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Thursday, 3 May 2012

String theory explained

I'm vaguely aware of how string theory works (or rather, might work). It's an attempt at a theory of everything that tries to unite quantum mechanics. Basically it suggests that quarks and electrons within an atom are one dimensional strands (strings, one might say) and that by being so this makes everything work out. That's about all I know. Superstrings, string field theory, the holographic principle and heterotic strings are just a mystery to me though.

So I was enormously pleased when I was shown the following videos. In them, Professor Edward Witten of the Institute of Advanced Study (at Princeton) explains in fairly simple terms (fairly simple - you do still need to be smart) where string theory came from and how it works.

I love that the internet has this stuff. The cute cat pictures are nice and all, but I wouldn't have any difficulty in getting hold of them without the net, but access to the thoughts of the world's leading theoretical physicist? Kick ass.

Oh and the videos seem to have been taken from something Italian, which means you might have to skip a couple of sequences of graphics as the narrator speaks in that ridiculous jibber-jabber that Italians think is a language. But it sure beats listening to Hawking burbling on in his robot voice.

Oh and I realise that some of you might think that Steven Hawking is hot shit because he's always on The Simpsons and he's written a couple of books that people pretend to have read, but Witten is the real deal.

1 comment:

  1. can i have this translated by someone with a serious science voice like Carl Sagan