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Dr. S. James Gates, Jr., a theoretical physicist, the John S. Toll Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, and the Director of The Center for String & Particle Theory, provides an overview, history, and illustration of String Theory in the presentation below. He precedes with some general comments, history, and insights about physics. Because Dr. Gates is an entertaining speaker and endearing person, let’s hear what he has to say about String Theory. Gates has committed and devoted his career to this endeavor, we wish him well.
Sylvester James Gates admits that String Theory is a “very speculative, but very hopeful form, of theoretical physics”. Further the strings are incredibly small, Gates says evidence exists to suggest these structures at 10-34. Blood cells are 10-5 and DNA is 10-9. Atoms begin at 10-10 and the atomic nucleus is 10-14. These strings are only theory and no technology exists to even detect strings. Further, “we have no way to even understand how to build the technology to study these scales”. So testing is more than a remote possibility! Accordingly, the only way to study String Theory is mathematics.
Gates describes String Theory as replacing traditional particles, “billiard balls”, “geometric particle points”, with “little filaments” or “strings”. There are two types of strings, the opened-end and closed-end. As the strings move, they vibrate. The mathematics is extensive and complex, to say the least, to describe this quantum, sub-nuclear view. The strings support electrons, photons, quarks, and all other fundamental “particles” of the Universe. All the forces are also explained, including the only mathematical description of quantum gravity.
The Dimension Problem Originally String Theory required 25 dimensions (plus time) to reconcile with Einstein’s relativity and quantum theory. Superstring Theory reduced the dimensions to 9 (plus time). By the late 1990s, 3-dimensional string theory (plus time) was proven mathematically, which replaced the prior “extra-dimensional” theories. However, the already complex mathematics became more so and extra-dimensional theory still prevails.
Unified Theory In 1984, utilizing dynamic, rotating heterotic superstrings via mathematics, a unified field theory was created. This included quantum theory, gravity, and Maxwell’s equations.
Minnesota Channel – The Legacy of Einstein : Sylvester Gates [Relevant comments to String Theory begin at 33:05 in the video. The incredibly small size of strings begins at 9:21 in the video.] Nobel Conference 41, ‘The Legacy of Einstein,’ celebrates the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s annus mirabilis. The series links a general audience in debate with some of the World’s foremost scientists in the areas of statistical physics, relativity, cosmology, and unified theories. In addition, the impact of Einstein’s discoveries and his social and political views has had on science and humanity.This episode features speaker Sylvester James Gates Jr. This forum was held at Gustavus Adolphus College.
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Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? ~ Stephen Hawking