Black Holes, String Theory and the Fundamental Laws of Nature

October 11, 2014Byens Lys Copenhagen
String Black Holes
Doors open: 19:00
Start programme: 20:00
Byens Lys
Fabriksområdet 99

What are black holes? What are they made of? What is string theory? Is everything we see just vibrations of strings? How are string theory and black holes related? What are the fundamental laws of Nature?

For decades, since the discovery of quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of relativity, scientists have been trying to combine the two perspectives of the world into one single unified theory. One of the results was string theory: where the strangeness of quantum reality and the weirdness of relativity theory come together and create something even more puzzling - a world with extra dimensions.

String theory says that there is only one fundamental object in the universe: the string. Much like the strings in a guitar give rise to different sounds when you pluck them, the strings of string theory give rise to the different constituents of the observed reality when you make them vibrate at different energies. Is everything in the world made of strings? If so, what is a black hole?

But string theory is as shocking for Nature as it is for human existence. According to string theory, there may be an infinite number of other universes and we are living in one of them. Human beings are living things inhabiting a planet in one of the billions of solar systems in our galaxy, which in turn is part of one of the billions of galaxies in our universe, which in turn is part of one of the billions of possible universes. That makes one wonder about the purpose of existence of such an isolated form of life.

Black holes are perhaps one of the most important objects in the universe. At the core of every galaxy there is one and in the same way that the sun keeps the planets orbiting around it, the black hole keeps all the solar systems orbiting around it. Black holes are the responsible for the stability of our galaxies. While they may be needed for the existence of live, their behaviour is beyond weird. Everything that falls in it never returns, not even light. So where does it go? To another universe?

String theory is perhaps the most beautiful theory so far conceived and it can’t be better than having Andrew Strominger from University of Harvard, awardee of this years’s Dirac medal and one of the main contributors to the development of string theory to answer these questions.

Later on, as usual, stringy chilled cocktails and up beat music by the Magnetic Eagle, playing more upbeat and wacky songs.

Photo: James Clar, Turbulence

Talk by

Andrew Strominger

Andrew Strominger is an American theoretical physicist whose research focuses on string theory and black holes. He is currently Professor at Harvard University and Director of the Centre for the Fundamental Laws of Nature as well as senior fellow at the Society of Fellows. He has been awarded with the Dirac Medal 2014.


Music by

The Magnetic Eagle

The Magnetic Eagle is composed of Michael Rexen, Martin Ullits Dahl, Adi Zukanovic and Matias Wolf. Their music is organic, humanlike, teamwork based, with a huge output. Improvised songs that sometimes sounds like rock/pop/funk/dance/death industrial/disco/indie/experimental.

Magnetic Eagle