string theory

Edward Witten, an American mathematical and theoretical physicist, is a Professor Emeritus in the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He’s a leading researcher in string theory, quantum gravity, supersymmetric quantum field theories, and other areas of mathematical physics. Witten said, “String theory is 21st century physics that fell accidentally into the 20th century …Spreading out the particle into a string is a step in the direction of making everything we’re familiar with fuzzy. You enter a completely new world where things aren’t at all what you’re used to… Having those extra dimensions and therefore many ways the string can vibrate in many different directions turns out to be the key to being able to describe all the particles that we see.”

In the recent Real Strange post, I summarized a few of the strangest aspects of quantum physics. String theory is a new branch of this evolving field combining quantum mechanics and general relativity. The hope is that string theory can provide a “theory of everything” that describes all known natural forces such as gravitational, electromagnetic, and the various forms of matter in a mathematically complete system. The major problem is that, so far, the emerging theories can’t be tested.

Here’s how Dennis Gaumond describes this new science in his book, Why is Life?: “String theory contends that the basic building blocks of the universe are…tiny loops of thread-like filaments, called strings, which are vibrating or oscillating. These loops are truly fundamental to all matter and forces and are ‘uncuttable’ or irreducible. Each loop oscillates in a specific way with a specific amount of energy…strings exist at a micro-level so small that it is beyond modern technology. A string is said to be approximately the size of one ‘planck length’, 10^33 cm, or one millionth of a billion of a billionth of a billionth of a centimeter. If a single atom were magnified to the size of the entire universe, one planck length would be about the size of an average tree.”

String theory is one of the concepts being explored here in Waterloo Region, Ontario. The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics was founded in Waterloo in 1999 by Mike Lazaridis, founder of Research in Motion (RIM), maker of the BlackBerry. The Perimeter Institute (PI) has some of the world’s top researchers in the field. PI hosts international researchers each year for collaborations and workshops. The late Stephen Hawking held a Distinguished Research Chair.

When I visited PI in its early days, I gazed at the walls of blackboards covered with scrawled equations and tried to understand a sliver of the work these world-class “brainiacs” are doing. That foray and my ongoing reading about the bizarre field of quantum physics confirm what I knew in high school: I am no mathematician!

But the potential impacts of all the work currently underway to understand and explain “reality” are endlessly fascinating and incredibly exciting. Physicist Michio Kaku provides a glimpse of how this new theory changes our views of our world: “When those little strings vibrate, they create notes, and we believe those notes are in fact the subatomic particles that we see around us. The melodies that these notes can play out are called ‘matter’ and when those melodies create symphonies, that’s called the ‘universe.’”

We are bundles of energy living in a universe vibrating with energy. Our consciousness can alter that energy. By doing so, we alter “reality.” The implications are mind boggling.

Catching Our Vibes?

19th Century German composer, conductor, theatre director, and essayist, Richard Wagner, said, “I am convinced that there are universal currents of Divine Thought vibrating the ether everywhere and that any who can feel these vibrations is inspired.”

In last week’s post on What’s “Real” and What’s Virtual, I discussed and quoted from the mind bending movie, What the Bleep Do We Know? Quantum physics and the energy fields surrounding, and creating, us is a key thread (string?) of the movie.

What the Bleep Do We Know? features the controversial work of Japanese researcher, Masaru Emoto.  In 1994, after months of experimenting, Emoto developed a technique to take photos of ice crystals. He then began an extensive series of experiments photographing ice crystals from thousands of water samples from a wide variety of sources and conditioning. Some water sample bottles had negative words like hate, kill, or ugly printed on them in a variety of languages. The resulting photos showed crystals that were deformed and ugly. Other bottles had words like joy, beauty, and thank you printed on the sample bottles. The crystals they contained were stunning and often perfectly symmetrical.

Emoto founded the Hado institute in Tokyo. He defines Hado (rhymes with shadow) as “the intrinsic vibrational pattern at the atomic (quantum) level in all matter. The smallest unit of energy. Its basis is the energy of human consciousness.”  Emoto’s research has led him to conclude that “water faithfully mirrors all the vibrations created in the world and changes these vibrations into a form that can be seen with the human eye.”

Building on work he started at Princeton University, Dean Radin, now Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Science (IONS) has studied the impact of a wide variety of intentions (such as prayers or blessings) or thought vibrations on plants, people, water, and other phenomena. He reports on one double-blind, peer reviewed paper published in Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, “it showed a statistically significant difference between water that was ‘exposed’ to intention vs. identical water set aside as a control. The magnitude of the observed effect was smaller than is implied in Emoto’s books, but the direction of the effect was consistent with his claim.”

Since our human body is about 70% water, do we also mirror and manifest the vibrations we surround ourselves with? If so, what kind of reality is that creating in our lives?