So, I stumbled upon an article recently that insinuated that the theory of gravity is incorrect, misunderstood… that gravity is really an illusion… a side effect of some other phenomenon. This radical and arcane concept/proposal was conceived by really deep guy named Erik Verlinde, a professor of physics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a string theorist. To tell you the truth, this is what got my attention. I wanted to know just what a “string theorist” was, so of course, I ‘googled’ it and in the process, stumbled upon a collection of short videos generated by a contest at Discover Magazine that attempt to explain string theory in 2 minutes or less. Here is the winning entry. If you can stand the computer-generated feminine voice, it’s an enlightening video.
I also liked this one made by an enterprising family of, I am guessing, sort of fun intellectuals– if this is any indication of an example of a daily conversation starting point.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not a scientist. I do have a natural curiosity about the world and pretty much everything in it, but everything I know about quantum physics, I learned from reading books by Gary Zukav and Deepak Chopra that lured me in with their self-help, relationship, meaning of life, personal journey focus. So, independently researching string theory is pretty much a stretch for me.
I am not completely sure what so intrigues me about this subject beyond my initial reaction to the beauty in the simplicity of the words themselves: string theory. I do remember having conversations, though, with my youngest child who will sometimes engage me in conversations about the true number of dimensions in the world and his perspective on the dichotomy between religion and science.
Ultimately, I guess that one of the main reasons I am so intrigued is that I don’t believe that religion and science are mutually exclusive and because string theory and its exploration of other dimensions that we cannot yet fathom could bridge the gap between the two. In fact, I can see that bridge when I imagine the concept of string theory. At the most basic level, both religion and string theory require faith in things you cannot see and that cannot be proven. And, that’s good enough for me, right now.