Why String Theory May Be the Key to Uncovering A “Theory of Everything”

Explaining all of physics in just one theory? It may be possible.

3. 7. 17 by Karla Lant
Memo Akten
Image by Memo Akten

Life, the Universe, and Everything

A central goal that modern physicists share is finding a single theory that can explain the entire universe and unite the forces of nature. The standard model, for example, leaves Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and even gravity out of the picture — meaning that it really only accounts for a very small percentage of what makes up the universe.

String Theory stitches Einstein’s conception of the general theory of relativity together with Quantum Mechanics, and the result is quantum theory applied to gravity. This application allows us to break down the universe beyond the subatomic particle level into vibrating strings whose interactions and vibrations make up the universe.

In other words, all matter is made up of atoms, and all atoms are composed of electrons, neutrons, and protons — and these can be broken down further into quarks. Quarks are are made up of these dynamic strings, whose motions in space are the key to understanding the universe, explained Michio Kaku, physicist at the City College of New York. Kaku is the He’s the co-founder of string field theory (a branch of string theory).

What is String Theory & How Does it Work?

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Good Vibrations

In an interview with Big Think, Kaku explained String Theory this way: The standard model for physics, including the Higgs Boson, represents the lowest octave of a vibrating string. Dark matter, which makes up around 23 percent of the universe, is the next vibration up. Dark energy happens when the symmetries of the super string are broken, and it comprises about 68 percent of the universe.


So, according to String Theory, each vibrating string corresponds to a different particle, and there are almost certainly more dimensions to the universe than the four we once thought represented everything. String Theory is unique at this time because, as Kaku pointed out, it is the only game in town that truly has the potential to be a Theory of Everything.

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