Kudos 2u if u kno the chem formula
String Theory - A Real Piece of Work
String theory is today's religion. It's very elaborate and detailed and imaginative and explains everything about the universe, however, it's a load of horse shit. Some obsessive-compulsive physicists couldn't stand the fact that they couldn't come up with a unified theory so they dreamt up this fanciful, mathematical house of cards.
They treat time as though it is an actual thing instead of a human construct made by people. They say that there must also be anti-time and that because anti-matter exists, then this must logically lend support to the idea of anti-time. (Works great in Star Trek plots, I love it).
They say there is an infinite amount of parallel universes and there is a universe for every possible thing that could have ever happened. So there is another universe in which Michael Jackson is still alive and Rosie O’Donnell is hot. By this rational, there could be other dimensions in which there's leprechauns and unicorns.
At higher dimensions, according to string theory, everything that could occur, has already occurred in one universe or another, along with all the other crazy kinds of universes with there own laws of physics. This is the multi-verse. Very nice.
And the math explains all this so just trust it. Have faith in the math. Have you no faith?
Why is the notion for infinity in math treated like an actual value when clearly, it is not? For example, what the hell is infinity plus infinity? Common sense indicates that that is bullshit. Infinity is simply a value that is far too great to comprehend. Some could say that, hypothetically, one could go around a circle an infinite amount of times. Fine. You probably could in a hypothetical universe. But in reality you could not, for all kinds of reasons - just pick one. We live in the real world, not a hypothetical one (Unless we live in The Matrix, but that's a whole other blog).
Just because someone comes up with a mathematically sound formula or equation for the tooth fairy, doesn't mean that she actually exists. Math was made by people so it probably has some flaws even if we haven't found them yet.
"Math" and "Time" and "Infinity" are just a few of the many notions that we have created to explain what we observe. 99.99999999999999 % of the time, they work great, (and have excellent predictive value). But they are not infallible. Some people think that it is some great mystery why pi doesn't seem to end. It's because we have defined it that way. We humans created the number system based on ten and we created the definition for a perfect circle. Hence we created a scenario in which a piece of the formula relating circumference to diameter includes a value that cannot completely be described by our ten-based number system. There's no magic there.
String theory has a lot of holes in it. So much so, that it cheapens the term "theory" and reduces it to the level of an interesting acid trip. Which is not bad, don't get me wrong, but I think those who call themselves scientists should hold themselves to a higher standard. I must admit, that the pieces of string theory/m-theory (whatever) fit together nicely, but the completed puzzle is that of a sci-fi flick and not what I would consider real science.
There was a time long ago, when people didn't understand where earthquakes and lightning, and comets came from. They came up with some pretty elaborate ideas that were convincing at the time but that didn't make them true.
If you're a real math/physics freak and have a response please leave a comment. If I'm just pulling all this outta my ass, please let me know. My narcissism cannot be allowed to go unchecked.
Realist. on May 08, 2016:
Yes, string theory is truly a theory based on some very bad use of the scientific method, putting the conjecture before the evidence. There is no doubt that string theory is riding a fine line between science and cosmology and that some very shady scientific practices have come into play in it's development.
But some people here seem to be lumping Einstein's relativity and gravity in to this (not to mention that Pi thing). And I just want to make a very clear statement here: The fact is that the effects described by general and special relativity, as well as Newton's gravity are existent in our universe, with absolutely not even a shadow of a doubt. Yes, the model may not be a perfect fit, but the fact of the matter is the effect is observable in our universe, and in fact the effects of Einsteins work are in play as you read this paper. The very computer you read this on would not exist, had engineers not applied the principals found in those crackpot theories of quantum dynamics to the semiconductor (and transistors). Ever use GPS? Wouldn't work if scientists didn't correct from the time drift associated with their speed in orbit. That's right: those satalites experience less time we do here on earth (relatively). And this is PROVEN. Not the equation or mathimatical framework, but the manifestation of these effects on reality is OBSERVABLE. And the framework is based on those observations, so the framework gets better as technology advances enough to make better models.
If Einstein wrong then why do Muons at high speed have a life far longer than their steady state half-life? How does GPS work? Why do transistors work? Sure the model may be incorrect when compared to the actual physical process, but it is close enough to do what it is supposed to: model real life and produce correct output. It was never meant to model reality in a perfect way because we don't have full knowledge of the universe: only observations with the technology of our time.
As far as Pi and time being constructs of humans: Get real. Yes the units are ours, but if Pi is such an abstract bullshit number then why can I use it to find results in calculations for AC circuits, regardless of units? How come I can use it to calculate the swing of pendulms, and angles of inclination? Why is it, if this number is a made up idea, that it can pop up over and over in every branch of science and math where anything even resembling a circle or arc appears.
I'll tell you why, it's because it's an expression of something that physically exits as truth in our reality. And I don't care if you count in 1's, 10's, pis or root 2s, that number will be special in all bases (even though it may look different) because the circle is DEFINED by pi. In base pi, pi is 10. And it is JUST as important there as it is in decimal, because in base pi the ratio of diameter to circumference is 10. Pi. The reason we don't use retarded bases like pi, is because ALL integers in a base pi number system are non terminating decimals, which makes counting nearly impossible. BUT, IF YOU WANTED TO, YOU COULD DO IT. AND IT CHANGES NOTHING ABOUT PI, PHYSICS, OR REALITY IN GENERAL.
email@example.com on February 16, 2016:
Garbage in, garbage out......that's maths. The garbage produced may be internally logically sound based on its assumptions, but if the assumptions are crap, then so is the maths, consistent or not. Sigh.
Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on December 27, 2015:
String theory is neither fact, nobody says it is, nor speculation. String theory fits explains most, but not all of the facts concerning the formation of the Universe. There is no other theory that is close at the moment. It fits so well with what is currently observed that string theory has a higher chance to be correct than not.
Tom on December 27, 2015:
I agree with your post, string theory shouldn't be treated as fact because it's just speculation, also the part about 'matrix' I wouldn't worry about that, its a bullshit idea cooked up by a crackpot named Nick Bostrom who is a philosopher not a scientist (specifically not a physicist) and has no understanding of physics whatsoever, if he did he'd realise how thick he is and know that his theory is completely wrong.
Mike360 (author) from The Milky Way on October 01, 2015:
Keep the comments coming! I love them! Hey I just thought of something... What if we are inside a black hole and that's why it appears that the universe is expanding faster and faster? We might actually be accelerating away from the rest of the universe due to being sucked away.
Heres's another one: Time came about only after life developed a need to observe it. Without an observer, everything happens at once. Wow!
Ihatebull88 on June 09, 2015:
Right on too much nonsense has corrupted the knowledge pool of mankind and must be put in check.
Will Nelson on May 03, 2015:
It never ceases to amaze me how people who know absolutely nothing about theoretical physics nevertheless feel qualified to comment on current research. I've already given this comment much longer than the article deserved.
Me on March 28, 2015:
String theory is bullshit.
But you are really full of shit.
And yes, there is a real problem (not just practical) in using pi as the base of a numbering system. Figure it out.
mojo on January 01, 2015:
Time is motion, when motion stops then time stops.
Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on September 11, 2014:
The jury is out for me.
bradmaster on September 11, 2014:
not a fan of string theory
Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on September 11, 2014:
So, @Rachid, you don't think the graviton, Higgs boson, X, W, and Z bosons, etc, weren't mathematical creations waiting to be discovered in the real world, if they existed? The same question for all of the predictions from Einstein's Special and General Theories of Relativity. E=MCsquared was a mathematical model which did not come from observations that I am aware of, but needed the first atomic test to validate its correctness.
Rachid on September 10, 2014:
I totally agree, as a mathematician I know that math is about abstractions and imaginations, but physics is rather about the study of real phenomena in the universe. You can't just start from a mathematical tautology and call that physics. Traditionally physics starts with the the experiments or the observations of certain phenomena, then later one looks for the right mathematical objects to explain the phenomena. The so called physicists in string theory want to do it backwards, they start with a math tautology hopping to find a reality which is in agreement with what they have dreamed in papers (so weird !). Last but not least, all of the physics that changed greatly humans life was based on experiments and observations, from gravity to the discovery of electricity to electromagnetic waves to ....
Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on November 29, 2013:
Actually, Dark Matter isn't much of a mystery anymore, other than you can't see it with your eyes.
The rest makes good science fiction, in my opinion, although, assuming the simulation fantasy were true, then your comment on philosophers is probably right on.
If you, however, bring religion into the discussion, then you have something to hang your hat on given, depending on how you define it, God could be your "higher dimension".
Mike360 (author) from The Milky Way on November 29, 2013:
Dark matter and dark energy: two things that cosmologists can't explain, yet they are predicted to make up a very significant percentage of the known universe. Lots of unanswered questions.
Something interesting I read about recently is that a small group of physicists are trying to determine if we are part an extremely sophisticated simulation that is being run in a computer, matrix style, at a higher dimension.
Some philosophers say it is more likely that, (assuming such a thing was possible) we are more likely to be in one such simulation rather than to be the first beings to create such a simulation. Therefore, if we are ever able to create a simulated universe in which inhabitants evolve and become self aware, then, chances are we, ourselves are inhabitants of such a simulated universe. Wow....
uncle paul on August 22, 2013:
I agree.These so called scientists are just playing with the mathematics of infinity which as you say they dont and cant understand . no matter what they come up with they cannot explain how everything came about in the first place. Where did the so called strings originally come from. Ditto the matter/energy of the big bang. Only explanation is a God.
El Dude on February 25, 2013:
Will you join us for a discussion of your great article on our Rational Science Facebook forum please?
Look forward to seeing you there!
who knows on February 07, 2013:
I would not go as far as to say it is bull shit. I would say that they do have a problem with how they represent it to the public. They betray it as being fact, like misleading ads. there is no have in researching this theory but there can be harm in treating it as fact or just misleading people, so they would draw their on conclusion of this theory being fact. A theory more or less should be used as a tool find truth and is not really meant to be treated as truth itself. That being said that does not boast well for their theory in the public eyes. I would assume that why so many people have a problem with the theory.
Carlos on October 26, 2012:
BTW Rebeca, your comment is right on the money. 100 percent agree.
Carlos on October 26, 2012:
Mike, have you heard about substance in an argument? With all due respect, I belive that is exactly what you lack. To completely disregard a theory because it makes no sense to your obviously inexperienced-in-the-field mind doesn't make it impossible. Everything in science today was thought of "impossible to prove or describe" yet today we have advanced in science more than we cold ever imagine. If your not an expert on this or done the math yourself, than you are not qualified to make a judgement on this issue. If you ever heard Brian Greene or other experts on the topic, you would know that by no means they say that this theory is true. They have even said that it is not testable yet, but it could be very soon. They explain how to test it and it's very simple, anybody with some knowledge of science can understand. BTW, string theory does not yield parallel universes, as that theory is generally not accepted any more. String theory only presents a possible explaination for multiuniverses, but by no means the experts say that this is a fact. It still needs to be tested. Science is humble, and accepts when it's wrong. You should be humble as well and accept that this theory could be proven true. I recommend to you to first watch TED.com talks of Brian Greene to gain a basic understanding on the topic and then, read a couple of book on the math involved in string theory. You will surely be awaken to the fact that this could be true. I do not mean to offend, only to explain way you shouldn't be biased on your believe. Good day
Redelm on August 03, 2012:
String theory and a lot of other modern theories definitely FEELS like bull and I don't really see any good reason to believe it (math doesn't count). I also don't really see practical application for it, especially for the amount of money and time spent on it. I'd almost rather have the money go to gangsters and politicians. Also I think Big Foot and UFOs are more credible than string theory. I generally like the article although there are a few things I don't agree with like some of the math stuff and it being possible for Rosie O'Donnell to be hot.
wgw on August 01, 2012:
Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on July 18, 2012:
Human does not exist, it is human made; by your definition, Someone.
Also, Pi is a number, an indefinite number which results from that ratio you mention. Farenheit is a label attached to a scale that measures the degree of heat, which can be variable over human made time, two entirelly different concepts.
Someone on July 17, 2012:
Time does not exist. It is human made
Sombody on July 06, 2012:
You can't have a base-PI numbering system. PI is not a number, it is a ratio of two measurable values. Saying you can have a base-PI numbering system is like saying that you can have a base-Farenheit numbering system, or a base-chicken-soup numbering system. None of those are numbers. You can't do it. It doesn't make any sense, and it is EXACTLY the kind of "sounds good pseudoscience" that string theorists are guilty of. Kind of funny that you fell into the same trap.
Interested on June 05, 2012:
I enjoyed the article and the comments so far, but I'd like to say as we begin discussing "burning at the stake" that Emperor Nero burned as many Christians at the stake as Catholics burned witches, if not more. The times were just different then and that was a popular way of dealing with things. Now we've resorted to swearing at each other over the tubes and I should congratulate you all for not descending into that just yet.
Personally, I would call String Theory a religion to some, an interesting proposition to others. It just depends on your level of devotion to it. The idea of a theory of everything can seem a bit arrogant, but I'm sure lots of propositions in the past seemed just as arrogant. All the same, describing the whole universe in a single piece of math is much more difficult than an equation that fairly accurately describes the force of gravity (thanks Newton!), so it is entirely possible that we'd never figure it out.
I'd just like to remind a few of you that the age of the earth is still being debated, so that might not be worth throwing in with the rest of your list.
Lastly, keep an open mind. Not everything can be proven, but there is no proof describing that things only exist if they can be proven. Also, religion doesn't always impede the search for knowledge. That is a matter of personal ambition and the only difference between religion and "science" is that the starting assumptions are different. Without starting assumptions you would get nowhere.
Strung out and done! on May 11, 2012:
Was so obvious String Theory was total quack, when Art Bell would talk about it between Bigfoot, and UFOs....
Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on May 10, 2012:
Very, very interesting, Android. You say the TOE is a complete description of quantum dynamics, fair enough. But, isn't it also the attempt to link the quantum world with the macro world of general relativity?
Android on May 10, 2012:
In the euphoria following the first superstring revolution in 1985, some of the less experienced participants in the enterprise thought that we were on the verge of constructing a complete fundamental theory of the physical world. To put it mildly, I found this naïve. In this setting, the phrase "Theory of Everything" was introduced and propagated by the public media. This was very unfortunate for several reasons.
The TOE phrase is very misleading on several counts. First of all, the theory is not yet fully formulated, and when it is (which might still take decades) it is not entirely clear that it will be the last word in fundamental physics.
Furthermore, even if the theory is a complete description of quantum dynamics, it seems unlikely that it will also provide a theory of initial conditions, which is another key ingredient required to explain why we observe the particular universe that we do.
But even if a theory of initial conditions is also obtained, there will still be much about this universe that cannot be explained. Many things, such as our very existence, are a consequence of the inherent quantum indeterminacy of nature. I believe that cannot be overcome. Maybe that is just as well, because if we had old-fashioned classical determinism, the future would be fully determined, which would undermine our humanity.
There is also a more mundane sort of unpredictability that is also to be expected. Many of the things that the theory predicts unambiguously in principle could require intractable calculations. Part of the art of physics is to identify those things that can be calculated.
The other reason the TOE phrase upset me is that it alienated many of our physics colleagues, some of whom had serious doubts about the subject anyway.
Quite understandably, it gave them the impression that people who work in this field are a very arrogant bunch. Actually, we are all very charming and delightful.
I like how this sums up the point of theories being just that. Only a theory and unless your the one supplying the grant or your positive that their pursuit of this "theory" will negatively affect your way/quality of life, I see no harm in allowing this to be played out till its end. Regardless if that end results in an Epic Historical breakthrough or Ends up on the shelf in the Sci-Fi section at Barnes & Nobles!
(when I say negatively impacting your life I mean Directly impeding. Not the repercussions of their research not being directed towards other areas of concern such as global warming or what not.)
Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on April 23, 2012:
I probably was a bit obtuse, maybe more reasonably let me say that God, which ever one you choose to believe in, provided us a brain to wonder with. Scientists exercise that ability and monotheistic religions try very hard to inhibit the use of our minds independent of their doctrine.
Of course science is math based because that is what describes all that we physically know. What math cannot describe or explain, of course, is God itself, but then nothing else can either. At least science's approach try's to eliminate the contradictions in its theories while most religions just add to them and it is something you can get your head around and is independent of eccentricities of humainities desire to dictate beliefs of others.
kayska on April 23, 2012:
I think you may have misinterpreted my comment. I'm not sure I get your drift. By the way I wonder if the climate change people won"t soon be burning people at the stake...if only figuratively. I am not really on the Pope's side, now or in the 9th century. Perhaps getting shut out of research dollars is the new version of "burning at the stake"
Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on April 23, 2012:
What an interesting take on knowledge, @kayska, I had heard of it before, but thought it had faded into antiquity a couple of centuries ago. Tell me, why is it you think the Pope, the authors of the Bible, or Jerry Fawell, for that matter, and changing "math" to "religion" wouldn't be appropriate substitutes for Hawkins and Einstein in your reasoning.
There is one major difference that I am certain of, there has been no group of scientists who have burned opponents at the stake for voicing alternative or opposing views; that seems acting more human and less like God than their religious counterparts.
kayska on April 22, 2012:
Theoretical physics concerns me for three reasons. One, statements such as "I want to know what God was thinking or how God did it" are/were often heard from the likes of Hawkins and Einstein. Seems pretty transparent what they are existentially stating. I also mistrust anything that only a few can "understand". This must be considered suspicious at face value. And, it all seems to worship math and seek verification via circular arguments with one discipline. Can the Universe only be understood via math? No doubt they have predictive validity with some theories, but that is a long way from total understanding. They (at least some) often forget they are human, in my opinion. Some strive to be Gods...it won't work.
Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on March 08, 2012:
I think what Rebecca was getting at is that back in the day, saying the world was flat or that the earth isn't the center of the solar system, even when you had evidence to support your theory (shadows), you would be considered a blasphemer and sorcerer by the Catholic church and burned at the stake. Both turned out to be true.
George Butiri on March 08, 2012:
Rebecca, saying the world was round and exactly how round it was, was based on experiments (shadow of the sun throughout the year from different locations on Earth, etc). Trying to create one magical theory from multiples, is like going to monotheism from polytheism. Just saying.
Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on March 07, 2012:
Here, here Rebecca! Great comment.
Rebecca G. on March 06, 2012:
So...today's great minds still approach new ideas like they did thousands of years ago. Everyone who is call..B-$h!t has put themselves in the same boat with people who wouldn't believe such theory's as. The world is round and not flat. We are not the center of the universe. Man is only 6,000 years old. I thought that we had gotten past simply not believing thing's only because those ideas don't make sense or can't be proven in the moment. Can we prove that there are other dimensions? Well of course not we also couldn't prove till recently that we border Andromeda or that pluto is just a big old rock. I would never say believe or disbelieve any theory. Agree or disagree, but seriously haven't we gotten past simply cursing those who's ideas we don't hold as our own. Remember before you get worked up over a theory that the definition of theory is . a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena: It's just someones thought..an opinion..an educated guess. Were beyond this witch burning attitude, as a society and a human race.
orion on February 29, 2012:
Few have the balls and/or guts to lay it on the line like this guy who said,"Bull Shit". My sentiment to a "T". The knowledge to use physics aimed in the right direction is noble and fantastic. To try subjudicating to something you only make up from fantasy is "Bull Shit. If you have been there and done that, bring it on. If not, fuck off!
Paging Dr. Koo Koo on February 20, 2012:
String theory is idiotic!
Mike360 (author) from The Milky Way on February 14, 2012:
Point well taken.
king vitamin on February 08, 2012:
of course, anyone can read a short laymen's article on string theory, make a strong opinion, and tell a group of dedicated, passionate people that what they've been doing for 40 years is bullshit.
George Butiri on January 08, 2012:
I think you nailed it. I do believe that there's more to trying to explain what we observe, but you're right in the fact that right now, we're looking at lighting as humans and dragons fighting in the sky when it comes to "string theory". I always knew time was fake. What bugs me the most is that once we know time is fake (concieved by us), why do we base everything else we know on it, and even give it a whole new dimension? From that point on, we keep going down a road that's based on myth, and eventually a new Einstein comes along, but the physics community will just laugh at him and mock him, instead of listening to him. I mean, really listening to him.
Rafael on December 12, 2011:
This is great!
Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on August 06, 2011:
This is a fascinating integration of base invective and theory to describe theoretical science. A process, I might add and as @ISS so elegantly pointed out, without which you would still exist in a society of hunter-gatherers and agrarians who had not yet postulated the idea of a monotheistic God and Jesus. In case you are wondering, I am referring to the period prior to 4000 BCE.
wtfo on July 24, 2011:
Let's face it. The "science" shows are causing most of this. They poorly explain concepts with dazzling (especially in a home theater environment) but misleading graphics. They make unsubstantiated claims. They get a guy that played God in a couple of movies to tell us that the transfer of information between particles that remain in their pre-transfer positions (more or less) is the same thing as teleportation. Is it any wonder that we don't all buy into it?
It doesn't help that when we question the theories/postulates/SWAGS, or whatever, some of those "in the know" insult us. Wanna compare degrees? IQs? Why? I assure you, my 3-dimensional boy parts are bigger that your 11-dimensional boy parts and, by definition, more CERTAIN to get the job done :P
I'm not saying that the world isn't more complicated than it appears. (After all, I'm married.) But a lot of what we are being fed does indeed have that faint taste of what I imagine bovine excrement to be like.
Ej on July 01, 2011:
Great stuff! The original post and all the comments!
TS on April 27, 2011:
This article seemed to be pretty humble. Unlike the comment,
"NO OFFENSE, but your article is pointless science-bashing with no credibility."
which, of course, is the best way to say something NON OFFENSIVE. Kudos.
Anyway, since infinity is literally 'not a value at all' in the 'professional mathematics community', then black holes must not have infinite density. Then again, I'm sure you wouldn't believe in so silly a thing as a black hole, to begin with. It's just a concept; sure, sure.
Which then leads me to question why you'd come to such a page in the first place to support the pioneers of string theory.
A number beyond the scope of anything (humanly) calculable
+ A number beyond the scope of anything (humanly) calculable = a concept with no value.
You just proved the author's point.
Eagerly awaiting your next scientific breakthrough
Water Baron from Australia on April 14, 2011:
No offense, but your article is pointless science-bashing with no credibility. You seem to have read Physics for Dummies, and now believe to have some grasp on the concept? What qualifications do you have, or on what authority? You have provided no real points, no correlation between arguments, no mathematics to base your claims on and haven't even gotten the point of string theory. I am not supporting it, but I am also not supporting your jibba jabba.
As an actual mathematician, your idea of infinity is stupid. No one in the professional mathematics community "adds" infinity together. It's merely a concept used and and applied in various fields. Additionally, it's not a value "too great to comprehend", it's not a value at all.
Mike360 (author) from The Milky Way on March 31, 2011:
I like your comment.
ThisGuy on March 31, 2011:
My message is short, and sweet;
If you don't understand physics, please don't try to tell me how it doesn't work. Your ignorance shines through.
ISS on March 29, 2011:
The name means Interested Spiritual Scientist (Or Scientific Spiritualist, take your pick). It may interest you to know that many scientist would agree with you on some of the technicalities you've brought up here. For instance, the idea of infinity plus infinity is pretty silly, and that's exactly why scientists are scratching their heads when trying to understand the behavior of QM and gravity interacting inside a black hole. The unfortunate truth is that what scientists are playing with aren't actually theories by their own definition, but rather postulates. A postulate is an idea that they believe to be true, based on their experience and measurements thus far, and as of yet has not been disproven. The other half of the unfortunate truth is that those with the money are not impressed with that verbiage, so the scientists must begrudgingly use the word "theory" to describe what they're showing to the grantors. Einstein has been disproven on a lot of his "Theories" (Postulates), and yet never the less it was his calculation of E=mc^2 that made the atom bomb possible. While Einstein's _understanding_ and _description_ of what's going on there may be flawed, the explosions happened anyway. QM made that bomb possible, and some might argue that if not for that we might be having this discussion in Japanese/German/Russian rather than English/American. Similarly, QM made possible the integrated circuit, and the miniaturization thereof. If not for QM, we might be having this conversation in person, rather than through the internet on these fantastic machines. That said, this is exactly the sort of skepticism science craves, even needs. It keeps the scientists on their toes and reminds them that when they feel so inclined to share with the general populace it is important to make clear the meaning of the verbiage they are using. All too often they are using catch-phrases that mean something very different than what common sense tells us the words should mean. Take for instance the phrase "Big Bang". Historically, the phrase was a verbal jab in the gut from one scientist criticizing another's postulate that stated something to the effect that we are observing that space is expanding, and by logic that means that at one point in the far past it must have been much smaller, perhaps so small that it would be effectively impossible for anyone besides God to measure just how small. Now, science uses the phrase "Big Bang" very casually, without taking into account that some people do not know the meaning behind the phrase; that the general populace isn't "in on the joke." Now that I've said so much, I will say little more than this: Keep up the healthy skepticism, but keep an open mind to the possibility that you might be wrong. That's basically the golden rule of science.
Nameless One on March 25, 2011:
You don't want to know the truth. It is too much for any sane man to handle. String theory is correct and incorrect simultaneously. Don't go too far down the rabbit hole; anything becomes possible. All boundaries fade... logic itself collapses into endlessness.
Anonymous on February 02, 2011:
Someone said they had heard no quality explanation of the higher dimensions. As far as the fourth through sixth are concerned, I will attempt one. The fourth, fifth, and sixth dimensions are those of time. The fourth past to present to future (what you would imagine as time), and a fourth dimensional description of a particle would show its path through the three spatial dimensions as it travels through time. The fifth and sixth dimensions describe all possible paths of the particle. This is the product of uncertainty which states that on the quantum level, things can operate with a certain amount of unpredictability or with two simultaneous possibilities (Schrodinger's cat is both dead and alive) and the fifth and sixth dimensional interpretations would trace not only the particle's path through time (fourth dimension) but all possible paths it could have taken. If the parallel universe idea is correct, a sixth dimensional description would describe it in along all parallel worlds. The reason for two is that the path of a particle really breaks down to what direction it will go broken down into two axes (how much left or right and how much up or down (forgive poor mathematical terminology)).
Anonymous on February 02, 2011:
As a college student currently pursuing a career in studying M-theory I will say that you are correct in some cases. The very idea of a unified field theory is based on the assumption that a unified theory exists, that the mass of scientific and mathematical knowledge will coalesce into one simple elegant equation from which all others can be derived. However, you greatly overestimate the faith taken in such "theories". They are indeed little more than hypotheses as they are almost entirely beyond the empirical realm, but those that study these theories will tell you no different.
Math need not be taken on faith (that is the beauty of math), and equations with rigid mathematical proofs can be trusted insofar as basic logic can be trusted. It is in physics that the problems can arise where a mathematical interpretation involves no math errors but simply is misapplied to a system. Any errors in these theories come from misapplication or fundamental errors in basic logic, but not because math is wrong and taken on faith (with an understanding of what is going on, math can be traced from basic 1+1=2 to calculus to differential geometry). What these theories (and "theory" is applied to their study in the same way you may call the graphite in your pencil lead) are simply probing. Though this quest may not include the empirical foundations as proof, its results are not treated as if they did. Nobody makes decisions based on these theories, and thus they are harmless exploration into theoretical physics and math. They are not completely useless, though. Even if they are proven incorrect, it will be because the same endeavor has done so. If a theory of everything, a single law of existence (and possibly self-proving), does exist, this exploration will be key to finding it. But to compare these theories to religion is completely unfounded. Religion states a point and requires unquestioning belief; this is faith. String theory requires no trust in it, and is willing to prove what can be proven (though some of it requires a fair bit of education in physics and math), and acknowledges the fallible assumptions it is based on. It would also be helpful to note that though string theory is mostly beyond experimentation, the same process was applied to once purely theoretical concepts to bring about ideas that would later be risen to the level of true proven theory. The best example of this would be the standard model, a large number of the particles predicted of which have now been produced in the lab and verified. Though the predictions of theoretical physics may be mostly untestable, further understanding of the equations may produce testable predictions as is already beginning to be the case with the attempts to measure a gravitational pull (or the lack thereof) from masses outside of our four dimensional universe. Yes, much of theoretical physics could very likely be false, but it is merely scouting ahead to see where the rest of physic's next move should be.
Anonymous2 on January 17, 2011:
The ratio of a diameter to its radius is by definition 2... I question YOUR understanding of basic math.
Anonymous on December 04, 2010:
YES! THANK YOU! I'm not the only one who thinks so.
L. Klees on December 01, 2010:
Fancy talk about fancy mathematical concepts from someone who (you) who can't distinguish between the number "one" and numbers "greater than one" doesn't hold much weight.
"At a higher dimensions," just one of several examples of your errors.
Alan on November 03, 2010:
Thank you for all the effort to explain what is lacking, or great about string theory... It seems the only thing lacking is in fact solid science, so if you choose to dislike a universe where there is a benevolent force who created everything (Including string theory, just to give us something to go on about) and like a universe where shaky science rules supreme then that is just fine. But consider your motivations carefully... has someone been a very bad boy and doesn't want a smack from daddy, so clings to apparent proof he doesn't exist? Either way, scientists must eat... but we don't have to believe everything they feed us :)
Mike360 (author) from The Milky Way on October 23, 2010:
Nsnyder - That was a good and interesting comment. Long, but good.
nsnyder76 on October 21, 2010:
Hey Mike this is excellent! Just to verify my background, in college I was a Biochemistry/Neuroscience double major and a Physics/Chinese double minor and currently I work in a bioengineering lab that works to create biocompatible bci (brain computer interface) devices for neuroprosthetics...think of Luke Skywalker's hand at the end of Empire.
I believe that your point extends not only to our current understanding of physics but to our acceptance of most scientific ideas. Clearly I enjoy science as I have made it my career; however, with that being said I believe there is much we are arrogantly overlooking as scientists.
Often when traveling from biology-neuroscience-physics courses I found a great disconnect in each professors way of thinking. For instance, many times the biologists that ‘know’ that evolution most certainly exists are rarely familiar with fundamental physical principles. To the same extent many physicists don’t care to think how these principles affect the theories that biologists live and die by. After beginning to grasp modern physics (quantum mechanics, relativity, etc.) I started to understand 1) how little we know and 2) how anything is truly possible.
Let me start with 2:
Our current understanding of quantum mechanics comes down to probability. While I admit I am no expert, the fundamental principle of quantum mechanics is that the wavefunction of a particle is probabilistic in nature. This brings up very interesting conclusions. For instance, while the probability remains low, there does exist a probability (based on this principle) that all of the air in whatever room you are in currently could simply ‘leave’ creating a vacuum. Now because that would require such a dramatic consumption of energy, and creation of order, it ‘probably’ isn’t going to happen…but the point is that it could. I am not attempting to suggest quantum mech. is bogus; however, most people that claim to be scientists (biologists, etc.) don’t really understand how truly strange the fundamental principles truly are.
Back to 1:
We have allowed ourselves to become incredibly arrogant! You are exactly correct in realizing that mathematics is a model/tool developed by man. You can view it like a Phillips-head screwdriver if you would like. The p-head screwdriver works with certain screws; however, just because it doesn’t work with nails or flat-head screws doesn’t meant that these don’t exist. This is where my background in neuroscience comes in. We are very limited in how we interact with the world. For instance, we only see the world through 1: touching/hearing (mechanical force), 2: seeing it (light). Thus, every concept, scientific tool, idea, is dependent upon our interaction with the world in that matter. Therefore I believe to suggest we can even entirely describe the universe we live in is incredibly arrogant. We may be able to describe everything in our universe that is observable (not simply that we can see it…but observable in the sense that we can in someway detect it being there). My point is, in the same sense as the screwdriver, we may be able to use science to describe many things; HOWEVER, if we can not interact with something that is outside our realm of tools, way of thinking, or even observable universe then we cannot simply suggest that there is nothing beyond what we have described. If this is true, to suggest we can come up with a ‘Theory of Everything’ is just plain silly…
Ultimately, science does not have the capacity to answer the questions, in any better method than the various religions or faith in general, in regard to why/how this existence is even here (or what that question even means!). Yes it shows how some things work or even came to be, according to the models that we have built our society on. However, since science is dependent upon man’s understanding of the world around him, how can it ever describe the universe? Say string theory is true and we have broken down our fundamental particles into these oscillating 1-D strings (again not an expert…but I believe for my point the details are not that important), the question remains about the existence of these strings! What are they made of? How did they come to be? When did they come to be? Ultimately, there will always remain questions, and like you mentioned the idea of infinity is not comprehensible to man. Therefore to suggest that something is infinite (like the infinite idea of our universe: we are made of atoms, atoms are made of fundamental particles, which are made of strings, which are made of who knows what….approaches infinity) requires faith that we as human beings just can’t comprehend it….mmmmh now we are sounding a lot like we are talking about religion. The counter to that point about an infinite universe is the idea of nothingness, because if there isn’t something forever than there must be nothing after that…now please if anyone in the world can explain to me nothingness or how out of nothingness we get somethingness then go right ahead! What does it mean to be nothing? Is there a boundary between something and nothing?
In any conversation you have about nothingness you could easily replace it with the word God. Ex: What was before the big bang?…well in the beginning there was only nothingess (sound familiar?). If the universe is definite, what is beyond it…nothingess? In atoms, 99.9% of the volume contains nothingess: therefore you have nothingness within you. For those of you that do not believe in God, I am not motivated to convert you, but, for anyone that has become atheist because they believe science has disproven religion, I would suggest you rethink how much faith you have bestowed on your beloved science! Mwahahaha!
p.s. Stop thinking too hard, enjoy life, and play a lot of videogames!
Michio Koo Koo on September 03, 2010:
Cmon man I was on Art Bell many many times! I have great credibility!
String Theory on August 12, 2010:
You will accept String Theory or you will NEVER get a government grant or a book deal.
Scrapple on August 10, 2010:
So, wait, according to string theory and the 10 (or 11?) dimensions, there is an alternate universe where everything is the same except for I put a period instead of a question mark at the end of this sentence? Or one where I didn't just sneeze but the rest of my life was otherwise precisely the same?
Jenna~sea from Oregon on July 30, 2010:
was that comment about sarcasm for me? If so (ha,ha,ha)you really are starting to remind me of someone i know, so im going to call you mikey from now on ( if that is okay with you ???
Mike360 (author) from The Milky Way on July 27, 2010:
He might have written an essay on sarcasm as well. I'm not sure.
Jenna~sea from Oregon on July 27, 2010:
your right mike, im sorry if i came off as rude, the more i thought about what you posted the more ,well i guess i kinda started to agree with you!!! when i first heard of this string theory i was on a Qwest for the truth, [no i have not found it yet] maybe im just a silly girl,or maybe you could help me to understand the relativity in all this bullshit ?? again i'm sorry if i insulted you. you actually sound like a cool guy from what ive read on your hub
james on July 27, 2010:
in a pi based number system, pi would still be irrational. that is, the ratio of the radius of a circle to it's circumference will still be irrational, regardless of base. that's not a human construct, that's just the nature of circles.
Mike360 (author) from The Milky Way on July 24, 2010:
Jenna~sea,what's so silly about the word "Bullshit"? Maybe you should read the essay "On Bullshit" by Harry G. Frankfurt - a renowned moral philosopher and professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Princeton University. You will see that there is nothing silly about it at all.
Jenna~sea from Oregon on July 24, 2010:
wow! shameone you mike360, don't you think if you where so briliant you your self would be able to disprove this theory with the data to back it up ? instead of with silly word's like(BS)I would love to see you take a crack at finishing the string~string theory? considering we are doing 21st to 25th century in this day an age, i find it hard to belive or disbelive any unsolved theory! i'm very sorry if you happen to be a physics teacher or something. Im rather slow when it come to math yet even i can find more truth in this so called string theory than i can in any other explination i've explored,so keep an open mind ok. as for you suporters of string, (try to remember that just cause this would change the way life or god existis as we know it. it does not mean that we should stop having faith) right????
Mohammed Amr on July 10, 2010:
Well, Physicists do not seem to search for the truth any more as they used to. They just want to make the big hit and the tremendous break through.
It would be enough for them to know the physics in the large scale to do things like putting satellites into orbits and physics in the small scale to build nuclear plants. But it's not important at all to establish the theory that explains everything.
Moreover, the mathematical model is one that should follow nature, not vice versa. Because physicists have built the mathematical model upon experiments they did to later predict the behavior of nature.
And they made a lot of approximations during the process of building the model obviously, Especially in the electromagnetic field. Approximations simplifies calculations. Without approximations calculations would have been impossible. But also approximations distort the truth and make the whole derivation irreversable. But it's OK to make some approximations when it comes to just facilitate calculations.
But if we, the physicists, wanna be under light spots, and wanna argue nature and talk about creation, the beginning of the universe and the unified force, we have 2 choices.
Number 1: To stop approximating and deal with the sophisticated mathematical equations as dirty as they are. And face all the implied consequences.
Number 2: To build our mathematical system as we wish something like string theory which has nothing to do with experimental physics and stretch it to model all forces and add some fantastic conclusions like the 11 dimensions and portals which are irrelevant but just to make the public love the theory. And say hey folks this is it. But don't ask about the mathematics because it's so difficult and so hard to be directly used and you don't wanna know it. Just trust us. We know what we're doing.
Annoyed_With_Ignorance on July 02, 2010:
So you don't believe that physical infinities independent of individual perception exist? If not what do you speculate may lie beyond the "boundary" of the observable universe if anything at all? (Which brings up another interesting point of the differences between space and nothing, and the question of does nothing truly exist as the absence of anything.) Seemingly simple questions that become quite fuzzy and complicated when you push them to the limit at which they can be defined and perceived. I personally could never make sense of a finite universe, I have always felt it was illogical.
And as for Tesla, he was quite brilliant... but definitely a little nutty. I can't say I agree with his theory. One of his biggest mistakes was to consider space as a true "nothing", where now experimental evidence is overwhelming that space does indeed curve around matter and affects it's behavior. Black holes are a very clear example of this. When it comes to physics Einstein triumphs over Tesla I am afraid. And observable reality backs that up.
DingDong92 on July 01, 2010:
Yup, string theory is utter crap.
Tesla already created a unified field theory which included gravity.
Why hasn't anyone heard about it?
Is it because his unified field theory allowed him to master gravity, invent cigar-shaped UFOs, and draw energy from the ether?
Is it possible that the unified field theory which has existed since Teslas time is too important to let the average Joe know about?
Tesla disagreed with Einstein as well.
Read TESLA for christs sake. Unified field theory has been around almost 100 years.
j3 on June 23, 2010:
Again, to address the point of infinity which you bring up. In the 7th Dimension there is an infinite number of infinities. Their explanation for this is there are different infinities in other universes that have different Laws of Physics. I found this complete BS. A pure infinity is anything that has ever/will/has existed. Not everything that has existed in a single universe.
Also it treats time as some sort of silly putty. This is through the assumption that the relation between the 4th, 5th, and 6th dimensions are the same as the ones of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd dimensions.
Mike360 (author) from The Milky Way on June 16, 2010:
What I fear is when pseudo science is passed off as science. Infinities exist as they are defined by us. Over reliance on mathematics without empirical evidence is putting the cart before the horse.
Annoyed_With_Ignorance on June 13, 2010:
You fear something that is beyond your comprehension, this is understandable. Some people are too concrete in their thinking to realize the abstractness of the true world around them.
As for the argument of pi, what is more significant than the assigned value of numbers themselves is the relationship between assigned values that truly define the variation of what you are measuring. As long as your unit of measurement is consistent, mathematical relationships do indeed reflect the nature of observable reality, both within and outside the human mind. To disregard this is to disregard logic in which case mounting any argument is moot.
You must realize that in the science's quest to explain natural phenomenon, it is inevitable that the concrete logic structure must eventually give way to abstraction. Unless you believe that infinities do not actually exist in the physical reality we live in.
However, to argue that infinities (such as the infinity of space) do not exist is illogical and inconsistent. This is hard to understand because we are indeed finite, however in science's quest to ever expand the horizon of our understanding of our surroundings, we find the the horizons must be infinite in some sense or another. A closed space must always have a space greater than itself to initially define it, or infinitely loop within itself. Either way there must be an infinity, therefore there are abstractions.
From what I have read into, Superstring theory and M theory are very promising and thus far have shown great logical consistency in both the abstract realm and the more simplified concrete realm of observable reality that most people have extreme difficulty seeing past.
Furious_Kirk on May 26, 2010:
Thank You! I have been hitting my head against the wall watching science descend into the realm of UFO Hunters and Monster Quest on the History (Hysteria) channel!
I have yet to hear a meaningful explanation of any dimension beyond our three, except maybe a time dimension.
To sit there and tell people that there are an infinite number of universes containing all possible combinations of anything to support a theory is absurd. Start small and just try to figure out what light exactly is. It just looks like they're chasing their numbers around trying to force equations to work out by piling on dimensions upon dimensions.
I don't believe the human mind can comprehend the idea of nothing, let alone the infinite.
Why put forth a theory that relies on 11 dimensions while you can't even prove the existence of any other dimensions.
I'll just keep watching Fringe for now instead of Brian Green sitting in a bar with a blue beer in an alternate universe!
Kyle on May 20, 2010:
You don't even address problems with string theory and instead bash the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics (read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpret... Next time either address what is in the title or change the title. Anyway the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is currently speculative (we have no way of testing it at the moment) and remains only a philosophical interpretation. The actual theory of quantum mechanics explains many things including atoms, particles, how they interact, how the semi-conductors used to make the computer you typed this blog post on works, ect.. I could go on but I think I've made my point.
LivaN on May 20, 2010:
I can barely believe there are people who think like this...it truly astounds me. In an age such as this, with all the blatant examples of the very theories you mock being used every day...yet you crush the ideas.
Do they scare you?
I think if I believed as you, I would be truly scared to give up my faith for that which is true...but so brutally emotionless.
[q] Although the Global Positioning System (GPS) is not designed as a test of fundamental physics, it must account for the gravitational redshift in its timing system, and physicists have analyzed timing data from the GPS to confirm other tests. When the first satellite was launched, some engineers resisted the prediction that a noticeable gravitational time dilation would occur, so the first satellite was launched without the clock adjustment that was later built into subsequent satellites. It showed the predicted shift of 38 microseconds per day. This rate of discrepancy is sufficient to substantially impair function of GPS within hours if not accounted for. An excellent account of the role played by general relativity in the design of GPS can be found in Ashby 2003. [/q]
Tamer on May 17, 2010:
I always thought string theory was load of crap.
Shahid Bukhari from My Awareness in Being. on April 24, 2010:
Don't you see, the supposed 'rocket science' posted here by way of a Test ... To a person like me; not privy to these matters ... the Figures come as a joke.
It is, however, the Standard Example, of a Synthetic Understanding of the Seculars, who have Thrived on the others Ignorance ...
So tell me, what are you trying to do, Spread Knowledge, of Confusion ?
I believe you must have lately [2010 A.D.] heard of the bigger joke, [some say its worth $ 9 bn.] ... the Large Hadron Collider, at CERN ?
Kudos to you, my friend, from the league ... for the posting.
And, regarding the Strings Theory, to me, it is just another of 'Rational' Probabilities, what to me, [undestanding their Covention] is, another jocular Attempt, at defining of the States of Reality and Being.
I consider the Strings Theory, another joke, one, that ridicules the un-initiated ... by way of a posed Mathematical Defining of the Infinite ... within a Philosophical Finite ... of the Human's Mathematical Understanding.
Perhaps, you know, Philosophy, is in itself, a Free Formatted mode of insane Thinking, and Defining, the Reality.
So, Know ... If, or ever, Science and Reason, are able, in the Applied ... to define the Truth of Reality ...
Mathematically, and/or the Structural Reality of the Existential, in State of a Philosophical Form, in Being ...
Such would be a Time, when Forms would have Transcended our Human Awareness.
frankinstein on March 22, 2010:
I think string/M theory is very near proving all its claims! All Kaku has to do is a few more ice skating performances! LOL
frankinstein on March 22, 2010:
You confuse QM interpretation with the functional and practical aspects of QM. Without QM things like: MRI, Micro electronics, polymers, nano-technology, Quantum computing, Chemistry from QED,, nuclear energy, etc would not have happened. QM Works! Your BS wouldn't even give us fire!
Michio Koo KOo on March 03, 2010:
String theory is total crap.
jerry on January 30, 2010:
Space- time construct is a bullshit too! Einstein was an idiot!
billgaede on December 16, 2009:
You were too kind, Mike! You forgot to include the garbage known as General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. The entire religion of Mathematical Physics is on trial. It has no place is Science.
The modern priests -- the mathematicians -- replaced God with Big Bang and unimaginable spacetime, angels with black holes, miracles with 0D point particles, and heaven with time travel and wormholes. Sunday School is alive and well at the corridors of Cambridge and Harvard. So when the ludicrous 0D particles of Quantum Magic and the amusing warped space of General Reification failed to explain even the most basic phenomena, the Math Morons had no choice but to invent 1D Strings.
Today, we have the idiots at the LHC looking for a 0D particle of weight, the morons at GPB measuring the friction of space, the dumbells at LIGO catching aether waves, and the pea-brains at MIT and Stanford think tanks trying to package it all together into one nice, convenient box.
We did time-travel after all! We are back in the Dark Ages!
Mike360 (author) from The Milky Way on December 01, 2009:
Diacetylmorphine is correct! Also known as heroin. I got mixed up when I put that in there. It was supposed to be a molecule of lysergic acid diethylamide. I might change it later.
Professor Eric from the laboratory :) on December 01, 2009:
Umm, with if it wasn't for string theory we wouldn't have been able to prove the possible existence of a higher power.
Just some food for though!!! =)
M.Renton on November 30, 2009:
Mike360 (author) from The Milky Way on November 11, 2009:
Not easy or practical but possible and thats all thats neaded to make my point. A number system based on pi may require new symbols which I'm not going to sit here an come up with since, right now, I can see no practical use for it. The point is that its possible because we humans define what our math means even if its based on what we consider to be concrete observations. Our observations are only as good as our senses and instruments and the implementation of sound logic that we apply.
phi on November 11, 2009:
And how do you write "4" (the number FOUR) in a base-pi numbering system?
Mike360 (author) from The Milky Way on September 14, 2009:
Is it inconceivable that a number system have, as its base, pi? Your failure to understand my point leads me to question your understanding my hub let alone science.
Si. on September 11, 2009:
I fail to understand your statement that about the problem with Pi being that we use a ten-based numbering system. As the Pi is the ratio of the diameter of a circle to its radius, the base of the numbering system is irrelevant and the same issue would exist in any base numbering (other than the base as Pi). This would lead me to question you understanding of basic math, let alone string theory.
Luke on August 26, 2009:
Numbers aren't variables
MNichopolis from Massachusetts on July 31, 2009:
Spot on. Newton laws were said to have "proven" the law of gravity... Overturned... Einstein was said to have proven gravity... Space probe data now indicates he's wrong. The general fallibility of science aside...
Scientists these days seem to develop theories so they can get grants. You don't get the research money for nothing, you get it because (for instance) you can contribute to "proving" that global warming is man made.
In other words, you don't get a grant for fishing around, you get it for "proving" something. And you don't get more if you come up with nothing - so they're driven down these paths they initially plowed, further and further (they can't declare they were wrong spending that last few million - or they're out of the research game).
And in theoretical physics, they're apparently driving themselves down the string theory road these days. Kind of hard for them to back out of it now, there's a lot of "face" to be lost.
jon on July 02, 2009:
i also agree, you can't say that math can prove anything, since math is defined by our own terms. the relations that math gives are real, but the numbers are just varibles that can't be given too much credibility
ALLY on June 30, 2009:
I agree. Theoretical physics tries to go too deep and the ideas that they come up with seem to me to be mostly bullshit.