String theory?

Question

Can anyone tell me the most BASIC, and watered down rundown of string theory? Pretend you’re telling a random off the street that doesn’t know anything past 11th grade physics.

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General Physics RvTDLR 2 years 1 Answer 262 views 0

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Answer ( 1 )

  1. Basically, in well-established Quantum Mechanics theory, all particles are assumed to be point-like, meaning that they are zero-dimensional points in space. Every fundamental particle that you can think of is made of something that is point-like, such as photons, electrons, quarks, etc., etc. That’s the view of Quantum Mechanics Theory, also known as the Standard Model.

    In String theory, they modify that a little, and they believe that these point-like particles are actually 1-dimensional strings, that are so tiny that we believe they are point-like, but in actual fact they are string-like. When we’re talking about how small these strings are, we’re talking about something on the scale of Planck Lengths, which trillions upon trillions of times smaller than the scale of an atom! A string would be as small as compared to an atom, as an atom is as small compared to a galaxy.

    So why does this make a difference? Because another tenet of String theory is that there dozens of hidden dimensions that we don’t see, but are there at the Planck scale too. We are used to our 3 dimensions of space, and 1 dimension of time, but according String theory, there may be an additional 7 or 8 tiny dimensions of space that we never experience because they are too small for us to ever see. Okay, so why does this matter? Well, according to String theory, all fundamental particles are made from the same type of string, but these strings are vibrating within these additional dimensions in different ways, thus leading to us calling them different particles. So single string vibrating in a certain way might be a quark, while the same string vibrating in another way would be a photon, or a Higgs boson, etc., etc.

    So yes, when they say a string is vibrating, they do mean it in the same way as a guitar or piano string vibrates, so does this fundamental string.

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