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The Adventure of Physics - Vol. VI: The Strand Model - A Speculation on Unification

Author: Christoph Schiller
Subject: Physics
Source: Open Textbook Library
Publisher: Motion Mountain
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This book is written for anybody who is intensely curious about nature and motion. Have you ever asked: Why do people/ animals/ things/ images and empty space move? The answer leads to many adventures/ and this book presents one of the best of them: the search for a precise/ unified and final description of all motion. The wish to describe all motion is a large endeavour. Fortunately/ this large endeavour can be structured in the simple diagram shown in Figure 1. The final and unified descrip- tion of motion/ the topic of this book/ corresponds to the highest point in the diagram. Searching for this final and unified description is an old quest. In the following/ I briefly summarize its history and then present an intriguing/ though speculative solution to the riddle. The search for the final/ unified description of motion is a story of many surprises. For example/ twentieth-century research has shown that there is a smallest distance in nature. Research has also shown that matter cannot be distinguished from empty space at those small distances. A last surprise dates from this century: particles and space are best described as made of strands/ instead of little spheres or points. The present text explains how to reach these unexpected conclusions. In particular/ quantum field theory/ the standard model of particle physics/ general relativity and cosmology are shown to follow from strands. The three gauge interactions/ the three particle generations and the three dimensions of space turn out to be due to strands. In fact/ all the open questions of twentieth-century physics about the foundations of motion/ all the millennium issues/ can be solved with the help of strands. The strand model/ as presented in this text/ is an unexpected result from a threefold aim that I have pursued since 1990/ in the five previous volumes of this series: to present the basics of motion in a way that is up to date/ captivating and simple. In retrospect/ the aim for maximum simplicity has been central in deducing this speculation. While the previous volumes introduced/ in an entertaining way/ the established parts of physics/ this volume presents/ in the same entertaining and playful way/ a speculation about uni- fication. Nothing in this volume is established knowledge – yet. The text is the original presentation of the topic. The search for a final theory is one of the great adventures of life: it leads to the limits of thought. The search overthrows our thinking habits about nature. A change in think- ing habits can produce fear/ often hidden by anger. But by overcoming our fears we gain strength and serenity. Changing thinking habits thus requires courage/ but it also pro- duces intense and beautiful emotions. Enjoy them!

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