Tuesday, July 5, 2011

We dance to the beat

University of Uppsala live streamed the conference “Strings 2011” on its website June 29 through July 2 (wonderful initiative with live stream). The conference's message made me think of Robyn's song "We Dance to the Beat" and Yoda, and I'll explain why.

Strings 2011 gathered the world's leading string theorist / physicist to discuss the universe's building blocks and building, from the small to the large.
Physics had for a long time an identity crisis. Some theories could explain why stars and galaxies behave as they do, other theories could explain why small micro-particles behave as they do, but these theories failed to merge. The conflict has been between relativity and quantum mechanics. Einstein worked for 30 years on a theory that would unite the various branches of physics, a theory that would explain everything. He did not succeed with this, but he came a long way.

From the star wars homepage. Yoda
is a Jedi Master, and supercute. I want
one for christmas!

Einstein showed that time and space are malleable structures whose appearance depends on the observer's motion states. This truth was further developed, space and time can also be distorted and bent due to the presence of matter or energy. Gravity can move from one place to another. It sounds like something one learns from Yoda in the Jedi school on the planet Coruscant (for those of you who may be Star Wars).

Brian Greene, known physics, author and VIP invited speaker to String 2001 string theory explains this:
"String theory is, strictly speaking, the history of space and time since Einstein. Most of us take for granted that our universe has three spatial dimensions. But that is not according to string theory, which argues that our universe has many more dimensions than those we see, the dimensions are tightly curled in the universe ‘s pleated fabric. "

Jedi Knights are taught that not everything is as it looks. This seems to be correct according to modern physics. How many dimensions are rolled up right in front of us? The physicists have worked on this and the number of "extra" dimensions have varied over the years. Right now it is believed that there are 11 dimensions all in all, including our three dimensions and time.
How to relate the string theory to our world that we see and can interact with?
Matter consists of atoms which in turn are composed of quarks and electrons (there are a whole bunch of different small particles). All these particles are actually tiny vibrating strings. What has previously been seen as a point, is now perceived as a movement. The string theory explains distinct characteristics of various small particles that these reflect the different ways that a string can vibrate.
Everything is dancing to different rhythms, like Robyn sings the song "We Dance to the Beat". String theory seems to be the longed-for "theory of everything". I have read some physics at university level but despite that string theory is more understandable when I think about what they are talking about Star Wars. Yoda would fit up there on the podium.

The conference live streamed  from; http://www-conference.slu.se/strings2011/
There is an associated site to Brian Greene’s work called The elegant universe. It conveys knowledge of the vibrating universe we live in, here are videos and information for teachers who want to use them in their teaching;

Robyn's song We Dance to the Beat; http://www.robyn.com/wedancetothebeat/
Do not know who Yoda is so check out www.starwars.com

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