The author of this article has produced some very entertaining and informative videos that help make the ideas associated with string theory accessible to people like me, people who know very little about astrophysics. If you watch the first video in the article below, you may be sucked in, just like I was.
via Why string theory persists — despite the knotty physics | Space
You can also view other videos that have been produced as a part of this series.
The following article is about the Theory of Everything (TOE) and more specifically about String Theory and where it stands today. I do not expect anybody to understand the “science” of the article, but I hope that you get a sense of the tone. We have entered a realm of scientific investigation where the mathematics far exceeds what can be experimentally shown. It will probably remain that way for a long time because the energies required to create the conditions under when the theories can be proved or disproved are not practical. For example, what if a certain phenomenon can only be observed under conditions that exist related to the energies involved in the presence of a black hole?
I used to think that science needs to keep digging deeper and deeper into the fundamentals of existence, but I am beginning to wonder if there is a useful purpose to this endeavor beyond a certain point. Does any of this really help us understand more about ourselves or have the potential to help us in some way in the future? Even if the experiments to prove something about the TOE were to become practical some time in the very distant future, what if the energies required to set up the experiment to prove it are of an order of magnitude that would change the conditions under which the experiment has been conducted in some irreparable way? Would there ever be a reason to conduct such an experiment? It would be like eating the apple in the Garden of Eden.
The comments related to this article below (seen at the end of the article) may be more enlightening than the article itself. You get to a point where the conversation can seem to have overtones that are similar to those when talking about religion. Does science as defined today become pointless beyond some point?
A friend recently forwarded this article about scientists being able to get a glimpse of four spatial dimensions with quantum mechanical experiments. It got me thinking.
Most of us are limited in what we can understand by the limitations of what we can easily perceive. People like Albert Einstein were geniuses because they could perceive things that others could not, for example what happens to time when speeds of objects approach the speed of light. Relativity is real even though almost all of us have had no experience of it under our current circumstances.
Perceiving more than three dimensions seems to be an impossible task, but concepts like this may hold the key to us getting a better understanding of the Universe that we inhabit. String Theory, a theory that tries to unify all the known forces that constitute our Universe, can begin to make sense mathematically if you speculate on the existence of 10 or 11 dimensions in space, a concept that some of us would dismiss as sheer nonsense. (String Theory has become less popular in recent times, although it seems that there is still considerable research going on in this field in the world of Physics.)
Anyway, even though we may not be able to imagine such things, it is quite possible that the Universe consists of more than three dimensions. I found this really cool video that illustrates the concept of four dimensions using a Virtual Reality application.