String Theory Explained Simply

When scientists – such as hip and trendy physicist Dr Brian Cox – talk about the universe – and believe me, it’s difficult to get a lot of them to stop talking about the universe – then they invariably bring up subjects such as "Dark Matter" and "Hawking Radiation" and "String Theory" and "Space-Time Vortex Marmosets". Is it possible for a dummy like you to understand these complex scientific terms? Why, yes it is!

Today we’ll be looking at String Theory, explaining in simple terms just what it is and how it is the cause of the weak and strong gravitational properties in the universe.

One of the core principles of physics is that particles – for example particles of light radiation – behave both as particles (which you’d expect) and as waves (which is just mental). Physicists call this duality of particles: confusing. The confusing properties of particles allows physicists to bamboozle people and get grants.

Imagine a wave of particles streaming out across space. Wouldn’t that look like a great, long, wiggly string? You bet your unscientific ass it would! Is that string theory? You bet your unscientific ass it isn’t! However, it does demonstrate that particles – any particles – can form long strings. There are long string streams emanating from the Sun right now, washing up against buildings and reflecting colours into your eye holes. There are strings of radiation particles bursting forth from your monitor, crashing up against your face, and running down cracks in your skin to cancerfy your intestines too. There are streams of strings everywhere.

You may be thinking: "all this talk of streams is making me want to pee. Is that string theory?" No, that’s your prostate trouble flaring up again. I told you anal sex was dangerous.

Gravity is everywhere in the universe and as such it needs energy to keep it running. As luck would have it there is an awful lot of energy in all those particle strings all over the place. An awful lot. To demonstrate just how much energy is present in strings you can perform a string theory experiment of your own.

String Theory Experiment
You will need:

  • a string of christmas tree lights
  • a tree
  • a bag
Step one: decorate a tree with the christmas tree lights.
String Theory 1

Step two: undecorate the tree.
String Theory 2

Step three: put the lights in the bag.
String Theory 3

Step four: put the bag in your loft.
String Theory 4

Step five: wait one year.
String Theory 5

Step six: retrieve the bag.
String Theory 6

Step seven: untangle the string of lights.
String Theory 7String Theory 8
String Theory 9String Theory 10

What you will discover is that a seemingly inoffensive string with plastic bulbs on it somehow stores staggering levels of energy within.

Now imagine if you’d put two strings of lights in those bags. Pretty scary, huh? What about an infinite number of strings? A bit harder to imagine, but I’m sure you’re getting the picture.

The universe is like that bag in the loft containing more christmas tree lights than you can imagine. Every planet is a bulb; many of the bulbs are broken. The person trying to unravel all those strings is the Space-Time Vortex Marmoset Queen. The energy expelled by the Space-Time Vortex Marmoset Queen in unravelling the christmas tree lights is what we know as gravity. And that is string theory explained simply.

Next time on Simple Science … why the Space-Time Vortex Marmoset Queen doesn’t like you poking around her black holes.

Author: Mark

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39 Comments

  1. Ah, I notice that nowhere in your post do you talk about the Fabric of Spacetime (which everyone knows consists of a 99% cotton-1% spandex blend, wash in cold water with like colors, line dry, cool iron). My only question to you is this: if I wore a pair of jeans made out of the Fabric of Spacetime, would they make my butt look big?

    All of your anti-spam questions have been negative numbers recently, btw.

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    • No it won’t because the fabric of space time is made up of loose strings of imagination and it does not fit.

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    • no your butt would not look big,unless you add matter in quantum particle form into your fabric of spacetime.

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  2. The Fabric of Spacetime is constrained by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle making the act of observing it directly affect the accuracy with which one is able to definitely say that it makes your butt look big. Sorry.

    As for the anti-spam questions: perhaps the anti-spam system is depressed.

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  3. I’m not so sure that this really does explain string theory. There’s something not quite right about it that I can’t put my finger on.

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  4. What about the cat? There’s always a cat. Maybe it’s in the attic, maybe it’s somehow got tangled up in the fekking Christmas tree lights, maybe it’s dead. Maybe not. Maybe it’s just moved next door where the food is better and the people less frenetic, maybe it’s not. It’s in a suspended state of superstringsuspendedness. It is a quantum quat. Strung up. Highly string. Cat gut. See? You won’t know until you go up and check. That’s the Schrodinger – Marmoset aspect of String theory.

    Can I have my grant now?

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  5. Thank you for the wonderful lesson. The question that’s really on everyone’s lips however is :
    Is that a self portrait of you in the pics?

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  6. It’s not me DD. One of the little known effects of accepting the Pauli Exclusion Principle is that only a gay biker can be used to demonstrate multidimensional string theories.

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  7. I love String Theory! I’m still not sure if I fully understand it, but I think I now get the general idea. Yay!

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  8. nobody has the time to do this experiment, and in your definition of string theory the strings have to be tangled up

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  9. chuk – you must be busy indeed to not have time to put up a tree, take it down, box it up and climb into the attic, wait a year, then retrieve the box. Christmas must be a hoot at your house. And the strings don’t have to be tangled up; they just are tangled up. It’s a bit like atoms. They don’t have to have protons orbiting the nucleus; they could all be in a queue with every other one shimmying to an internal beat. But they aren’t. Weird.

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  10. I am understand the string theory , but my qustion is that when this theory put forwed what type of explnation is given?

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  11. so space itself fragmented and wound up to form matter? the big bang came from an earlier epoch? bounce after bounce until one evolved that was material and lasting enough to support life?

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  12. Entropy…So I found myself thinking, which is generally hard to do, be at two places in once; and then for some reason a string came to mind. And it seemed utterly apparent, for reason’s I couldn’t explain to you even if I tried (which I won’t) that what lies beneath it this knotting hem was of utmost importance.

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  13. Two strings walked into a bar and sat down to order drinks. They said they wanted scotch on the rocks. The bartender said, "We don’t serve strings in this bar, get out." They left feeling dejected. As they stood outside the bar considering the situation, one of the strings said, "I have an idea…why don’t we tie knots in our middles, tussle our hair and go back in disguised?" The other agreed and, after each tied a knot in his middle and messed up his hair, they returned to the bar. At first the bartender didn’t recognize them and started to get their drinks. Then, suddenly he turned to them and said, "Hey, aren’t you two those strings I refused to serve, before?" One of the strings replied, "No I’m a frayed knot."

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  14. there is alot more to it then just trying to untangle the strings of light for the christmas tree .. the problem is you cant take a sicssor and cut a piece out of it to get it released .. any piece you cut out of the totall mess sublimes and the worst part is that it produces a smell like hair burning or a camel fart which is so powerful that it can start another fusion reaction any thing which comes within the range of this smell becomes a part of it called the fusion of farts and who ever is near the hole of camel where the far emerged sublimes and becomes a fart/part of it

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  15. How do your Xmas tree lights work if they’re connected by string instead of wire?
    Is the World a ball of string?
    If it unravelled, would everybody have to stand in a straight line?
    I think the World is much more complicated. But if we take all the oil out, won’t the cog wheels seize up?

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  16. i still don’t understand how on a subatomical level particals can be @ 2 places @ once…or multilple places @ once

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  17. Oh, I am trying and I AM smart but I am just not getting this.

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  18. I’m surprised at the lot of you. GOSH IT’S SO SIMPLE. Duh. The entire experiment is not just analogous to the reality of string theory, it also touches upon the Hawkings-Donner Party Donut Principle. Jeepers, just how amazingly clear it all is now! Shame on y’all for not seeing the enlightenment that is being put forth here – both the Christmas Tree Light Enlightenment, and the Anti-Dark Matter-Crispy Creme Donut De-Enlightenment Enlightenment. This is all easy enough to write an equation on! (I’ll have to learn perl first, then get back on this one).

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  19. So basically you’re saying that the universe is all tangled up and that gravity is the human trying to untangle everything and get it back into order? So let’s say it does get "untangled", what does that universe generally look like?

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  20. how do string pullers figure into all this?

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  21. you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about so don’t even try

    leave the science to the scientists

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  22. Starting off a comment with the phrase "you have absolutely no idea" on this site and this article is a most wonderful example of irony. Thank you for supplying it.

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  23. I have wrestled with string theory , I have come to the conclusion that some very smart people are lost , we take ourselves way to seriously , the brightest of us are only glorified monkeys, in 3or 4 hundred years you’ll learn this in preschool , for now just relax , and work on solutions for the here and now.
    We’re trying to run before we can crawl, we just need to connect the dots as they present themselves, we’re trying to skip hundreds of years of dots.

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  24. Sorry to say but your description of string theory doesn’t help anyone who is as simple minded as me to understand it. All you did in this blog was ramble on. You only used the phrase sting theory about 5 times. Next time I want to understand String Theory I’ll have to grow a brain cell or two.

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  25. Isn’t string passe’ these days, I thought everyone used Sellotape.

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  26. String theory has now evolved into a unified "multi string theories" theory called M theory. It combines early String Theories into one 11 demensional theory with "membranes".

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  27. where does light play into it

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  28. JML now do a product that will neatly form your wires with no mess (wire jungle) so please what the "fuck" are you on about?

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  29. I believe the real tangled string theory is that when atoms are magnified instead of space between them there is something that resembles tangled string. Subsequently everything in the universe is linked.
    Rosacrucians believe that thoughts which are pulses of electrical energy become almost "living things". They can move around the ether via the tangled string. So a 16th century man can invent something but have no engine to power it. But a 21st century man picks up the "thought" via the ether, thinks he’s had an inspiration, adds the engine and makes afortune.

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  30. this explanation is exactly almost accurate 8) jesus died equally for christmas trees and string theory

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  31. its all about the letter { m } . the m is connected 2 evryting.wats d opposite of stwing theory??

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  32. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but the string theory basically says that quarks (the stuff inside protons & neutrons, which are the things at the centers of atoms), electrons & their cousins, and all the other sub- and sub-sub- atomic stuff in the world are not what we thought they are. Initially scientists thought all those things were these non-dimensional pinpoints. But the string theory proposes that they are actually little loops of string, and depending on how a given string vibrates, it can look like an electron, an up quark, or any of the subatomic particles known to man. In other words, when you get down far enough, the entire world is made of string loops! That is my understanding, and I have no clue what the heck you are saying in this article.

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  33. String Theory is real because it creates the world/universe we live in. The supreme intelligence, that is constantly overlooking everything, creates matter from energy. Energy is created from vibrations from the strings.

    An example. Pluck a guitar string. The string suddenly looks 10 times its actual size. Now pluck it again and this time make it vibrate a million times faster. Put your finger either side of the string and it will feel like solid matter. Make the string any shape, vibrate it and you have table, chairs, planets, etc.

    Add a touch of spirit and a bit of soul and you have real life.

    The power that is called, the source, god, nature, the one, brahman, allah, created you, me, the world, the planets, our universe, using tiny bits of string. What you see around you is simply an illusion.

    I rest my case.

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  34. Tom, when resting a case (the sort of thing a lawyer might say) it is important to provide evidence beforehand otherwise people listening to you (let’s call them the jury) will think you’re insane. Assuming the jury is selected based on the requirement of being "not a moron".

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  35. To bring this full circle, I’m still waiting to see Penny’s butt wrapped in the Fabric of Spacetime…

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  36. My only question is: Why does the Space-Time Vortex Marmoset Queen have a mustache?

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