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Thread: String Theory

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    String Theory

    Also known as the Theory of Everything, this theory presents a workable mathematical environment in which the space-time "grid" at the quantum mechanical level is sufficiently predictable and "calm" enough to fit into the standard model's idea of the space-time grid.
    Basically it allows us mathematically to understand with one theory what previously could only be understood by two separate theories.
    Other than this theory not being able to be tested or observed in any way, making it safe from being disproved by actual testing and observations, is this a valid theory? What do you all think?
    There are different kinds of string theory, the most common being M-String Theory.
    Aside from discussion about it's merits, if anyone would like to know more about string theory I am happy to answer questions. I'm not an authority on the theory obviously but I do have a fair amount of knowledge about it which I am happy to pass on.

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    Re: String Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by SubJunk
    Basically it allows us mathematically to understand with one theory what previously could only be understood by two separate theories.
    Like what for instance?

    .

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    Re: String Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    Like what for instance?

    .
    Well basically you can imagine Einstein's space-time as a trampoline, and each thing in the Universe is a ball on the trampoline. To make things easier we will refer only to planets.
    So imagine the Sun (a big ball) sitting in the middle of a trampoline, and Earth is a little ball. Instead of thinking of it as gravity that is keeping this little ball circling the big one, on a trampoline it circles the big one because the big one creates a large dent in the trampoline. The affects of gravity can be explained in this way.
    However when talking about sub-sub-atomic particles (quarks; pronounced kw-or-ks) when Einstein's space-time is applied to these (essentially mixing quantum mechanics - which is the science of the very small things - and special relativity - which is Einstein's theory of the very small things) space-time becomes impossible to work with, it turns from being a trampoline into a jittery series of lumps and spikes in which there is no way of determining when an event happened (whether it was cause-then-effect, or effect-then-cause), time cannot be determined, many strange things that don't work.
    String theory mathematics calms space-time down at that tiny level so that it's sufficiently flat (it's still bumpy but not nearly as much) to start to make sense again. So the one theory can be applied to everything, big or small, instead of doing what we do now which is using two theories.

    I'd like to point out that the two theories - special relativity and quantum mechanics - do work perfectly so far and have been proved many times, there is nothing wrong with them. But many scientists, including Einstein, Hawking, all string theorists, and many more, believe there should be one theory to describe everything and I agree with them. After all, big things are made up of little things!

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    Re: String Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by SubJunk

    I'd like to point out that the two theories - special relativity and quantum mechanics - do work perfectly so far and have been proved many times, there is nothing wrong with them. But many scientists, including Einstein, Hawking, all string theorists, and many more, believe there should be one theory to describe everything and I agree with them. After all, big things are made up of little things!
    OK, a lot of that went over my head but I think I grasped part of it. So right here we have two perfectly working so far theories (wouldn't that now be an oxymoron?) special relativity and quantum mechanics.

    And in your first post you wrote "Basically it allows us mathematically to understand with one theory what previously could only be understood by two separate theories."

    Let's see if I can track this, science has never been my thing. Is special relativity and quantum mechanics the two separate theories? And what one theory is being used that it used to take two before to understand? And what are we understanding?

    I think that is what I want to ask, lol.

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    Re: String Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    OK, a lot of that went over my head but I think I grasped part of it. So right here we have two perfectly working so far theories (wouldn't that now be an oxymoron?) special relativity and quantum mechanics.

    And in your first post you wrote "Basically it allows us mathematically to understand with one theory what previously could only be understood by two separate theories."

    Let's see if I can track this, science has never been my thing. Is special relativity and quantum mechanics the two separate theories? And what one theory is being used that it used to take two before to understand? And what are we understanding?

    I think that is what I want to ask, lol.

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    Yes, special relativity and quantum mechanics are two separate theories which, when used separately, do work. But string theory is just one theory that in time (hopefully) will work in every situation.
    It's a new way of thinking still, even though ST has been around for decades, because ST took a long time to get off the ground and is only in the last decade really gaining.
    If you have the program LimeWire you can do a video search for a good program called "The Elegant Universe", the 2nd episode is called String Theory and it explains it at a basic level with helpful graphics. As far as I know it's not illegal to download TV shows so I don't think there are issues with downloading it.
    Well one potential big outcome of having a theory of everything is that we could begin to use mathematics to understand singularities better, and this means we can go back mathematically to the instant of the big bang, just as the singularity exploded. This is a very difficult but very real possibility of what could be accomplished by having a theory of everything, especially one like string theory in which the quantum mechanical realm isn't so unpredictable.

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    Re: String Theory

    (Lady Mod gives Subjunk the "deer in the headlights" look.)

    Alrighty then. I guess they won't be calling on me soon. My math skills do good to balance a checkbook and I use a calculator for that. LOL.

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    Re: String Theory

    String theory also demands there be many dimensions beyond our four. All matter and energy are simply vibrating strings, very small ones. The only force able to pass through from one dimension to another and have an effect there is gravity. Very interesting, but totally imposable to prove. But then proof is not necessary to get some benefit from it. One must also remember that the science we use now requires a 70% to 96% fudge-it factor called “Dark Matter” to make the math work.

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    Re: String Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by Worried_in_the_USA
    String theory also demands there be many dimensions beyond our four. All matter and energy are simply vibrating strings, very small ones. The only force able to pass through from one dimension to another and have an effect there is gravity. Very interesting, but totally imposable to prove. But then proof is not necessary to get some benefit from it. One must also remember that the science we use now requires a 70% to 96% fudge-it factor called “Dark Matter” to make the math work.
    I don't know if I would call dark matter a fudge-it factor. Dark matter has evidence supporting it, firstly by simply observing that areas have more gravity than they should, and secondly rotation curves for galaxies. CDM and HDM are problematic still, you're right about that, but MDM may be a real possibility.

    Also, today's science doesn't require the use of dark matter in many calculations at all, dark matter is an unexplained phenomena but it doesn't need to be known to calculate very many things at all.

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    Re: String Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by Worried_in_the_USA
    String theory also demands there be many dimensions beyond our four. All matter and energy are simply vibrating strings, very small ones. The only force able to pass through from one dimension to another and have an effect there is gravity. Very interesting, but totally imposable to prove. But then proof is not necessary to get some benefit from it. One must also remember that the science we use now requires a 70% to 96% fudge-it factor called “Dark Matter” to make the math work.
    Also only roughly 25% of the Universe is thought to be made up of dark matter, it's dark energy that takes up around 70% of the Universe's mass, with observable mass at around 4-5%.

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    Re: String Theory

    While reading this thread, I got the feeling that I am an idiot. :confused:

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    Re: String Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by 6seven8
    While reading this thread, I got the feeling that I am an idiot. :confused:
    Now now, "mentally challenged" is a far nicer way of putting it...

    No just kidding, just because you don't have knowledge of string theory is no reason to say that, I'm sure some of the smartest people in the world don't know anything about string theory; it's just what you choose to specialise in

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    Re: String Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by SubJunk
    Now now, "mentally challenged" is a far nicer way of putting it...

    No just kidding, just because you don't have knowledge of string theory is no reason to say that, I'm sure some of the smartest people in the world don't know anything about string theory; it's just what you choose to specialise in
    You aren't saying that 6seven8 is specializing in being "mentally challenged" are you?


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    Re: String Theory

    You are correct about dark energy, I just put them together. But with out it as a fudge-it factor they cannot even explain why Galaxies spread out the way they do. They do not spin fast enough to make them fly apart as fast and as far as they do; I see that as a very big fudge-it. 96% of the universe is totally an unknown; it can’t be seen or even detected. Its only proof is the fact that their math does not work with out it. I am totally amazed they call this science, 4% sounds like a very weak foundation to me. I would not be surprised if something totally new comes along and changes everything.

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    Re: String Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by Worried_in_the_USA
    You are correct about dark energy, I just put them together. But with out it as a fudge-it factor they cannot even explain why Galaxies spread out the way they do. They do not spin fast enough to make them fly apart as fast and as far as they do; I see that as a very big fudge-it. 96% of the universe is totally an unknown; it can’t be seen or even detected. Its only proof is the fact that their math does not work with out it. I am totally amazed they call this science, 4% sounds like a very weak foundation to me. I would not be surprised if something totally new comes along and changes everything.
    Well do you believe black holes exist then? They can't be seen either. Dark matter is detectable, it's affect on gravity is very detectable. Experiments involving gravitational lensing have showed this, so it's not purely a mathematical construct.
    I don't deny the possibility of something totally new coming along and changing everything but I think it's a very small possibility as our science works 99.9% of the time on all other things. Quantum Mechanics has been proven time and time again (without it we would not have TVs, for example) and the standard model has also been proven countless times.

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    Re: String Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by SubJunk
    Well do you believe black holes exist then? They can't be seen either.
    Actually Black Holes are very visible, the energy/matter that spews out of them makes them very easy to see, it just took scientist a long time to discover this phenomenon.

    Dark matter is detectable, it's affect on gravity is very detectable. Experiments involving gravitational lensing have showed this, so it's not purely a mathematical construct.
    Gravitational lensing does not prove the existence of Dark Mater/Dark Energy as undiscovered Black Holes could account for this effect as well as some yet unknown. There is something out there they do not understand, that is for sure. If gravity can pass from dimension to dimension, then perhaps the explanation lies and a parallel universe.
    I just think to require such an enormous amount of fudge-it leaves the real possibility that they are way of base. Perhaps they are right but I do not think so. I tend to think the idea of a vacuum being full of very small particles of matter coming and going is much more likely than Dark Matter/Energy.


    I don't deny the possibility of something totally new coming along and changing everything but I think it's a very small possibility as our science works 99.9% of the time on all other things. Quantum Mechanics has been proven time and time again (without it we would not have TVs, for example) and the standard model has also been proven countless times.
    Our science works on the small, but never on the large scale of things.

    JMO ofcourse, and there are many out there a lot smarter than me. :o

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    Re: String Theory

    Quote Originally Posted by Worried_in_the_USA
    Actually Black Holes are very visible, the energy/matter that spews out of them makes them very easy to see, it just took scientist a long time to discover this phenomenon.
    Interesting. I know it's theorised to happen when black holes couple with white holes (which are more a sci-fi construct than an actual one) but this is highly flawed because the matter ejected from the white hole would collapse in on itself forming another black hole.

    Perhaps what you're thinking of is when matter travels close to a black hole's event horizon but doesn't actuall enter the black hole, the black hole can propel the matter away from it (as with the galaxy cluster MS 0735.6+7421 last year)



    Quote Originally Posted by Worried_in_the_USA
    Gravitational lensing does not prove the existence of Dark Mater/Dark Energy as undiscovered Black Holes could account for this effect as well as some yet unknown. There is something out there they do not understand, that is for sure. If gravity can pass from dimension to dimension, then perhaps the explanation lies and a parallel universe.
    I just think to require such an enormous amount of fudge-it leaves the real possibility that they are way of base. Perhaps they are right but I do not think so. I tend to think the idea of a vacuum being full of very small particles of matter coming and going is much more likely than Dark Matter/Energy.

    Our science works on the small, but never on the large scale of things.

    JMO ofcourse, and there are many out there a lot smarter than me. :o
    You're right, gravitational lensing doesn't prove it but it can be interpreted as evidence for it.

    While you are right that it isn't proof, it's evidence. A black hole can only be within a certain size, if it's originating star is larger or smaller than is required it won't become a black hole at all. Why I mention this (as I'm sure you know that already) is to point out that while there are obviously many black holes we haven't observed yet, as long as the black hole isn't in a more remote part of space, which is unlikely as these parts of space don't have the heat required to support the initial formation, the black hole wouldn't take too long to discover. I think it's far-fetched to think there are lots of little black holes that are as yet unobservable that would account for the massive gravitational lensing found in some parts of space.

    It's possible though of course, I'm not saying you're wrong. There isn't a hell of a lot we know or can know about black holes with current physics, damn singularities... And that's where string theory comes in, with the potential to mathematically see inside a black hole.

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