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String Theory: The Basic Idea

Our universe is far more complex than we can even imagine. When we try to observe the universe on bigger scales than it surprises us with new things every time. Same happens when we try to study the universe at its smallest scale. What is the world made of? Is one of the most important questions ever asked by any member of Homo sapiens. Everyone now knows about atoms and molecules. We are well familiar with the word atom and its existence. Atom was thought to be the smallest block of matter, but now we know it is not and there are more than hundred subatomic particles. The particles mentioned in the previous article are the "letters" of all matter. The particles mentioned in the previous article are the smallest building blocks of matter, and they appear to have no further internal substructure.

Image Credit: Zidbits

String theory says, if we may perhaps examine the smallest building blocks of matter, i.e. photons, quarks and leptons with even greater accuracy, an accuracy with many orders of magnitude beyond our current technological ability, then we may find that each particle is not point like, but instead of point like it is comprised of a tiny one dimensional loop. This tiny one dimensional loop is known as a String. Like an infinitely thin rubber band, each particle contains an oscillating, vibrating, dancing filament known as a string. Different oscillations and vibrations will result in different particles. String theory adds the new minute layer of a vibrating loop to the previously known progression of atoms through neutrons, photons, quarks and leptons.

Modern physics has two scientific laws which are also its basic laws and these are quantum physics and general relativity. These two basic scientific laws deal with different fields of study in physics. Quantum physics deals with the very tiniest entities in the universe, on the other hand, relativity deals with the nature of the larger scales like planets, galaxies, and the universe itself as a whole. There is conflict between these two basic laws (click here to read the conflict). A most promising theory so far, to solve this conflict is string theory. String theory also gives rise to extra dimensions. A vast region of study among string theorists is on mathematical models of how extra dimensions could be connected to the dimensions in which we live. Particle physicists working at CERN’s LHC particle accelerator may soon join string theory to the reality.

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