Thirty-five years ago string theory took physics by storm, promising the coveted unified theory of nature’s forces that Einstein valiantly sought but never found. In the intervening decades, string theory has brought a collection of mind-boggling possibilities into the lexicon of mainstream thinking—extra dimensions of space, holographic worlds, and multiple universes.
Some researchers view these developments as symptoms of string theory having lost its way. Others argue that string theory, although very much still a work in progress, is revealing stunning new qualities of reality. Brain Greene guides a panel of theoretical physics on a whirlwind ride through the twists and turns of string theory—its past, its future, and what it tells us about the search for the universe’s final theory.
Participants include Orbiter blogger Marcelo Gleiser as well as Michael Dine and Andrew Strominger.