Word of the Week: String Theory
Definition: The leading theory of everything, which describes the earliest moments of the universe in which the four fundamental forces of nature (gravity, electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear) were one force. The most fundamental element of reality are cosmic strings, and their vibration determines what particles or forms it takes.
More about the term: The spontaneous breakdown of symmetries in the early universe can produce linear discontinuities in fields, known as cosmic strings. Cosmic strings are also common in modern string theories in which the most fundamental reality are astronomically tiny vibrating strings (either closed or open depending on the interpretation of the mathematics). The combination of the string/scalar landscape with eternal inflation has in turn led to a markedly increased interest in anthropic reasoning. In this multiverse scenario life will evolve only in very rare regions where the local laws of physics just happen to have the properties needed for life, giving a simple explanation for why the observed universe appears to permit the evolutionary conditions for life. It is argued that such anthropic reasoning can give the illusion of intelligent design without the need for any intelligent intervention. There are at least four ways we can understand the different universes described by string landscape.