In the twentieth century, two fundamental theories vastly expanded our understanding of matter and energy. Einstein's general theory of relativity explained and integrated concepts underpinning gravity, space, and time. Quantum mechanics focused on the nature and behaviour of matter and energy in terms of probability – with a mathematical function yielding the likely position, momentum, and other physical properties of a particle or photon.

Both theories illuminated murky and mysterious domains. There are, however, incompatibilities – and hence an ongoing search for a unified theory that accounts for all forces in nature under a single mathematical framework. String theory is perhaps the best known attempt at this “theory of everything”. The essential idea of string theory is that all elementary particles can also be modeled as one-dimensional strings, which may or may not be looped.

Dr David Krofchek is conducting experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva to test competing predictions from each theory.