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String theory

  1. Jul 23, 2009 #1
    I have, for a couple of weeks, been looking up what string theory is all about but i can never actually really grip it. Is there anyone one out there who can give me a simple explanation of it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 23, 2009 #2


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    If they did, it would be wrong. :wink: There's no "simple" about it.

    What is it specifically that you're having trpouble with?
  4. Jul 23, 2009 #3
    I have trouble with the idea of all the different dimensions.. i just cant grip it idk??
  5. Jul 23, 2009 #4
    Did you read The elegant Universe by Greene?
  6. Jul 23, 2009 #5


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    That was going to be my suggestion too.

    Though many pros dismiss it as pop sci, it was one of the most enlightening physics books I've ever read. My brain is measurably larger after reading it (twice).
  7. Jul 23, 2009 #6
    thx for the suggestion i have not read that but i would love to! but im only a jr in high school i probably would get lost but if you have any others i would love to know. i love reading about this stuf
  8. Jul 23, 2009 #7
    my copy of "the elegant universe" shud be in my mailbox on the 28th. How deep does it go in trying to explain all this modern physics? Does Brian Greene make an effort to make the average reader understand or is it like Stephen Hawking who doesnt make much effort?
  9. Jul 23, 2009 #8
    i have read Stephen's book and I found it was very good and i was not that bad to read
  10. Jul 23, 2009 #9
    i read it when i was a junior in high school. "Imaginary time" and "sum of histories".... are concepts that arent that easy to grasp and he doesnt make much of an effort to explain them.
  11. Jul 23, 2009 #10
    There may something you are missing here. HE is making the ENTIRE effort in writing the book so that YOU can be lazy enough not to understand anything but FEEL like you understood something.
  12. Jul 23, 2009 #11


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    He stays away from math and formulae pretty well. It's aimed at the knowledgeable layperson. But it's still quite brain-stretching. I had to read it sloooowwwly.
  13. Jul 24, 2009 #12


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    Does this help? - http://www.superstringtheory.com/basics/index.html

  14. Jul 24, 2009 #13
    Thats the thing. I spent my hard earned cash on his book to understand everything in the book. Stephen Hawking is a brilliant physicist ,but not necessarily a brilliant teacher. Each one is entitled to their own opinion.
  15. Jul 24, 2009 #14
    Cool. i will enjoy reading it if theres a bit of a challenge to it.
  16. Jul 24, 2009 #15
    You can also try Universe in a Nutshell by Hawking.Its very easy to grasp.
  17. Jul 24, 2009 #16
    yeah, i read Universe in a Nutshell. Its alot better than Brief History of Time. I guess the main problem (for me) with Brief Hist...is that its brief.
  18. Aug 4, 2009 #17
    I suggest reading Lee Smolin's The Trouble With Physics. It gives an in depth, easy to grasp understanding of what string theory is, and also goes into what the theory has done for and to science in general. I enjoyed it greatly.
  19. Aug 4, 2009 #18
    I am busy reading The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene and so far i think its the best book i've read on this subject. If (big, huge if) i still have queries i'll check out Lee Smolin's book.
  20. Aug 5, 2009 #19


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    I could not get through it. It went in a completely uninteresting direction for me.
  21. Aug 7, 2009 #20
    I am pleased to see so many suggestions about Greene's book "The Elegant Universe" because coincidentally I am about half way through it now and just came upon this thread. It covers more than just String Theory by starting with a pretty good review of Special and General Relativity and a bit (not much) of QM. I find it a bit proselytizing about Strings at times, but I can get past that and maybe it's justified anyway.

    My question is to the experts here who have read Green's book. The book was written ten years ago now (1999) unless there is an updated version. Considering that String Theory is such a moving target, is this time period important to the layperson's approach to the subject, or have there been important developments in the meantime?
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