It’s been an week since my last post, but you guys don’t have to be worried because I didn’t give it up! The problem was: what would I talk about? I wasn’t inspired at all! Therefore, I think the lack of inspiration is actually the worst thing a blogger could ever struggle with in order to overcome it. But, here I am ready to blog about, perhaps the most powerful and promising theory ever discovered in science.
Before starting talking about it, let’s take a look at the past and review all the achievements that led to the discovery of String Theory. I won’t take an in-depth look at the details (like the discovery year and stuff like that), what I’ll focus on the most is the achievement itself.
String Theory aims to unify, but what exactly? Before saying the answer let’s first explain what’s unification in science:
Everyone might know that Isaac Newton discovered Gravity by accident. He was under a tree studying and suddenly an apple fell on his head and made he think about what made that apple fall, was there a force pulling it down? The answer was: yes, there was! Newton called this force Gravity. Later, he said Gravity was responsible for making the planets in our solar system stay in perfect harmony, the distancies between them were controlled by Gravity, and Gravity is the main factor that makes the orbits work.
Some of you might already figured out where the unification is. If you didn’t, I’ll explain: There were “two kinds of Gravity” back then, the terrestrial Gravity and the celestial Gravity, the terrestrial one responsible for the apples for example, and the celestial one responsible for the planets’ harmony. But Newton unified them as one single Gravity, one single force responsible for “everything”.
Later, Einstein discovered that, Gravity isn’t literally a force. Einstein introduced the concept of a space-time fabric, a surface in the universe that curves when the celestial object is on it, this curve is what makes the gravitational field, all the objects around the celestial object would feel atracted by it because they would “fall” into this curve. I have a feeling that it wasn’t a very good explanation, so you can take a deeper look on the internet! 😉
So far, there were three known forces in nature: Gravity (G), Electricity (E) and Magnetism (M). Then, Maxwell unified E and M with his equations (Maxwell’s equations, you can google it and take a better look at it), creating the Electromagnetism, the force responsible for electricity, light and magnetic attraction. After that, Einstein spent his last times of life trying to unify these two forces: EM and G. But he couldn’t.
When Niels Böhr discovered the depths of an atom, two new forces were found: the strong nuclear force (G), responsible for holding the protons and neutrons together as the nucleus and the weak nuclear force which is what we know as radiation or radioactivity, it allows neutrons to turn into protons. And, these forces were found with the help of the newly created Quantum Mechanics. It was helping the scientists to unlock the mysteries of the atom.
Now, let’s understand what’s the role of String Theory in this story. Well, after years of studying, two “families” were created: General Relativity, which works with the gravity force, deals with huge things such as galaxies and stars and Quantum Mechanics, works with the three other forces (EM, S and W) and deals with tiny things such as atoms and sub-atomic particles. They are like neighbors that don’t get along very well with each other.
One of the deep mysteries of modern physics is what is known as black hole. Black holes are understood as a heavy and tiny amount of mass which causes a deep curve in the space-time surface that not even the light is capable to escape from its gravitational field. And in order to understand it, scientists have to use General Relativity methods because it’s heavy and Quantum Mechanics methods because it’s tiny at the same time, but the results are meaningless, because both families simply don’t get along well with each other, after all the universe is NOT meaningless.
So, that’s when String Theory starts appearing, this theory believes that the universe is composed by one single ingredient, streams of energy called strings. They are in the most deep part of the tiniest particle, for example: matter is composed by atoms, inside it there are many smaller particles like electrons, neutrons and protons, inside them there are quarks, so far that’s the end of line, but for String Theory, inside the quarks there are billions of string composing it, and everything depends on the way they vibrate, they’re like guitar strings, from one string you can make several notes.
Finally, String Theory aims to unify Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity into one single set of equations. And if that happens, that would be one of the most outstanding discoveries in science because it will be able to explain the universe since the beginning, from the tiniest atom to the hugiest star with one single equation.
Well, I hope I could explain that in an way you guys could understand and I also hope all the information here is correct, if you found something wrong, please, fell free to comment it, that would be a pleasure to receive your feedbacks, I’d really appreciate it!
Thank you for reading!
– Mateus Rodrigues