Thursday, January 26, 2006

String Theory

Well, okay, I owe you a brief explanation of what string theory really is. And it is (drumroll please....) exactly what it sounds like. It's a (real) theory in physics that postulates that everything is made of up of tiny strings that vibrate back and forth. It can involve all sorts of sci-fi sounding things like extra dimensions (that are too small to measure) and quantum gravity. The trouble is, we have absolutely no way, as of yet, of knowing if it is real or not, because it's all too small to measure.
This is not at all the area of physics I work in, for one main reason and several correlations.
The reason is:
It is theory.
This means:
1. There is no funding for it.
2. It involves really hard math, even compared to normal physics.
3. Theorists tend to be a little weird, even compared to normal physicists.
4. It is really esoteric, by which I mean "sounds made-up."
5. There will be no chance to confirm any of it anywhere within my lifetime.
So why bother? Because physicists like to think we know it all. Until anything about it is proven wrong, which won't be possible for a very long time, string theorists can run around thinking they have The Answer to Everything. That's more or less why anyone does physics.
So what does this have to do with knitting? Very little. There is only one correlation, and by now I think you've got it. What is your sweater made of? Tiny strings that you can't see unless you look really closely. What are you and the rest of the entire universe possibly made of? Tiny strings that you can't see.

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