Scientific issues and innovations are figuring into everyday conversation more than ever before. Recognizing that we could all use some brushing up, Seed offers its Cribsheet.
To unite the seemingly incompatible worlds of the very large and the very small, physicists propose string theory, a model of the universe in which tiny strings vibrate in more than three dimensions. This Cribsheet covers the basics of string theory: what it says, why we think it might give us a unified theory of physics, and whether experiment supports it. In addition, we tell you how the strings are shaped and why string theory may not be the final “theory of everything.”
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Illustrator: Cybu Richli — www.cybu.ch; Writers: Lee Billings & Joshua Roebke; Consultant: Clifford V. Johnson, University of Southern California; Graph Data: Nick Halmagyi, Compton Lectures, University of Chicago, 2006. Additional calculations by Joshua Roebke; Reference: A First Course in String Theory, Barton Zweibach, Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Originally published April 17, 2007