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Why was string theory discovered in the 21st Century?

I understand that string theory was discovered serendipitously in the 1970s and was described as a theory of the 21st Century. Why the 21st Century? Was the mathematics of the time inadequate to aid understanding?
Richard Mcgregor from Northamptonshire (Age 35-44)

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One Response

  1. String theory was originally developed as a theory of protons and neutrons , but later developed into a potential “Theory of Everything”. String theory has pushed the boundaries of both physics and mathematics over the past 30 years, leading to as many advances in mathematics as in physics. These discoveries came about because, in a sense the mathematics of the time was inadequate to deal with problems and new tools needed to be invented. If you haven’t come across it, a very good popular science book on this subject is “The Elegant Universe” by Brian Greene. I believe there is also a TV programme of the same name available online. Hope this was helpful.

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