Sometimes you find inspiration in the strangest places
I found these awesome videos on string theory a while ago and I have been dying to share them with you. While they may put some of you to sleep, bear with me, I'm not sharing them so that you can become a physics master. Promise.
The first video String Theory Explained is from a great YouTube Channel called 'Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell'. The video does a great job of contextualizing String Theory as well as being beautifully animated and very approachable.
The second video Making Sense of String Theory is a Ted Talk from 2005 by Brian Greene which delivers to the promise offered by the title. Greene is one of those master scientists who makes the complex sound intriguing, exciting and comprehensible. I particularly appreciated the 'cable on street lamp' explanation of Oskar Klein's theory of dimension around minute 6.43.
The two videos layer nicely on each other to create an elementary understanding of a very complex topic but what I love most about String Theory is that it appreciates the unknown. Here we have incredibly brilliant scientists essentially saying that they do not know all the answers. In the second video Greene begins by talking about a 1919 mathematician's theorizing that "we still don't know if it's right or wrong", noting continued efforts to prove the theorem. String Theory cannot necessarily be proven but they are sure it works, it’s basically squiggly science.
The String Theory Explained video talks about how science evolves with stories that we keep or "chuck out" as we progress/evolve/develop. This allows the process to unveil the outcome, as we calibrate along based on what we have learnt and are guided to a destination that might be bigger than we could imagine. Guided by what we don’t know, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle also references which basically acknowledges that the unknowns are part of the calculation.
I know, it gets a little mind-bending but in my world it has always been critical to create space for the unknown - and possibly unknowable. In my wildest dreams I wouldn't have the patience of these mathematicians and physicists (or the brain capacity) but I do have some pretty wild dreams.
That is where our squiggle can take us further than we might have ever imagined, quite possibly to realms as yet unknown.
Not only do we need to dare to dream but it can be even more daring to allow the unknown to shape our dreams. Which, while inherently this threatens to destabilize us, is incredibly permissive. It allows us to step forward without needing to know all the answers and it allows us to just start, without knowing where we want to finish.