The Elegant Universe Summary

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The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene describes things about the universe that most people do not know, from superstring theory to additional dimensions. It describes superstring theory in detail; it describes the basic idea as well as its development through the years up until 1999, when the book was written. It also talks about other dimensions in the universe that are not obvious, which according to superstring theory there are between six and seven of. The book also goes over Calabi-Yau shapes, which hold those extra dimensions. It also goes over extra concepts that contribute to string theory on a whole such as supergravity. Brian Greene ties in complex ideas, of both his own and famous scientists in a way that is ultimately easy to understand.…show more content…
Other theories came close, such as the Standard Model, but they always failed to include gravity. For string theory to work, both quantum mechanics and general relativity have to exist. Quantum mechanics is the field of physics applicable to atomic and subatomic particles. General relativity describes gravity itself as a smooth curving of spacetime. Previous to string theory, these two things could not exist together as certain properties of quantum mechanics make general relativity impossible, such as the uncertainty principle. The uncertainty principle says that the exact location of a particle can never be precisely pinpointed, and this makes matter frenzied on small scales. This frenzy is caused by particles popping in and out of existence. The particles take energy, come into existence, and jump right back out, releasing energy, and therefore still following laws of conservation. This frenzy is called quantum foam. If matter is bouncing around wildly, gravity cannot be a smooth slope, which is in conflict with general relativity. No general relativity equation accounts for quantum foam. For quantum foam to actually be visible,equations show gravity must be examined on the scale of a Planck length, which is about 10-33 centimeters. String theory eliminates these fluctuations, making it possible, and even preferable, that quantum mechanics and general relativity exist
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