Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Don't know enough about string theory

Today I learned that I lack the background physics knowledge to actually learn about String Theory. I hate not knowing enough to learn. Do I hate enough to make an emoticon face? Yes.


Boingboing featured this video about visualizing ten dimensions, which I found really cool but, upon second watching, maybe not thoroughly-argued - particularly the transitions around 6-7-8 dimensions leave something to be desired. I checked out the comments on boingboing and found that lots of people thought the video was total crap. So I decided to see what Wikipedia has to say about it (hello again, my first-but-never-last-stop research friend!)

Three paragraphs in, it became obvious I need to know what the holographic principle is. The first sentence of that article rather heavily implies that I need to know what the black hole information paradox is. Now the key concept here appears to be Hawking radiation, which I actually am vaguely familiar with, in a liberal-arts major sort of way, so that's a place to start. Hawking radiation is the idea that when pairs of particles randomly come in to existence (?) they might be right on the edge of the event horizon of a black hole, so that one particle might go in and the other out, thus appearing to "emanate" from the black hole.

Okay, so I can start in on that information paradox. But, passing a couple of named theorems that probably would help me understand the issue, the very next major point is something to do with entangled states... one of the ideas repeatedly ridiculed by those boingboing commentors as new age bullshit (although it was not actually mentioned in the original video!). Great.

Someday when I have a couple of hours to put into it, I'm going to watch this other video about dimensions that was recommended by boingboingers who thought the first one was crap, and then read that entire friggin' Wikipedia article, and every subsidiary article I need to figure out the gist. I may need more math; I've been considering doing some self-study trig to work myself up to calculus. I'm sure there's a pop-science book out there that could help me out too... but we'll see how long I care.

But I guess I need to actually do some work at work for now. Picture me sighing.

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