""First you must know that the whole of the physical world floats in each of the senses at the same time. Each of them reveals to us a different aspect of the kingdom of change. But none of them reveals the unnameable stillness that unites them. At the heart of change it lies unseeing, unhearing, unfeeling, unchanging, holding within itself the beginning and the end. It is ours. It is our only possession."
In this week’s show physicist Brian Greene asks us to let go of our attachment to our perceptions and reimagine the world through the lens of mathematics. It’s hard to imagine, let alone accept. But this quote from the poet W.S. Merwin reminds me that there is a hiddenness and a mysticism in the unknowing, a resting place in the unnameable stillness.
Perhaps a poet and a physicist are not so different.
Superstring Theory as a Unifier for the Laws of Physics
by Susan Leem, associate producer
Albert Einstein spent the latter part of his life pursuing a "single, all encompassing theory of the universe" to describe all of nature’s forces. Brian Greene, who is probably best-known for his NOVA specials, is on this path this path of discovery. He says that achieving this may require a whole new way of looking at the world around us.
A professor of mathematics and physics at Columbia University, Greene explains string theory, the concept that minuscule filaments of energy vibrating in 11 dimensions, tucked into the fabric of space, “create every particle and force in the universe.” String theory fills in the gaps of Newtonian physics, especially in regards to how gravity works.
Einstein’s Unification Theory depends on the existence of extra dimensions, which contain these filaments. Don’t miss this peek into the “ultramicroscopic landscape” of our reality — and our upcoming show with string theorist S. James Gates!