String theory aims to become the great theory of everything.
It is one of the theories that offers the highest expectations of unifying the four great forces of Nature: electromagnetism, strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force and gravity. What amounts to unifying quantum physics and relativity. Take up the task that Einstein left unfinished.
String theory emerged in the late 1960s. It was an extravagant theory, which only caught the attention of a few and was never taken seriously. But from the mid-80s until today, it has become increasingly popular.
The standard model, which dominates current physics, continues to raise many questions and some contradictions. String theory seems to give answers. The problem is that, with the means at our disposal, it is impossible to verify. This causes many scientists to reject it, considering it a philosophical theory rather than a physical one. In the scientific world, it has as many defenders as detractors.
There are several theories about the nature and functioning of the Cosmos. But they all assume that the smallest and indivisible parts of matter are small balls that combine to form everything that exists. As a children's game of building blocks. They are elementary particles, electrons and quarks.
String theory breaks with this idea. It assumes that the smallest parts are filaments of energy. A kind of vibrating strings. Each type of vibration produces one type or another of a particle, with different qualities, just as the vibrations of the strings of a violin produce different notes.
The strings would be much smaller than a quark, so we can't see them. Although they can be deduced mathematically.
String theory has different versions. One of them, the M theory, believes that a special string vibration would result in a particle called graviton, which would be responsible for gravity. In this way, it would unify gravity, something that the standard model has not achieved so far.
The larger strings would form a kind of circular membranes or branes. Each membrane would be a universe. The clash between two branes would produce a new Big Bang and a new universe. Ours would be only one among many. There would be no beginning or end, but cycles between one big bang and the next.
The theory defends the existence of ten spatial and one temporal dimensions. Those dimensions would be in the strings themselves, and that's why we don't see them.
For now, there is no evidence that string theory is correct or that it is not. Arthur Eddington said that the world is not only weirder than we imagine, but even weirder than we can imagine.
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