is a physicist renowned for both his contributions to string theory and his books on physics, which offer those interested in the strange and unusual ways of Quantum Physics an entry point in understanding. I recently read an interview with him in Fate Magazine and was fascinated by his book “Parallel Worlds” which seemed to me to be an explanation of the physics behind one of my favorite childhood books, “A Wrinkle in Time”.
In his recent interview, Michio Kaku gives his best crack at explaining why String Theory proponents are no longer considered crackpots. String Theory, from what my tiny little brain can grasp of the concept, is the idea that we are living in a universe with ten or eleven dimensions instead of just the three dimensional (plus one added for time) in the universe we are living in today. In the dimensions are small, vibrating strings that we are unable to perceive. The beauty of the theory in Kaku’s eyes is two-fold. First, he views it as a beautiful musical symmetry and secondly, he believes that it solves the dream of many physicists to find a universal theory to everything.
As an example of what it might mean to have extra dimensions, he mentions that a fish living at the top a a koi pond is limited in its movements. The fish can travel left, right, backward and forward, but because the pond is the universe to the fish, it cannot go up. We have the same failure of imagination and movement with our own three dimensions of length, width, and depth. Time is a slightly different story. Although it is tricky to envision more dimensions, it does not mean they are not there. Michio Kaku imagines that the Large Hadron Collider at Cern will help establish proof of supersymmetry, but knows that it will be unable to prove the theory altogether.
Not everyone is a fan of String Theory. I’m currently reading “Warped Passages” by Lisa Randall which is an excellent introductory book into the world of Einstein and after for those who are still learning. She is apparently an agnostic on the issue of string theory, which from what I can tell through her writing, really means that she is an atheist on string theory, based on the fact that the theory is difficult to prove.
However, as a non-science person, I am pretty much convinced that the answer to everything is indeed 42.