This website is an introduction to string theory for the interested layperson. It aims to illustrate where string theory came from, why people research it and what they hope to find out. We don’t assume any prior knowledge of higher physics or mathematics. Nevertheless there is sufficient depth of material to gain a true insight into current developments.
There’s no single correct way to use the site, but here are a few pointers. If you’re completely new to physics it’s probably best to start with the motivation section. Those with a vague knowledge of 20th century physics could leap straight into the toolbox where we meet strings.
Once you’re comfortable with the central concepts you can get a glimpse of how string theory is done. Alternatively you might want to uncover the future prospects for strings. There’s also an historical perspective and recent media coverage. If you’re keen for more just browse our collection of helpful links.
You’ll notice that much of this website is organised around questions. We hope you’ll think of some of your own. Challenging yourself with a question is a surefire way to deepen your understanding. Many frequent queries are answered in the FAQs. If these don’t adequately address your issue then you can ask a string theorist.
This website was designed and built by Edward Hughes and Charlotte Mason in Summer 2012 at the University of Oxford. The project was funded by the Royal Society via Dr Joseph Conlon’s University Research Fellowship, which contains funding to support undergraduate summer projects. Dr. Joseph Conlon, Charlotte Mason and Edward Hughes wrote the articles.
Joseph Conlon is a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, and a tutorial Fellow in Physics at New College, Oxford. He works on string theory and in particular string phenomenology, the branch of string theory aiming at connecting to the Standard Model and its various extensions.
Charlotte Mason is an student currently reading Physics at Merton College, University of Oxford. She hopes to start a PhD in cosmology in 2013 and is particularly interested in gravitation and the large-scale structure of the universe. She also has an interest in graphic design and illustration, as well as science communication, and still really wants to be an astronaut.
Edward Hughes is a student at the University of Cambridge, currently reading Part III Mathematics. He hopes to undertake a PhD in string theory starting Autumn 2013. His mathematical interests include differential geometry, algebraic geometry and algebraic topology. In his spare time Edward conducts the University of Cambridge Philharmonic Orchestra, sings in St. Catharine’s College Choir and enjoys long walks through the Dorset countryside.