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"The Elegant Universe", hosted by Brian Greene.
Based on "The Elegant Universe" by Brian Greene.
Welcome to the 11th dimension
Imagine that we were able to control space
Or control time.
The kinds of things that we'd be able to do
Would be amazing.
I might be able to go from here...
To here...
To here...
To here...
And over to here in only an instant.
Now,we all think that this kind of trip
Would be impossible.
And it probably is.
But in the last few years,
Our ideas about the true nature of space and time
Have been going through some changes.
And things that used to seem like science fiction
Are looking not-so-far-fetched.
It's all thanks to a revolution in physics
Called "string theory,"
Which is offering a whole new perspective
On the inner workings of the universe.
String theory holds out the promise that
We can really understand questions of
Why the universe is the way it is
At the most fundamental level.
String theory is really the wild west of physics.
This is an area of theoretical physics
Which is so radically different from
Anything that's been before.
This radical new theory starts with the simple premiss
That everything in the universe,
The earth,these buildings,
Even forces like gravity and electricity,
Are made up of incredibly tiny,
Vibrating strands of energy called "strings."
And small as they are,
Strings are changing everything
We thought we knew about the universe,
Especially our ideas about the nature of space.
To see how,let's first shrink all of space
To a more manageable size.
Imagine that the whole universe consisted of nothing
More than my hometown,manhattan.
So now,just one borough of new york city
Makes up the entire fabric of space.
And just for kicks,
Let's also imagine that I'm the ceo of a large corporation
With offices on wall street.
And because time is money,
I need to find the quickest route from my apartment,
Here in upper manhattan to my offices in lower manhattan.
Now,we all know that the shortest distance
Between two points is a straight line,
But even if there's no traffic
-A bit of a stretch even in our imaginary manhattan-
It'll still take us some amount of time to get there.
By going faster and faster,
We can reduce the travel time.
But because nothing can go faster than the speed of light,
There is a definite limit to how much time
We can cut from our journey.
This manhattan universe fits with an old,
Classical vision of space,
Basically a flat grid that's static and unchanging.
But when Albert Einstein looked at the fabric of space,
He saw something completely different.
He said that space wasn't static;
It could warp and stretch.
And there could even be unusual structures of space
Called "wormholes."
A wormhole is a bridge or tunnel
That can link distant regions of space,
In effect,a cosmic shortcut.
In this kind of universe,
My commute would be a new yorker's dream.
But there is a hitch, to create a wormhole,
You've got to rip or tear a hole in the fabric of space.
But can the fabric of space really rip?
Can this first step toward
Forming a wormhole actually happen?
Well,you can't answer these questions
On an empty stomach.
Turns out that by looking at my breakfast
--coffee and a doughnut--
We can get a pretty good sense of
What string theory says
About whether the fabric of space can tear.
Imagine that space is shaped like this doughnut.
You might think that it would be very different
From a region of space shaped like this coffee cup.
But there's a precise sense
In which the shape of the doughnut
And the coffee cup are actually the same,
Just a little disguised.
You see,they both have one hole.
In the doughnut it's in the middle
And in the coffee cup it's in the handle.
That means we can change the doughnut
Into the shape of a coffee cup and back again
Without having to rip or tear the dough at all.
Okay,but suppose you want to change the shape
Of this doughnut into a very different shape,
A shape with no holes.
The only way to do that is to tear the doughnut like this
And then re-shape it.
Unfortunately,according to Einstein's laws,
This is impossible.
They say that space can stretch and warp,
But it cannot rip.
Wormholes might exist somewhere fully formed,
But you could not rip space to create a new one,
Over manhattan or anywhere else.
In other words,I can't take a wormhole to work.
But now string theory is giving us
A whole new perspective on space,
And it's showing us that Einstein wasn't always right.
To see how,
Let's take a much closer look at the spatial fabric.
If we could shrink down
To about a millionth of a billionth of our normal size,
We'd enter the world of quantum mechanics,
The laws that control how atoms behave.
It's the world of light and electricity and everything else
That operates at the smallest of scales.
Here,the fabric of space is random and chaotic.
Rips and tears might be commonplace.
But if they were,
What would stop a rip in the fabric of space
From creating a cosmic catastrophe?
Well,this is where the power of strings comes in.
Strings calm the chaos.
And as a single string dances through space,
It sweeps out a tube.
The tube can act like a bubble that surrounds the tear,
A protective shield with profound implications.
Strings actually make it possible for space to rip.
Which means that space is far more dynamic
And changeable than even Albert Einstein thought.
So does that mean that wormholes are possible?
Will I ever be able to take a stroll on Everest,
Grab a baguette in Paris
And still make it back to new york in time
For my morning meeting?
It would be kind of cool,
Though it's still a very distant possibility.
But one thing that is certain
Is that string theory is already showing us
That the universe may be a lot stranger
Than any of us ever imagined.
For example,string theory says we're surrounded
By hidden dimensions,
Mysterious places beyond the familiar
Three-dimensional space we know.
People who've said that
There were extra dimensions of space,
Have been labeled as,you know,crackpots
Or people who are bananas.
I mean,what,do you think there are extra dimensions?
Well,string theory really predicts it.
What we think of as our universe
Could just be one small part of something much bigger.
Perhaps we live on a membrane,
A three-dimensional membrane
That floats inside higher dimensional space.
There could be entire worlds right next to us,
But completely invisible.
These other worlds would,in a very literal sense,
Be,be parallel universes.
This isn't a particularly exotic or,or strange notion.
No wonder physics students are lining up
To explore the strange world of string theory.
String theory is very active.
Things are happening. there are a lot of people doing it.
Most of the young kids,given the choice,
At a ratio of something like ten to one,
They will go into string theory.
But strings weren't always this popular.
The pioneers of string theory struggled for years,
Working alone on an idea that nobody else believed in.
Here is generalized, For decades,
Physicists believed that the tiniest bits inside an atom
Were point particles.
Flying around the outside were the electrons,
And inside were protons and neutrons
Which were made up of quarks.
But string theory says that what we thought
Were indivisible particles are actually tiny,
Vibrating strings.
It's nothing really mystical. it's a really tiny string.
It either closes in to its little circle or it has end points
But it's just a little string.
In the 1980s,the idea caught on,
And people started jumping on the string bandwagon.
Well,the fact that
Suddenly all these other people were working in the field
Had its advantages and its disadvantages.
It was wonderful to see
How rapidly the subject could develop now,
Because so many people were working on it.
One of the great attractions of strings is their versatility.
Just as the strings on a cello can vibrate
At different frequencies,
Making all the individual musical notes,
In the same way,
The tiny strings of string theory
Vibrate and dance in different patterns,
Creating all the fundamental particles of nature.
If this view is right,then put them all together
And we get the grand and beautiful symphony
That is our universe.
What's really exciting about this
Is that it offers an amazing possibility.
If we could only master the rhythms of strings,
Then we'd stand a good chance of explaining all the matter
And all the forces of nature,
From the tiniest subatomic particles
To the galaxies of outer space.
This is the potential of string theory,
To be a unified "theory of everything."
But,at first sight,in our enthusiasm for this idea,
We seem to have gone too far.
Because we didn't produce just one string theory,
Or even two—
We somehow managed to come up with five.
Five different string theories,
Each competing for the title of the theory of everything.
And if there's going to be a
"the fundamental theory of nature,"
There ought to be one of them.
I suppose a number of string theorists thought,
"ah,that's fantastic. that's wonderful."
And maybe one of these will end up being the right theory
Of the world." and yet,
There must have been a little nagging voice
At the back of the head that said,
"well,why are there five?"
With five competing players,
The stage of string theory was looking a little crowded.
The five theories had many things in common.
For example,they all involved vibrating strings,
But their mathematical details appeared
To be quite different.
Frankly,it was embarrassing.
How could this unified theory of everything
Come in five different flavors?
This was a case where more was definitely less.
But then something remarkable happened.
This is Ed Witten.
He's widely regarded as one of
The world's greatest living physicists,
Perhaps even Einstein's successor.
Ed Witten is a very special person in the field.
He clearly has a grasp,
Particularly of the underlying mathematical principles,
Which is far greater than most other people.
Well,you know,we all think we're very smart;
He's so much smarter than the rest of us.
In 1995,string theorists from all over the world
Gathered at the university of southern california
For their annual conference.
Ed Witten showed up at strings 95 and rocked their world.
I was really trying to think of something
That would be significant for the occasion.
And actually,since five string theories was too many,
I thought I would try to get rid of some of them.
To solve the problem,
Witten constructed a spectacular new way
Of looking at string theory.
Ed announced that he had thought about it,
And moreover,he had solved it.
He was going to tell us the solution
To every string theory in every dimension,
Which was an enormous claim,
But coming from Ed it was not so surprising.
The atmosphere was electric because,
All of a sudden,string theory,
Which had been going through a kind of doldrums,
Was given an incredible boost,a shot in the arm.
Ed Witten gave his famous lecture.
And he said a couple of words that got me interested...
And for the rest of the lecture...
I got hooked up on the first few words that he said,
And completely missed the point of his lecture.
I remember I had to give the talk after him,
And I was kind of embarrassed to.
Ed Witten just blew everybody away.
Ed Witten blew everybody away
Because he provided a completely
new perspective on string theory.
from this point of view,
We could see that there weren't really five different theories
Like reflections in a wall of mirrors,
What we thought were five theories
Turned out to be just five different ways of looking
at the same thing.
String theory was unified at last.
Witten's work sparked a breakthrough so revolutionary
That it was given it's own name,"M-theory,"
Although no one really knows what the M stands for.
Aah,what is the M for?
The M-theory.
M-theory is a theory...
I don't actually know what the M stands for.
Well,the M has...
I've heard many descriptions.
Mystery theory,magic theory...
It's the mother theory.
Matrix theory.
Monstrous theory? I don't know what it...
I don't know what Ed meant.
M stands for magic,mystery or matrix,according to taste.
I suspect that the "M" is an upside down "W" for "Witten."
Some cynics have occasionally suggested
That M may also stand for "murky,"
Because our level of understanding of the theory is,
In fact,so primitive.
Maybe I shouldn't have told you that one.
Whatever the name,it was a bombshell.
Suddenly everything was different.
There was a lot of panic,if you like,
Realizing that big things were happening,
And all of us not wanting to get left behind
In this new revolution of string theory.
After Witten's talk,there was renewed hope
That this one theory could be the theory
To explain everything in the universe.
But there was also a price to pay.
Before M-theory,
Strings seemed to operate in a world with 10 dimensions.
These included one dimension of time,
The three familiar space dimensions,
As well as six extra dimensions,
Curled up so tiny that they're completely invisible.
Well,we think these extra dimensions exist
Because they come out of the equations of string theory.
Strings need to move in more than three dimensions.
And that was a shock to everybody,
But then we learned to live with it.
But M-theory would go even further,
Demanding yet another spatial dimension,
Bringing the grand total to 11 dimensions.
We know that there would have to be 11 dimensions
For this theory to make sense.
So there must be 11 dimensions.
We only see three plus one of them.
How is that possible?
For most of us,it's virtually impossible
to picture the extra,higher dimensions:
I can't. and it's not surprising.
Our brains evolved sensing just
The three spatial dimensions of everyday experience.
So how can we get a feel for them?
One way is to go to the movies.
We're all familiar with the real world
Having three spatial dimensions
That is,anywhere I go,I can move left-right,
Back-forth,or up-down.
But in the movies,things are a bit different.
Even though the characters on a movie screen
Look three-dimensional,they actually are stuck
In just two dimensions.
There is no back-forth on a movie screen,
That's just an optical illusion.
To really move in the back-forth dimension,
I'd have to step out of the screen.
And sometimes moving into a higher dimension
Can be a useful thing to do.
So dimensions all have to do with
The independent directions in which you can move.
They're sometimes called "degrees of freedom."
The more dimensions or degrees of freedom you have,
The more you can do.
That's right.
And if there really are 11 dimensions,
Then strings can do a lot more,too.
People found,fairly soon,
That there were objects that lived in these theories,
Which weren't just strings,
But were larger than that.
They actually looked like membranes or surfaces.
The extra dimension Witten added
Allows a string to stretch into something like a membrane
Or a "brane" for short.
A brane could be three-dimensional or even more.
And with enough energy,
A brane could grow to an enormous size,
Perhaps even as large as a universe.
This was a revolution in string theory.
String theory has gotten much more baroque.
I mean now there are not only strings,
There are membranes.
People go on calling this string theory,
But the string theorists are not sure
It really is a theory of strings anymore.
The existence of giant membranes and extra dimensions
Would open up a startling new possibility,
That our whole universe is living on a membrane,
Inside a much larger,higher dimensional space.
It's almost as if we were living inside...a loaf of bread?
Our universe might be like a slice of bread,
Just one slice,in a much larger loaf that
Physicists sometimes call the "bulk."
And if these ideas are right,
The bulk may have other slices,other universes,
That are right next to ours,
In effect,"parallel" universes.
Not only would our universe be nothing special,
but we could have a lot of neighbors.
Some of them could resemble our universe,
They might have matter and planets and,who knows,
Maybe even beings of a sort.
Others certainly would be a lot stranger.
They might be ruled by completely different laws of physics.
Now,all of these other universes would exist
within the extra dimensions of M-theory,
dimensions that are all around us.
Some even say they might be right next to us,
Less than a millimeter away.
But if that's true,why can't I see them or touch them?
If you have a brane living in a higher dimensional space,
And your particles,your atoms,cannot get off the brane,
It's like trying to reach out,but you can't touch anything.
It might as well be on the other end of the universe.
It's a very powerful idea because if it's right
It means that our whole picture of the universe is clouded
By the fact that we're trapped on just a tiny slice
Of the higher dimensional universe.
It is a powerful idea,especially because it may help solve
One of the great mysteries of modern science.
It has to do with gravity.
It's been more than 300 years
Since Isaac Newton came up with the universal law of gravity,
Inspired,as the story goes,
By seeing an apple fall from a tree.
Today,it seems obvious that gravity is a powerful force.
It would seem to most people
That gravity is a very important force,it's very strong.
It's very hard to get up in the morning,stand up,
And when things fall they break because gravity is strong.
But the fact of the matter is that it's not strong.
It's,it's really a very weak force.
Gravity pulls us down to the earth,
And keeps our earth in orbit around the sun.
But in fact,we overcome the force of gravity all the time.
It's not that hard. Even with the gravity of the entire earth
Pulling this apple downward,
The muscles in my arm can easily overcome it.
And it's not just our muscles that put gravity to shame.
Magnets can do it,too,no sweat.
Magnets carry a different force,
The electromagnetic force.
That's the same force behind light and electricity.
It turns out that electromagnetism is much,much stronger
Than gravity.
Gravity,in comparison,is amazingly weak.
How weak?
The electromagnetic force is some thousand billion,
Billion,billion,billion times stronger.
That's a one with 39 zeroes following it.
The weakness of gravity
Has confounded scientists for decades.
But now,with the radical world of string theory,
Filled with membranes and extra dimensions,
There's a whole new way to look at the problem.
One way of approaching the question of
Why gravity is so weak compared to all the other forces,
Is to turn the question completely on its head,
And say,"no,actually gravity isn't very weak.
Compared to all the other forces,
It just appears to be weak."
It may be that gravity
Is actually just as strong as electromagnetism,
But for some reason,we can't feel its strength.
Consider a pool table,a very large pool table.
Think of the surface of the pool table
As representing our three-dimensional universe,
Although it is just two-dimensional,
And think of the billiard balls
As representing atoms and other particles
That the universe is made out of.
So here's the wild idea:
The atoms and particles that make up stuff
In the world around us will stay on our particular membrane,
Our slice of the universe just as the billiard balls
Will stay on the surface of the pool table
——unless you're a really bad pool player.
But whenever the balls collide,
There is something that always seeps off the table,
Sound waves. That's why I can hear the collision.
Now,the idea is that gravity might be like the sound waves,
It might not be confined to our membrane.
It might be able to seep off our part of the universe.
Or think about it another way.
Instead of pool tables,let's go back to bread.
Imagine that our universe is like this slice of toast.
And that you and me,and all of matter
——light itself,everything we see—
Is like jelly.
Now jelly can move freely on the surface of the toast,
But otherwise,it's stuck,
it can't leave the surface itself.
But what if gravity were different?
What if gravity were more like cinnamon and sugar?
Now,this stuff isn't sticky at all,
So it easily slides right off the surface.
But why would gravity be so different from everything else
That we know of in the universe?
Well,turns out that string theory,or M-theory,
Provides an answer.
It all has to do with shape.
For years,
We concentrated on strings that were closed loops,
Like rubber bands.
But after M-theory,we turned our attention to other kinds.
Now we think that everything we see around us,
Like matter and light,is made of open-ended strings,
And the ends of each string
Are tied down to our three-dimensional membrane.
But closed loops of string do exist,
And one kind is responsible for gravity.
It's called a graviton.
With closed loops, there are no loose ends to tie down,
So gravitons are free to escape into the other dimensions,
diluting the strength of gravity
And making it seem weaker than the other forces of nature.
This suggests an intriguing possibility.
If we do live on a membrane
And there are parallel universes on other membranes near us,
We may never see them,
But perhaps we could one day feel them through gravity.
If there happens to be intelligent life
On one of the membranes,
Then this intelligent life might be very close to us.
So theoretically,and purely theoretically,
We might be able to communicate with this intelligent life
By exchanging strong gravity wave sources.
So who knows?
Maybe someday we'll develop the technology
And use gravity waves
to actually communicate with other worlds.
Yes,hey,it's brian. how you doing?
I told you never to call me during "the simpsons!"
We don't really know if parallel universes
Could have a real impact on us.
But there is one very controversial idea,which says
They've already played a major role.
In fact,it gives them credit for our existence.
As the classic story goes,
The vast universe we see today was once extremely small,
Unimaginably small.
Then,suddenly,it got bigger ——a lot bigger
——during the dramatic event known as the big bang.
The big bang stretched the fabric of space
And set off the chain of events that brought us
To the universe we know and love today.
But there's always been a couple of problems
With the big bang theory.
First,when you squeeze the entire universe
Into an infinitesimally small,
But stupendously dense package,
At a certain point,
Our laws of physics simply break down.
They just don't make sense anymore.
The formulas we use start giving answers
That are nonsensical. we find total disaster.
Everything breaks down,and we're stuck.
And on top of this,there's the bang itself.
What exactly is that?
That's actually a problem.
The classic form of the big bang theory
Really says nothing about what banged,
What happened before it banged,
Or what caused it to bang.
Refinements to the big bang theory do suggest explanations
For the bang,but none of them turn the clock back completely
To the moment when everything started.
Most people come at this with the naive notion
That there was a beginning
——that somehow space and time emerged from nothingness
Into somethingness.
Well,I don't know about you,but I don't like nothing.
Do I really believe that the universe was a big bang
Out of nothing? And I don't -I'm not a philosopher,
So I won't say. But I could imagine to a philosopher,
That is a problem.
But to a physicist,I think,it's also a problem.
Everyone admits there are problems.
The question is: "Can string theory solve them?"
Some string theorists have suggested that the big bang
Wasn't the beginning at all,
That the universe could have existed long before even forever.
Not everyone is comfortable with the idea.
I actually find it rather unattractive
To think about a universe without a beginning.
It seems to me that a universe without a beginning
Is also a universe without an explanation.
So what is the explanation?
What if string theory is right,
And we are all living on a giant membrane
Inside a higher dimensional space?
One of the ideas in string theory
That was particularly striking to me,
And suggested perhaps a new direction for cosmology,
Is the idea of branes and the idea of branes moving
In extra dimensions.
Some scientists have proposed that the answer
To the big bang riddle lies in the movements
Of these giant branes.
It's so simple. Here's a brane on which we live,
And here's another brane floating in the higher dimension.
There's absolutely nothing difficult about imagining
That these collide with each other.
According to this idea,some time before the big bang,
Two branes carrying parallel universes
Began drifting toward each other,
All of that energy has to go somewhere.
Where does it go? It goes into the big bang.
It creates the expansion that we see,
And it heats up all the particles in the universe,
In this big, fiery mass.
As if this weren't weird enough,
the proponents of this idea make another radical claim:
The big bang was not a special event.
They say that parallel universes could have collided,
Not just once in the past,
But again and again
——and that it will happen in the future.
If this view is right,there's a brane out there right now,
Headed on a collision course with our universe.
So another collision is coming,
And there'll be another big bang.
And this will just repeat itself
For an indefinite period into the future.
It's an intriguing idea.
Unfortunately,there are a few technical problems.
Well,that was a very ingenious scenario
That arose naturally within string theory.
However,the good old problems creep back in again.
The fact is we don't really know what happens
When two branes collide.
You can wind up with the same situation we had
With the big bang;the equations don't make sense.
They have to make a lot of assumptions in their models,
And I don't think they've really solved the problem
Of the big bang in string theory.
If string theory is the one true theory of the universe,
It will have to solve the riddle of the big bang.
And there's a lot of hope
That someday string theory will succeed.
But for now,there's also a lot of uncertainty.
As promising and exciting the theory is,
We don't entirely understand it.
It's as if we've stumbled in the dark into a house,
Which we thought was a two bedroom apartment
And now we're discovering is a nineteen-room mansion
——at least. And maybe it's got a thousand rooms,
And we're just beginning our journey.
So how sure are we that the universe is the way
That string theory describes it?
Is the world really made up of strings and membranes,
Parallel universes and extra dimensions?
Is this all science or science fiction?
Well,the question we often ask ourselves
As we work through our equations is,
"Is this just fancy mathematics,
Or is it describing the real world?"
These exercises in our imagination of mathematics are all,
at the end of the day,subjected to a single question:
"Is it there in the laboratory? Can you find its evidence?"
String theory and string theorists do have a real problem.
How do you actually test string theory?
If you can't test it in the way that we test normal theories,
It's not science,it's philosophy,
And that's a real problem.
Strings are thought to be so tiny,
Much smaller than an atom,
That there's probably no way to see them directly.
But even if we never see strings,
We may someday see their fingerprints.
You see,if strings were around
At the beginning of the universe
When things were really tiny,
They would have left impressions
Or traces on their surroundings.
And then, after the big bang,
When everything expanded,
Those traces would have been stretched out
Along with everything else.
So,if that's true,
We may someday see the tell-tale signs of strings
Somewhere in the stars.
But even here on earth
There's a chance we can detect evidence of strings.
This pasture in Illinois serves as command central
For a lot of this research.
Well,actually,the real work happens underground
Where the hunt is on for evidence supporting string theory,
Including extra dimensions.
Not too many years ago,
People who talked about large extra dimensions
Would have been considered crackpots,to put it lightly.
But all that has changed,thanks to string theory.
This is fermilab,and right now,
It's our best hope for proving that extra dimensions are real.
Fermilab has a giant atom smasher.
Here's how it works:
Scientists zap hydrogen atoms with huge amounts of electricity
Later,they strip them of their electrons
And send the protons zooming around
A four mile circular tunnel
Beneath the prairie.
Just as they're approaching the speed of light,
They are steered into collisions with particles whizzing
In the opposite direction.
Most collisions are just glancing blows,
But occasionally there's a direct hit.
The result is a shower of unusual subatomic particles.
The hope is that among these particles
Will be a tiny unit of gravity,the graviton.
Gravitons,according to string theory,are closed loops,
So they can float off into the extra dimensions.
The grand prize would be a snapshot of a graviton
At the moment of escape.
And then the graviton goes to the extra dimension,
And then it shows in the detector by its absence.
You see it by its absence.
Fermilab hasn't yet "seen" the vanishing graviton.
And the pressure is on,
Because another team is hot on the same trail.
Four thousand miles away,
On the border of france and switzerland,
A lab called cern
Is constructing an enormous new atom smasher.
When it's finished,
It will be seven times more powerful than fermilab's.
There's a great sense of urgency that
Every minute has to count,but eventually,cern,
Our rival laboratory,will frankly blow us out of the water.
Cern will blow fermilab out of the water,
Not only in the search for extra dimensions,
But other wild ideas.
At the top of the "to do" list for both labs
Is the hunt for something called "supersymmetry,"
That's a central prediction of string theory.
And it says,in a nutshell,
That for every subatomic particle we're familiar with,
Like electrons,photons,and gravitons,
There should also be a much heavier partner
Called a "sparticle," which so far no one has ever seen.
Now,because string theory says sparticles should exist,
Finding them is a major priority.
So,it's a big discovery to find supersymmetry.
That's,that's a humongous discovery and,
And I think it's a bigger discovery to find supersymmetry
Than to find life on mars.
If we were to hear tomorrow that
Supersymmetry was discovered,
There would be parties all over the planet.
The problem is,if they exist,
The sparticles of supersymmetry are probably incredibly heavy,
So heavy that they may not be detected
With today's atom smashers.
The new facility at cern will have the best chance,
Once it's up and running in several years,
But that won't stop the folks at fermilab
From trying to find them first.
The competition is,is friendly and fierce at the same time.
We're competing like bad dogs,essentially.
It has always been like that,and it will always be like that.
We have to make sure that we don't make any mistakes,
That we do absolutely the best we can do at these experiments
And take advantage of what is really
One of the great golden opportunities for discovery.
If we do find sparticles,it won't prove string theory,
But it will be really strong circumstantial evidence
That we're on the right track.
Over the next 10 to 20 years,
The new generation of atom smashers
Is sure to uncover surprising truths
About the nature of our universe.
But will it be the universe predicted by string theory?
What if we don't find sparticles? or extra dimensions?
What if we never find any evidence
That supports this weird new universe filled with
Membranes and tiny vibrating strings?
Could string theory,in the end,be wrong?
Oh yes,it's certainly a logical possibility that
We've all been wasting our time for the last twenty years
And that the theory is completely wrong.
There have been periods of many years
Where all of the smart people,all of the cool people,
Were working on one kind of theory,
Moving in one kind of direction,
And even though they thought it was wonderful,
It turned out to be a dead end.
This could happen to string theory.
Even though there's no real evidence yet,
So much of string theory just makes so much sense;
A lot of us believe it's just got to be right.
I don't think it's ever happened
That a theory that has the kind of mathematical appeal
That string theory has turned out to be entirely wrong.
I would find it hard to believe that that
Much elegance and mathematical beauty
Would simply be wasted.
I don't really know how close we are to the end.
You know,are we almost there in having the complete story?
Is it going to still be another ten years? nobody knows.
But I think it's going to keep me busy for a long time.
We have been incredibly lucky.
Nature has somehow allowed us
To unlock the keys to many fundamental mysteries already.
How far can we push that?
We won't know until we,until we try.
A century ago,some scientists thought
They had pretty much figured out the basic laws of the universe.
But then einstein came along
And dramatically revised our views of space
And time and gravity.
And quantum mechanics unveiled the inner workings
Of atoms and molecules,
Revealing a world that's bizarre and uncertain.
So,far from confirming that we had sorted it all out,
The 20th century showed that
Every time we looked more closely at the universe,
We discovered yet another unexpected layer of reality.
As we embark on the 21st century,
we're getting a glimpse of what may be the next layer:
Vibrating strings,sparticles,parallel universes
And extra dimensions.
It's a breathtaking vision
And in a few years,experiments may begin to tell us
Whether some of these ideas are right or wrong.
But,regardless of the outcome,we'll keep going,
Because,well,that's what we do.
We follow our curiosity. we explore the unknown.
And a hundred or a thousand years from now,
Today's view of the cosmos may look woefully incomplete,
Perhaps even quaint.
But undeniably,the ideas we call string theory
Are a testament to the power of human creativity.
They've opened a whole new spectrum of possible answers
To age-old questions.
And with them,we've taken a dramatic leap
In our quest to fully understand this elegant universe.


幽雅的宇宙 The Elegant Universe 03 (中英文字幕)

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姚姚 發佈於 2013 年 9 月 14 日