When I took the single quantum mechanics class offered at my liberal arts college designed specifically for students with no science background, my intent was to hopefully dispell some of the mysticism surrounding my knowledge of science after years of watching Star Trek and Doctor Who on repeat. In fact, after three months of studying quarks, particle spin, the very nature of gravity, I was even more mystified than ever. Confused, sure, but also so much in awe of the physical properties of the universe that I was sure something so complex and beautiful could only exist in fantasy.
On Feb 28, however, physicist Sylvester James Gates Jr., John S. Toll Professor of Physics, and Center for String & Particle Theory Director, who earlier this month was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Obama, sat down with NPR’s Tell Me More to set the record straight about String Theory. Though tempted as we might be so to characterize this theory as sci-fi, Gates Jr. insists that this couldn’t be farther from the truth.