Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Spaghetti String Theory

I've been wanting to do a post for awhile on String Theory, which can be vaguely described as reality actually has a bunch more dimensions wrapped up in it than the traditional 3 space + 1 time that we actually do our eating and sleeping in. Two good books I've read on this subject are Hyperspace and The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory, and I highly recommend reading them. Hyperspace is a little more friendly to the reader that hasn't had much prior exposure to novel concepts such as quantum mechanics, but it's fair to say both authors tend to get excited and start using big words often throughout these texts. Although big words aren't the problem so much as the big concepts, i.e. the reason we live in three dimensions and not ten is that the other seven are curled up really, really tiny. Or something.

I should note here that I could conceivably be misunderstanding some basic concepts from these books, and you should totally feel free to correct me if this is the case.

As far as I can tell, some faucets of string theory are used to suggest how parallel dimensions and time travel might occur via "plucking" the strings.  Now, I'm not musically inclined (at least when it comes to making it; I can listen to music with the best of them), but I've got to wonder what happens if an inexperienced violin player somehow gets ahold of our reality and starts playing badly with it. This is along the same line of wondering what happens if some kid starts bouncing on the rubber sheet of the universe. But I digress.

Flatland is often referred to when trying to describe string theory because it tells the tale of a two-dimensional square being introduced to other dimensional worlds by a three-dimensional ball. Dimensions above three space and one time are hard for mortals (and me) to comprehend, mainly because it's so far outside our experience. It's the definition of our world and how we move in it. For that matter, most thoughts on two-dimensional life is that it can't happen because if you have a channel for an intestinal tract from mouth to ejection hole you'd be split in two. I think this is highly dimensionalist and if there are indeed two-dimensional lifeforms they are quite happily existing without us telling them how they ought to. For that matter, The Elegant Universe has a section talking about how organisms existing in two dimensions of time would never meet up with each other. I suspect that again, this is a case of thinking that, since our single-time-dimension minds can't think of a way to describe it, it's not likely to happen. Timist, if you need a word for it.

At this point I've blathered a bit about string theory, and since I have a cool title for this post I will give you a picture to justify it:

1 comment:

  1. In response to your comment (since this blog allows no such thing and I don't have your email), I make colored lines based on the color themes of the avatars I'm drawing. So yeah, whatever coloring you see on the blog is my doing.