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- Technically you need the extra dimensions. At first people didn’t like them too much, but they’ve got a big benefit, which is that the ability of string theory to describe all the elementary particles and their forces along with gravity depends on using the extra dimensions.
- As for the forces, electromagnetism and gravity we experience in everyday life. But the weak and strong forces are beyond our ordinary experience. So in physics, lots of the basic building blocks take 20th- or perhaps 21st-century equipment to explore.
- Quantum mechanics brought an unexpected fuzziness into physics because of quantum uncertainty, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
- String theory is an attempt at a deeper description of nature by thinking of an elementary particle not as a little point but as a little loop of vibrating string.
- I just think too many nice things have happened in string theory for it to be all wrong. Humans do not understand it very well, but I just don’t believe there is a big cosmic conspiracy that created this incredible thing that has nothing to do with the real world.
- Having those extra dimensions and therefore many ways the string can vibrate in many different directions turns out to be the key to being able to describe all the particles that we see.
- If you are a researcher, you are trying to figure out what the question is as well as what the answer is.
- You have that one basic string, but it can vibrate in many ways. But we’re trying to get a lot of particles because experimental physicists have discovered a lot of particles.
- Even before string theory, especially as physics developed in the 20th century, it turned out that the equations that really work in describing nature with the most generality and the greatest simplicity are very elegant and subtle.
- The theory has to be interpreted that extra dimensions beyond the ordinary four dimensions the three spatial dimensions plus time are sufficiently small that they haven’t been observed yet.
- It’s indeed surprising that replacing the elementary particle with a string leads to such a big change in things. I’m tempted to say that it has to do with the fuzziness it introduces.
- We know a lot of things, but what we don’t know is a lot more.
- One of the basic things about a string is that it can vibrate in many different shapes or forms, which gives music its beauty.
- As far as extra dimensions are concerned, very tiny extra dimensions wouldn’t be perceived in everyday life, just as atoms aren’t: we see many atoms together but we don’t see atoms individually.
- I’m actually, for the most part, a complete agnostic politically.
- One very important aspect of string theory is definitely testable. That was the prediction of supersymmetry, which emerged from string theory in the early ‘70s.
- I have a tendency, more than most other physicists, to try to figure out everything all at once, before I publish. And even to try to figure out everything in my head, without pencil and paper.
- As of now, string theorists have no explanation of why there are three large dimensions as well as time, and the other dimensions are microscopic. Proposals about that have been all over the map.
- Regardless of any deviations, it was clear I was supposed to end up in math and physics.
- There was a long history of speculation that in quantum gravity, unlike Einstein’s classical theory, it might be possible for the topology of spacetime to change.