions predicted by string theory? Scientists have theorized that they are curled up into a compact space. If the space is tiny, on the scale of the strings (on the order of 10-33 centimeters), then we would be unable to detect them.
On the other hand, the extra dimensions could conceivably be too large for us to measure; our four dimensions could be curled up exceedingly small inside of these larger dimensions.
Searching for evidence
In 1996, physicists Andrew Strominger, then at the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, and Cumrun Vafa at Harvard, simulated a black hole with an excessive amount of disorder, or entropy. Such a black hole had been simulated two decades earlier by physicists Jacob Bekenstein and Stephen Hawking. At the time, no one could figure out why a black hole might harbor so much entropy.
The theoretical black hole created by Strominger and Vafa was not created like conventional black holes seen at the center of galaxies such as the Milky Way. Instead, they relied on string theory to simulate it, providing a link between the complex theory and the fundamental force of gravity that drives black holes. By basing its foundation on string theory instead of conventional particles, they lent more credibility to the potentially unifying theory.
Whether string theory is the "ultimate" theory — the theory of everything — is unknown. But it is a strong contender for explaining the inner workings of the universe.new york stock exchange dow boston stock exchange new york stock exchange quote national grid london stock exchange toronto stock exchange quote tokyo stock exchange hours otc stock exchange monopoly stock exchange saudi stock exchange tokyo stock exchange index new york stock exchange pri flutter london stock exchange ny stock exchange holidays the new york stock exchange chicago stock exchange china target stock exchange the first stock exchange was established in toronto stock exchange 2008 munich stock exchange euronext paris stock exchange stock exchange opening bell new york stock exchange stock blue prism london stock exchange ny state stock exchange alibaba stock hong kong exchange stock market exchange crossword new york stock exchange visiting new york stock exchange s&p 500 index what time does the new york stock exchange open vrx toronto stock exchange investing on the stock exchange when a stockholder contributes cash to a corporation in exchange for stock, ________. egyptian stock exchange stock market exchange shanghai stock exchange tesla new york stock exchange nse stock exchange stock exchange tickers what is the new york stock exchange doing today how to trade toronto stock exchange new york stock exchange holidays 2021 shareholder a sold 500 shares of abc stock on the new york stock exchange. this transaction: london stock exchange investor relations london stock exchange refinitiv shanghai stock exchange nio what's a stock exchange stock exchange define mexican stock exchange new york stock exchange app mumbi stock exchange google stock exchange how to invest on stock exchange london stock exchange trading hours when does the stock exchange close new york stock exchange opening time how many listings are on the new york stock exchange zimbabwean stock exchange turkey stock exchange new yorl stock exchange when does the stock exchange open stock exchange quote new york stock exchange calendar stock exchange building new york stock exchange visitors vienna stock exchange lifetime brand stock exchange stockholms stock exchange china stock exchange index national stock exchange headquarters german stock exchange hours tse stock exchange sweeden stock exchange refinitiv london stock exchange stock market exchange crossword clue what time does stock exchange close stock exchange trading hours shanghai stock exchange star market toronto stock exchange weed new york stock exchange closes canadian stock exchange app toronto stock exchange holiday x3 stock exchange american stock exchange today new york stock exchange live feed guyana stock exchange stock exchange opening times stock exchange website new york stock exchange stock price when does the new york stock exchange close stock photos exchange