- Chapter Three ... in which the wonderful world of physics grows 'curiouser and curiouser' (to borrow Alice's charming phrase). When we ended the previous chapter we knew that the tiny particles that constitute matter and energy behave in very odd ways, but at least we knew what they were. But as the twentieth century unfolded, this simplicity was wrecked by the discovery of a veritable zoo of previously unknown particles. The horrible truth began to dawn. Physicists no longer knew what things were really made of.
- Into this chaotic scene rode a white knight — string theory — which claims to explain everything we previously didn't understand. But just like quantum mechanics1, string theory comes at a huge cost in comprehensibility, requiring space to have ten or more dimensions for starters.
- Nevertheless, this could be the 'theory of everything' that everyone is looking for — or not, as the case may be. Some think the white knight is just an empty suit of armour, an impostor that can, in fact, explain nothing.
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