The Science Thread of Science Stuff
I was started to break off from discussions in other threads, so I decided to make this one to contain the Science discussion. I'll post anything here that I find interesting, and you can feel free to ask any questions that are on your mind in regards to how the universe works. First topic:
Matter. You break it down, and you find atoms. Inside the atom there is a nucleus, composed of neutrons and positively-charged protons, and electrons, which move around the nucleus. Your basic high school chemistry class is now complete. But what about beyond that?
Beyond that experiments have shown that protons and neutrons are made up of hundreds of different particles, each with a different mass, a different weight, a different energy, a different lifespan, etc. Protons have been shown to be made of quarks. Three of them, in fact, all moving in different directions. But what I'm talking about is even smaller. Think of them like plates. Our experiments involve crashing two protons together and examining the rubble for signs of another particle. But it's a mess. There are thousands of possible pieces, and ultimately none of them are true "particles". They're just smaller pieces of the quarks. We do the experiments and we give each of them names, but ultimately we're just creating hundreds and hundreds of new pointless pieces of matter, without any theory behind why they should even exist.
That's where String Theory comes in. String theory says that reality as we know it exists in ten dimensions. Inside of the other seven dimensions of reality, which are invisible to us, every particle in existence is actually made of tiny, vibrating coils of energy. Each "string" of energy vibrates in a specific way, depending on its size, its energy level, the dimension it is in, etc. Some dimensions give it more space to vibrate, some allow it to vibrate in other directions, and so on. Think of them like the strings on a guitar. The string on a guitar can vibrate in different ways, depending on where you pluck it. How long you let it vibrate. Depending on the size and shape and material of the string, it makes a different note when plucked. But ultimately... every note does come from a guitar string.
Such is the current theory of matter. According to String Theory, every particle in existence is simply made of strings... and the different properties that give us mass, and charge, and size, and spin, and shape and interactions are all dependent on how the strings are vibrating. In the world according to String Theory, matter is like a great symphony, with each particle being a different note played on the same universal string.
But does it stop there? Not at all. Look at the "constants" in science. The acceleration due to gravity. Avogadro's number. Planck's constant. The Universal Gravitation constant. The speed of light. The charge of an electron and proton. The permitivity of free space. There are at least 20 constants in science, and if any of them were changed even slightly, the universe as we know it wouldn't exist. String Theory gives an explanation. Each of these constants is dependent on the way the strings are allowed to vibrate across the dimensions. The constants are unique because our universe is unique. Even a small change in our universe would cause a drastic change in how the strings vibrate across the dimensions, thus changing everything in our world. These constants have the values that they do because the vibrations of the energy strings in our universe are unique.