In simple words: what is superstring theory?

Today, the scientific picture of the world develops in such a way that our Universe operates two sets of laws — the General theory of relativity, which explains the beautiful work of gravity, and quantum mechanics, which describes the other three interactions of the universe (strong nuclear, weak nuclear and electromagnetism). You can take these laws and apply them to things on a large scale — planets of the galaxy, and then to the smallest scale — protons and neutrons. But why would nature have made the two separate sets of laws for the universe?

Superstring theory is an attempt to answer two questions: is there a way to combine General relativity and quantum mechanics, creating a “theory of everything”? What everything consists of?

Superstring theory

We used to think that the building blocks of life are atoms, the smallest components of matter. But then we pushed the atoms and discovered elementary particles, the components are so small that even can’t see them not changing in a certain way. To see something, we need that the light first reflected from the object and into our eyes, making the picture. Light consists of electromagnetic waves that pass freely through the elementary particles. We can make these waves are denser, they add energy to punch particles and we could see them, but as soon as a particle of something hits it, it changes, so to see it in the initial state we can not. We have no idea how to look like elementary particles. Like dark energy, dark matter, we cannot observe this phenomenon directly, but we have reason to believe that they exist.

We consider these particles as points in space, although in reality they are not. Despite all the shortcomings, this method is the idea of quantum mechanics that forces are carried by particles — gives us a good idea of the universe and leads to breakthroughs like quantum solvents and trains on magnetic levitation. General relativity itself is also well tested by time, explaining neutron stars and the anomalies of mercury’s orbit, predicting black holes and the bending of light. But the equations of General relativity, unfortunately, no longer work in the center of a black hole, and in anticipation of the Big Bang. The problem is that putting them together does not work, because gravity associated with the geometry of space and time when distances are measured precisely, and in the quantum world to measure something there is no way.

When scientists tried to invent a new particle, which would marry gravity with quantum mechanics, their math just failed.

In a sense, had to go back to the school Board. Therefore, scientists assumed that the smallest components of the universe is not the point, and strings. Different vibrations of the strings create different particles like quarks. Vibrating strings could make up all matter and the four forces in the Universe — including gravity.

Higher dimension

In superstring theory there is a problem. It doesn’t work, assuming that there are only three spatial dimensions and one temporal, in which we live. String theory requires that the game was at least ten measurements.

When General relativity was first conceived, gravity distorted space and time to describe this force. So if someone wanted to describe the other force like electromagnetism, he would need to add a new dimension. Scientists have written the equations describing the curves and the defects of the universe with an additional dimension, and get the original equation of electromagnetism. Amazing discovery.

The extra dimensions of string theory can help us to explain why the numbers in our Universe is so calibrated that allow everything to exist. For example, why the speed of light is 299 792 458 meters per second? They also try to answer the question about gravity — why is this power so weak? It is the weakest of the four fundamental interactions: 1040 times weaker than the electromagnetic force. Simply bend over and pick up the book from the floor to oppose it. Theoretically, this is because gravity is leaking into higher dimensions. Gravity consists of filaments with a closed circuit, allowing it to leave our dimension, in contrast to the open threads that are better grounded.

Why can’t we see all these dimensions?

Because they exist on such a small level that is invisible to us, are not detectable. They are compact, equipped in such a way that reproduce the physics of our world, adding to the interesting shape of the Calabi-Yau. Various forms of Calabi-Yau allow you to have different vibrations of the strings and completely different universes.

We can even test proposed multiple universes. As we assume that gravity leaks into higher dimensions, after the collision of two particles should be less time than before the collision. But even in the most favorable conditions, testing something like that would be incredibly difficult, elusive.

The calculations of string theory are produced in the simulated universes with 10 or 11 dimensions, where the math works. The researchers then try to erase the extra dimensions, but so far no one has succeeded in describing our universe or the development of some experiment to prove the theory. However, this does not mean that we have no applications to string theory.

The mathematical tool developed in the framework of the string theory research helps us understand part of our universe. We can use it to the best explanation for the information paradox, quantum gravity and some of the problems of pure mathematics. Some scientists use the theory to perform calculations in particle physics or in the observation of exotic States of matter.

String theory may not be a theory of everything, but it’s at least a theory of something.

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