The Weirdness of String Theory

Quantum mechanics is a difficult subject to get your head around and the more you think you know about it, the more you discover you don’t look much at all. There are many contradictions in physics yet all of them are meant to hold true. Take the Standard Model of quantum physics for example. It states that everything is made up of particles, but string theory disagrees. It says they’re simply strings, each vibrating to their beat.

Using the Standard Model again as a reference, it means there are 12 basic building blocks of the universe in the form of six quarks and six leptons. Included in this mixture are four fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. Out of these four forces, the one that has scientists most puzzled is gravity. The reason for this is that the others are much easier to prove and arise from the exchange of an elementary particle. Photons impact the attraction of electromagnetism. Gluons bind the strong nuclear force, while W and Z bosons string the weak nuclear force together. Regarding gravity, scientists have suggested a particle called the graviton could be responsible for gravity, but as of yet, are unable to prove its existence.

The Standard Model

String Theory assumes we live in a universe with at least 10 dimensions. ” The idea of dimensions may sound exciting, but they would cause real problems if you forget where you parked your car.” – Stephen Hawking

However, string theory proposes that these elementary particles are simply different versions of a tiny loop of string that vibrate at different frequencies to create different kinds of particles. If the strings oscillate one way we may see a photon but oscillate in another way and we may see an electron. Once you accept this theory, it’s quite easy to accept there’s a kind of oscillation that creates a graviton. But, there are a few things that might make it harder, with the first being for string theory to work the universe needs to have ay least 10 dimensions. So why then do we only perceive four (up-down, forward-backward, right-left, and time)? One idea suggests it’s because the other dimensions are tucked away and folded down in such a way that we can’t see them. But as of yet, it is just a theory and until we have some concrete proof it will remain that way.

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