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Strings July 12, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Science, Space.
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After watching the latest Nova on PBS I have been surrounding myself with musings on String Theory. It’s a complex topic that I, unfortunately, lack the expertise to fully explain.

Brian Greene does a much better job than I ever could in his 1999 book The Elegant Universe, a national bestseller and Pulitzer Prize Finalist. That brings me back to Nova, the three hour special is based on Greene’s book and shares the same title. The first installment of the three hour program aired Tuesday night, overshadowed by the MLB All-Star game to be sure. It was originally aired in 2002 and is available on DVD at Amazon and at PBS.

The foresighted people at PBS thought to post the entire three hour extravaganza on their website. It has been conveniently broken into short chapters for easy viewing.

Check it out here.

The gist of Superstring Theory (String Theory for short) is that all matter and all particles in the universe are made up of microscopic, vibrating strings. The whole idea really turns our view of the universe upside down.

This weird realm of physics dabbles in an eleven dimensional space and parallel universes. I recently saw an amazing short film on IFC, Spin directed by David Marmor, which really got my mind churning about string theory and quantum mechanics.

The theory has its critics, at this point the theory has yet to be tested, really. Which leads some in the physics world to call it philosophy. That isn’t to say that it couldn’t be completely valid. The math works out, quite “elegantly” to quote some really smart people whose names escape me (they appear in the Nova special).

String Theory Related Links:

The Offcial String Theory Website
Wikipedia entry
Check out the related wiki entries on M-Theory and Gravitons

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Comments»

1. Matt - July 17, 2006

I watched a PBS special on String Theory a couple years ago.

Fascinating, stimulating stuff.

Didn’t understand most of it. ;-)


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