Thursday, January 20, 2005

Something interesting I learned in Physics class recently

Ever since Newton saw the apple fall and developed his theory of gravitation, we have come to know that there are physical laws of nature that encompass all aspects of the universe. This mode of thought is what we commonly refer to as Physics. Since then the community of Physics has developed increasingly complex and divine theories regarding the nature of life itself, but with one simple flaw. We have yet to find a universal theory to describe everything.

Our universe is made up of four dimensions; three in our physical space and time being the other. These are the dimensions that we know for certain exist. If we look at the universe we’ve come to understand two very complex and radical opposites. We know that the heavens are filled with stars and solar systems and galaxies so vast that we haven’t yet determined how wide this macrocosm really is. We also know that on the microcosmic level everything that exists is made up of tiny particles known as atoms and that these atoms are filled with an even smaller nucleus known as protons and neutrons with orbiting electrons. The physics community has even determined that within each proton and neutron exists even smaller particles called point particles that are continuously active. And this is where the confusion begins.

One of the basic ideas of physics is that all things are related. So we understand that everything on the macrocosmic level is made up of the microcosm. This means that because they basically exist in the same realm then they must share a common physical law, but the dilemma lies in what we know about these two very different worlds. On the microcosmic level of life we find a very active and frantic universe, yet on the macrocosmic level everything is smooth and gentle. Each of these different worlds are being controlled by certain forces that govern their shape. On the macrocosm we feel the force of gravity described by Newton and later made clearer by Einstein. This force is powerful enough to control the planets yet pales in comparison to the forces which control the microcosm. Inside the nucleus of each atom we find three very powerful forces; electro-magnetic, strong nucleus and weak nucleus. These forces create the highly active environment of the microcosm. Physicists have not yet to found a correlating theorem that connects these three forces with the larger and calmer force of gravity. Once this occurs we will come one step closer to understanding the universe.

Which brings us to String Theory. This is the latest theory that has arisen in the field of physics. It is a theory that calculates out mathematically, yet may never be proven since it is impossible to verify through observation. String theory basically states that within each point particle that exists within the protons and neutrons of atoms, there exists a tiny string of energy that is constantly vibrating. So even though it is constantly vibrating, it can have the appearance of being very flat or smooth. It also appears through calculation that in order for these strings of energy to exist they must exist within new dimensions, which we previously didn’t know existed. These new dimensions are so tiny that they also exist within each point particle on the same level as the strings, and they are constructed in such a way that the strings exist within each dimension simultaneously. The gravity of each dimension pulls on the string causing the very vibrations that give it energy, therefore giving shape to the energy that the string produces. Imagine the string of a guitar. When held a certain way the vibration is capable of producing a vast array of melodies and sounds. Each shape or vibration that these strings convey is responsible for the shape of everything we see and feel. What this means is that even though we cannot see these alternate dimensions they are actually the very cause of everything that exists within the dimensions that we can see.

There are many thoughts on this subject and I am simply trying to reveal my analysis as I saw it. We may never know through traditional observation whether any of this is true, but it is the closest explanation of the universe that we have. In fact, it is the only theory that connects the macrocosm and microcosm scientifically, distinctly and logically. All others have either failed or simply fall into the realm of philosophy.



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