Back to video


There are believed to be four fundamental forces operating in the universe: Gravity, electromagnetism, and the weak and strong nuclear forces. Gravity is explained by Einstein's theory of general relativity, while electromagnetism and the weak and strong forces are explained by the standard model of quantum mechanics.

On their own, each of these theories works fine. But at the subatomic level, when we try to introduce gravity in a sea of particals that make up all matter, the two theories become quite incompatible.

Enter string theory: an attempt to explain all four forces in a theory of everything. The basic premise of string theory is that subatomic entities such as quarks and electrons are actually tiny loops, or strings, that are vibrating. In fact, each mode of vibration represents a distinct state that corresponds to a particular particle. Thus, if we could magnify a subatomic entity, we would see a tiny vibrating string.

One fascinating aspect of string theory is that strings can break into smaller strings, or combine to form larger strings. This complicated set of interactions, the same rules described by Einstein's theory of general relativity, the theory that explains gravity, thus making string theory an attractive candidate for a theory of everything.

On top of this, string theory also makes several strange predictions: such as the number of dimensions of space being greater than previously thought. It predicts the existence of parallel universes and wormholes in attempts to explain blackholes and singularities.

Although currently untested, string theory fires the imagination with it's aesthetic beauty and symphonic elegance, and will continue to attract armchair theorists and researchers alike.

Back to Top ↑