It is hard to imagine anything that is not rationalized in our everyday experience. Science has emerged as our indicator of what makes up reality and what is fantasy. Or has it? Most science is checked in triplicate to ensure the results are accurate and meaningful. But much was what goes on in science involves the imagination. Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Theoretical physicists would most certainly agree. They spend all day in their imagination thinking of new ways to play with the laws of nature to spark new interests and propel research into the unknown.
String Theory and M theory
One of the most popular theories currently in physics is M-theory, otherwise known as string theory. In M-Theory it is possible for universes to collide, the physics can be different in any universe, and everything is made up of strings. What it says about our “special” universe is that life exists because it can and that all universes will not be able to make life like us. This probability could one day be calculated. Strings vibrating can be used to explain our universe and other forms of universes and this could mean that they exist too. But how many universes of differently kinds can be made? Well somewhere between a google and a google plex, with an estimated 10 to the power of 500 possible universes.
Einstein’s General Relativity
While the concept is often thrown away in modern physics, the equation dn the math still hold strong. In a sense Einstein got the equation right but the theory is commonly referred to as wrong because it lacks compatibility with quantum mechanics. Leave it to the imagination to it get it right is a lesson learned from Einstein. He also theorized the use of lasers and the need for clock corrections in orbiting satellites. All with a theory that only existed in his imagination.
That is the power of theoretical physics and the next time you have a question about science find out the theory behind it and it will probably strain and fascinate your brain. Some crazy predictions from M-theory are that the entire horizon of a black hole is made up a single string of energy and that there are more kinds of universes than there are bits of information in our own, which is only 10 to a power of 122.
For more please check out my favorite video below from the Standford University series on Youtube.
- Stephen Hawking: driven by a cosmic force of will (telegraph.co.uk)
- String theory researchers simulate big-bang on supercomputer (physorg.com)
- Reinventing the Scientific Method (spectrum.ieee.org)