String theory is a theory that tries to explain
everything about the physical nature of our
universe. I am not a string theorist, nor do I
know anyone who is, but I found a website that is
written simply and clearly explains string theory,
and I've pulled several paragraphs from it:
"Strings are all around you. Your clothes are made
of strings woven into cloth. Spider webs are
string. To physicists, who study energy and
matter, a string is anything much longer than it
is wide. The cables that hold up suspension
bridges are strings even though they are six
inches thick. Some people collect string and wind
it in a ball. No one knows why. A scientist would
even call your DNA a string, though it curls up
and those curls curl up and so on. Your DNA
stretched out like a string would be a few meters
long. To a mathematician a string has no width,
only length. Scientists are beginning to believe
that absolutely everything, from stars to cotton
candy, may be made of string, very tiny
mathematician´s string. This is string theory.
String theory is very weird, more than you can
imagine. It involves higher dimensions and other
universes. Vibrating strings make up everything.
Everything is chunky and fuzzy when you look at it
close enough. You can still hear and see the Big
Bang that started the universe. Black holes are
hairy. Is dark energy making you lose weight? Is
dark chocolate matter making you gain weight?
Instead of using the dog-ate-my-homework excuse,
try this one. "I left it in the eighth
String theory is the first theory of physics that
tries to explain everything. What does it mean to
explain everything? We would know how the universe
began and where it is going. A theory of
everything would explain everything we feel, see,
or measure. We would understand all the forces and
all types of matter. We would know what is most
basic and how everything else is composed of these
basic parts. Could the universe have been
different? Are there other universes? A theory of
everything should answer these questions. Every
big scientific discovery changes how we think
about our purpose and ourselves. String theory is
the biggest, most exciting change that ever
happened in science.
[According to string theory], everything and every
force is the result of vibrations of strings.
Strings vibrate in more than the four dimensions
of spacetime [up-down, forward-backward,
left-right, time]. There are also seven tightly
curled up dimensions. We may never be able to see
these dimensions, unlike the four dimensions of
spacetime. The shape of these dimensions sets the
properties of the forces and particles. It also
determines the laws of physics of the universe.
String theory allows multiple universes.
Particles and forces are bound to
branes, higher dimensional objects. The
only exception is gravity´s graviton that moves
between branes. Multiple universes can be very
close but in different branes and not be
detectable except by extremely weak gravitational
Back to our very first question, do strings
hold the world together? Most physicists would say
yes. String theory does have problems, but it is
still under construction. A theory of everything
is a gigantic challenge. String theory makes many
predictions. We just cannot accelerate particles
to high enough energy to check them. Most
important is that string theory pulls together all
of physics into a beautiful consistent whole.
String explains many things we know, like black
holes, quantum gravity, elementary particles,
quantum mechanics, relativity, the unification of
forces, and the structure of the universe. It also
requires things we may never be able to prove,
like the seven extra dimensions and unlimited
choices of universes. It is a theory of everything
but it is just being discovered. That leaves lots
of room for heated debate.
Is there a multiverse? Most physicists would
say probably not. The big hope is that we will
find an arrow saying this is our universe and the
shape of our curly dimensions.
If string holds the universe together, then
everything, energy, forces, and matter, is made
from string. Strings vibrating in different
spaces, at different frequencies, and interacting
cause all the amazing things in our universe.
Strings are always vibrating. The whole universe
is always singing. You are part of the universe.
You also are singing, in every little bit of you.
Take time to listen to the music, the music of the
spheres. It is the music between your ears.
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theory for kids
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