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String Theory
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Summary
The string theory is already showing us that the universe may be a lot stranger than anyone has ever imagined. For example string theory says we are surrounded by hidden dimensions – mysterious spaces exist beyond our familiar three dimensional space. What we think of our universe may be one small part of something much bigger. We live on a three dimensional membrane that floats inside higher dimensional space. There could be entire worlds right next to us but entirely invisible. For decades physicists believed that the tiniest bits inside an atom were point particles like electrons, protons and neutrons which are made of quarks. But string theory says that quarks which were thought of indivisible particles were in fact tiny vibrating strings. In 1995, Edward Witten an American theoretical physicist and professor at institute of advanced study suggested the existence of M-theory to explain a number of previously observed dualities, sparking a flurry of new research in string theory called the second superstring revolution. Before M-theory, strings seemed to operate in a world of 10 dimensions, these included one dimension of time, the three familiar space dimensions and six extra dimensions curled up so tiny that they were completely invisible. According to Gary Horowitz of UC Santa Barbara these extra dimensions exist and come out of equations of string theory. Strings need to move in more than three dimensions, so there must be an 11th dimension. The extra dimension Ed Witten added allows a string to stretch into something like a membrane or a Brane for short. A Brane could be three dimensional or even more and with enough energy a Brane can grow to enormous size, perhaps even as large as an universe. Our universe might be like a slice of bread in a much larger loaf which scientists sometimes refer to as the Bulk. And if these ideas are right the bulk may have other slices or other universes that are right next to ours. Gravity is a type of closed loop string called graviton, with closed loops there are no loose ends to tie down so gravitons are free to escape into the other dimensions diluting the strength of gravity and making it seem to be weaker than other forces of nature. This suggests an intriguing possibility that even if we cannot see parallel universes next to us perhaps we can feel them through gravity.
Keywords: Superstring theory, M-theory, Edward Witten, Quantum field theory, Graviton, Quarks, Extra dimensions, Membrane, Brane, Parallel Universe, Degrees of freedom, Particle physics, Fermilab, CERN
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