6 String TheoryHaving glossed over how many gallons of midnight oil were burned in the production of the Standard Model, it is time to bring out the first good guy in our dime novel.
Such A CommotionThose with a more vivid imagination can probably picture the kind of kafuffle that broke out when String Theory burst through the saloon doors.
Wikipedia says that String Theory was "an outgrowth of a research program begun by Werner Heisenberg in 1943"06_01, and they should know, being Wiki and all. They go on to say a whole lot more about it at the page I deftly referenced above but be warned, this stuff is gnarly. They use a lot of words, and a lot of those are big words. Complicated don't begin to say it.
So, leaping over the heaping mounds of Herculean effort expended by so many for so few, let's just say that String Theory is to the Standard Model as quarks are to atoms.
The term 'atom'06_02 was chosen because it means "indivisible" -- they thought they had found the smallest unit stuff comes in. It was a bit of a shock when they (its always "they") discovered that atoms were made up of protons, electrons and neutrons.
Another shock followed when it turned out that the proton and neutron 'sub-atoms' were themselves formed from quarks06_03...and that these came with fractional charges!
But then that is science at work. Uncaring and bigger than you and me put together.
Wait, doesn't that make science the bad guy here?
String Theory Lacks GravitasDespite String Theory taking the next logical step of looking for smaller particles, the closest it has come to unifying gravity with the other three forces is to say "we have identified a graviton-like string".
Considering the graviton was assumed/hoped for at the start, String Theory has been both a disappointment and perhaps a huge diversion of manpower into vast fields of higher mathematics.
Sounds like a more down-to-earth hero is needed.
This Spring Walks Into A BarOk, so we have bad guys, good guys and bullies. And a bar.
So is this where we finally start talking about springs and loops...walking, and drinking?
Previous Chapter (5) Table Of Contents References Contact Next Chapter (7)