What is String Theory?
Is this just something beyond our abilities or is it
My name is James Lincoln. I'm a physics teacher here for About.com. Today, we'll be talking about string theory. String theory is a new approach to particle physics. In fact, it's an alternative to particle physics, in that we imagine that the energy of the particles is stuck in these vibrating strings and it predicts their mass and, therefore, their energy content. For example, you might think of an electron as a particle. But these days, string theorists might think of it as a vibrating string with a negative charge. String theory runs into some problems in that it doesn't make theoretical predictions. That is, there is no testable hypothesis that can come out of string theory. And so is it actually a theory?The theory goes into another dimension. We could call this part M-Theory. This is where things get more complicated. Nobody really knows what the M stands for, but for all intents and purposes, the M can stand for Master Theory. The strings can be wound into loops just like real strings or can be woven into membranes which are often just called "brains." The theory is complex and beyond comprehension for most people, including most physicists. So is this just something beyond our abilities or is it an over complication of mathematics? In conclusion, string theory is something to be excited about. It is an alternative to the particle theory model, the model we've been using for hundreds of years to explain matter. But we should be cautious, because string theory needs to start making predictions if we are going to start treating it like an actual theory of science. I'm James Lincoln for About.com. Thanks for watching.