String Theory has been the dream of many post-Einstien scientists and theoretical physicists to try to combine Einstein’s world of the large (planets, galaxies, the universe) with the ideas of the quantum world of the small (uncertainty principle, subatomic particles) into one unifying law that can describe absolutely everything that we see and even things that we can’t see or understand yet. String Theory also inevitably yields bigger theories such as parallel universes, M-Theory An artist's impression of a Calabi-Yau manifold. Made for Nova.and even tries to explain away how the Big Band happened and what happened before it.

If you’ve ever studied physics in school, you probably remember how many times you had to learn new theories, laws, formulas, axioms and equations. Well what if you only had to learn one law that could explain away all these other things (at least as an abstract base) ? This is the goal of String Theory.

To get a more detailed understanding of what String Theory is, check out this excerpt from Wikipedia.org :

String theory is a model of fundamental physics whose building blocks are one-dimensional extended objects called strings, rather than the zero-dimensional point particles that form the basis for the Standard Model of particle physics. The phrase is often used as shorthand for Superstring theory, as well as related theories such as M-theory. String theorists are attempting to adjust the Standard Model by removing the assumption in quantum mechanics that particles are point-like. By removing this assumption and replacing the point-like particles with strings, it appears that a sensible quantum theory of gravity naturally emerges. Moreover, string theory may be able to “unify” the known natural forces (gravitational, electromagnetic, weak nuclear and strong nuclear) by describing them with the same set of equations.

A recent article on New Scientist magazine states that experiments performed at the upcoming Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva, Switzerland could possibly disprove the popular “theory of everything”. So far it’s been very difficult to prove this theory, as indirect evidence that scientists from all parts of the world have been looking for has not been found yet.

The LHC will smash protons together and could prove or maybe even disprove string theory The LHC will smash protons together and could test string theory (Illustration: LHC/FNAL) altogether. Strong evidence for string theory could come from the observation of short-lived, mini black holes at the LHC. But the chance of their appearing is extremely small, so a failure to see them would not be a death blow for the theory.

In 2006, string theorist Allan Adams of MIT and others offered a more promising check. They showed that some particle collisions could reveal whether certain fundamental assumptions underlying string theory are wrong.

Now, a team led by Jacques Distler from the University of Texas in Austin has shown that the level of energy needed to reveal such effects are achievable at the LHC.

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