If you ask a particle physicist what they're thinking about, the answer will likely be very big or very small. But most of the time, they like to think of very big questions like why the universe is the way it is and does it have to be that way. This leads us to think about the tiny subatomic world. If you want to understand the universe, one thing you have to do to figure out what is made of and the rules that hold it together. Once that's done, you can answer questions like why planets exist, instead of, for instance, a diffuse gas that permeates the cosmos. There are criticisms to this sort of reductionist approach, like those who claim that it is hard to predict phenomenon like turbulence and animal biology knowing just the laws of particle physics; and there is some merit to that statement. Still all phenomena must not only conform to the rules of the micro realm, these phenomena originate in those subatomic rules. So, it's at least important to understand the most fundamental building blocks. Our current understanding of these tiny bits of matter is that there exist two classes of particles, called quark and leptons. Quarks found in the nucleus of atom, while the most familiar lepton in the electron. In addition, there are four forces, which are mediated by force- carrying particles jumping between quarks and leptons. The name we have for this model is called,
The Standard Model of Particle Physics. The problem is that if want to get at the ultimate building blocks of the universe, what we currently know doesn't seem to completely fit the bill. We have six type of quarks, three charged leptons, three neutral ones and four forces carrying particles. Plus, when you include the mysterious world to dark matter and a so-far-undiscovered particle called the graviton, the situation is a ridiculous mess. Some have charge; some don't. Some particle feels some forces, but not others. It's hard to imagine that the ultimate building blocks and most fundamental rules are found in this complexity. It seems there must be something simpler underlying all of this. As we dive into the world of the super small, we encounter molecules, then atoms, then protons, then neutrons and electrons. Digging deeper, we find quarks and leptons. So, could there be another layer? Or two? Or three? Even though they haven't been found and, to be honest, even may not exist, we already have a name for the layer below quarks and leptons. These smaller particles called Preons. But there is no reason there couldn't be pre-preons and pre-pre-preons and so forth. In short, there could be a line of undiscovered particles before we find the ultimate and smallest particle of all. This seemingly endless ladder of particles isn't the only idea out there. One very interesting idea is that when we get to the smallest size of all, we don't find the particle, but rather an ultra- tiny vibrating string. How can a string explain the variety of subatomic particles we know about? Essentially, the scientist assigns the various vibrational patterns of the string to be the various know particles. You can get a sense of this by seeing what happens with a single string.
If you vibrate a string slowly, you get a single big vibration. If the vibration is increased, you get two big vibrations. Increase the vibration more and you get three vibrations, and so on. In the superstring model, each vibration pattern represents a specific subatomic particle. This is cool because it means that all particle types originate from a single kind of string. The complexity of vibrations is even more obvious in two dimensions. For example; take some salt, put it on a metal plate and drive it with a speaker and remarkable patterns arise. In this example, the white lines are where the salt is stationary and the plates aren't moving. Where you see the metal of the plate, it's vibrating like mad, so no salt can it there. While two-dimensional vibrations are already complex, scientist think that superstrings vibrate in way more dimensions as in like seven dimensions. As in like seven dimensions is hard to get your head around, but it's what the theory needs to work. The dimensions we are talking about here are much smaller than the ones you're familiar with. You can get head around smaller dimensions using below hula loop.
The hula loop can move in the familiar x, y and z dimensions of left and right, up and down and forward and backward. But you noticed that hoop has a little paper sleeve wrapped around it. If you want to explain the location of the piece of paper, one way to do that is to locate the hoop's centre in the x, y and z and then state the position of the paper on the hoop; bottom, side top and so on. Now imagine that he hula loop is small, so small that you can't see it. The location of the hoop still needs three dimensions to describe it, but there is still the where the paper is. To answer that question, you need four dimensions. Now I know you will say that as I move the paper around the loop, it is also moving in the ordinary 3 dimensions. And you are right. Just remember, I am using an analogy to describe a very complex mathematical idea. The analogy is imperfect. But I hope it conveys the right idea. So, on superstrings, you need the three spatial dimensions of x, y and z, plus the dimensions of time. But you also need seven small extra dimensions, making a total of 11. Pretty mind blowing, to be sure. But if you just remember a small string vibrating in 7 dimensions, you get a decent idea of what the theory predicts. So, are superstrings real? Should you believe in them? The answer is clear and unequivocal. Superstrings might be real, but you absolutely should not believe in them. There is currently very cool mathematical idea and there is exactly zero experimental evidence to support them. The extra dimensions of superstring theory are incredibly small-much smaller than we can access using our particle accelerators. Physicist imagine that the size of strings might be plank length, which is about 10^-35 meters. That's far smaller compared to a proton than a proton is compared to you. There are no accelerators built or even imagined that can explore such tiny sizes. So why does scientist study this idea that is so hard to prove? Well, first the idea is just plain cool; but second, it is nice and simplifying explanation that finally gives us a simple and fundamental building block that can then explain the complex world we actually live in.
Superstrings? Yes or No
Importance of string theory
We can use string theory to solve physics problems of different area. Superstring predicts that matter can be broken down beyond leptons and quarks into tiny loops of vibrating strings. Those strings have the property to move and vibrate at various frequencies, giving particles different properties like mass and charge. This strange idea could unite all the fundamental forces, explain the origins of fundamental particles and connect Einstein's general relativity to quantum mechanics. But to do so, the theory requires seven extra dimensions of space and time curled up inside the four (including time) that we're used to.
Since no one has even made an experiment capable of confirming it experimentally but if this theory is true then it can be capable of explain why universe and fundamental forces exist. String theory can also provide us a link between black holes and superconductivity.
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