The Elegant Universe 02

Today we have the second part of the NOVA documentary series The Elegant Universe, narrated by Brian Greene, author of the book by the same name.

Last time we saw the history of the reductionist attempts to provide a single, unifying theory of the universe by greats such as Newton, Maxwell and Einstein. By the middle of the 20th century there were two main theories, incompatible with each other, that seemed to explain the physical world: Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, which explains the gravitational forces of the very big (planets, stars, galaxies), and quantum mechanics, which explains the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, and electromagnetism of the subatomic world (protons, photons, quarks, etc.). And even though both theories were fundamentally incompatible with each other, empirical observations and experiments consistently seemed to provide evidence that confirmed them, which indicated that they both had to be right somehow. This provides the groundwork for the assumption that there must be one set of laws that can explain both the very small constituents of the universe, as well as the very large bodies that they create, somehow unifying general relativity with quantum mechanics. This is the story of the tumultuous birth of string theory.

If you haven't watched the first episode, which provides the background for today's entry, watch it here.





Yes, the quantum world is nucking futs!
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