STRING THEORY: THE NEW ULTIMATE THEORYString Theory: The New Ultimate Theory Malachi Little Classical Conversations1

STRING THEORY: THE NEW ULTIMATE THEORYString Theory: The New Ultimate Theory Physicists have always dreamed of a theory that can explain the physics of any physical object in the universe, an equation that can model the smallest path of an electron or the massive black holes deep in space. As new theories were formed throughout history, each one was suspected to be the final unified theory. But over and over the theories led to more questions requiring a more advanced theory. Today, physicists deal with two main theories: general relativity and quantum mechanics. Both theories are very well proven with experimental data, but these theories disagree with each other on a fundamental level. Let us consider the properties of these two theories and see how string theory will combine the two. Relativity Einstein revolutionized physics with his theory of relativity. He showed that the laws of physics are the same for objects in constant velocity motion as they are for objects at rest. He postulated that the speed of light will be the same for everyone, no matter their state of motion, and that nothing can travel faster than light speed. An important effect of this is the relation between mass and energy. As an object accelerates, it begins to get heavier. The heavier the object, the more energy it requires to accelerate. An object cannot accelerate past the speed of light because it would require an infinite amount of energy. (Hawking, 2001) Einstein also showed that an object in motion will measure distances of space and lengths of time differently. In his bookThe Elegant Universe, (1999) Brian Greene explains using a2

STRING THEORY: THE NEW ULTIMATE THEORYclock that measures time with a photon. The photon bounces vertically between two mirrors at a constant rate. At rest, the photon will appear to move straight up and down, as shown below. However, when the clock is moving, the photon will appear to travel in a diagonal line. The photon’s path is longer when in motion, showing time travels more slowly. Einstein showed that time was not an absolute, but was different depending on an object’s state of motion. An object in motion has its own personal time differing from all objects in different states of motion, Another important factor of special relativity is the fabric of spacetime. Isaac Newton thought there to be two separate entities: absolute space and absolute time. Einstein combined them into one entity. He later expanded on the idea of spacetime in his general theory of relativity. (Einstein, 2012) Special Relativity worked well with electromagnetism, but not with gravity. Newton said gravity was instantaneous. This idea was not compatible with Relativity because Einstein limited how fast an object could travel: the speed of light. Also, to understand the idea of instantaneous events occurring would require universal absolute time, which Einstein abolished in favor of personal time. (Hawking 2001)3

## Want to read all 15 pages?

Previewing 4 of 15 pages Upload your study docs or become a member.

## Want to read all 15 pages?

Previewing 4 of 15 pages Upload your study docs or become a member.

## End of preview

Want to read all 15 pages? Upload your study docs or become a member.