Energy makes up the entire universe and energy is what sets the rules to the universe. When we talk about anything at all, we are essentially just talking about energy. If you’re talking about your day, you are talking about energy sent to parts of your brain to make your decisions and energy sent to your body to carry out those decisions; not to mention the energy that makes up every atom in your entire world.

Albert Einstein proved that energy truly is everything. You are probably already aware of the famous equation, E=mc2, now you get to learn what it means! The variable c represents the speed of light, the maximum speed of anything in our universe. Squaring a speed represents the acceleration of an area. This accelerating area isn’t expanding outward, it’s condensing inward. All matter is made up of condensed energy that we call strings.

Reverse explosion demonstrates principle of energy condensation
Reverse explosion demonstrates principle of energy condensation

A string is represented as a loop of condensed energy resonating at a specific frequency. You can think of this resonance like a musical note. An out of tune instrument will produce unpleasant sounds because the notes resonate at the wrong intervals. Unpleasant sounds are usually caused by an irregular frequency. The pleasing sounds only resonate at specific frequencies that we call harmonic

Energy only condenses at harmonic frequencies and it is always trying to lower the energy of its harmonic. I realize that sounds very confusing, energy trying to reduce itself, but this is just a flaw of our language. We didn’t understand this stuff when we first learned about and named energy so we didn’t make enough terms to differentiate. Any process that reduces energy to a more harmonic form is spontaneous, meaning it will happen on its own.

Matter, which is just condensed energy, has specific irregularities in each string’s frequency. Depending on the irregularity, a string is said to possess certain attributes such as mass, charge, color, spin, etc. Each irregularity can come in multiple forms which interfere with each other. For example, charge can be either positive or negative: each has the opposite charge frequency. Two oppositely charged strings destructively interfere with each other lowering the overall energy of the pair of particles.

Frequencies of different attributes combine to make irregular strings
Frequencies of different attributes combine to make irregular strings

The resonance waves of strings, like all other types of waves, can interfere with each other. Energy is lowered when the interference is destructive and increased, up to doubled, if the interference is constructive. Lower energy is more favorable so the destructive interference patterns are favored and will therefore occur in nature. We see this as an attractive force. If particles interfere constructively, we will see their interaction as a repulsive force. This is the reason we say opposites attract and likes repel.

You’re learning String Theory right now, and it’s okay if you are a little confused. Seeing the universe at this small a scale is totally foreign to our normal perspective. Hopefully the basic premise makes sense to you: all attributes of matter can be represented as wave frequencies and can interfere with each other.

Everything is made of energy and everything must obey the laws set at the beginning of the universe by energy. The First Law says energy can be transferred between different forms but cannot be created nor destroyed. When you pick up a pen and hold it above a table, the chemical energy turns into mechanical energy in your muscles which transfers into the potential, or stored, energy held within the raised pen.

If you drop the pen, all the potential energy that you gave to it is converted to kinetic, or moving, energy as gravity pulls it toward the planet. It will land on the table and some of the kinetic energy will transfer to sound or cause the pen to bounce. The potential energy still isn’t zero. If the table were to suddenly cave in, the pen would fall. That means the pen still has potential energy while it rests on the table that can be converted to kinetic energy when the table collapses. If the floor caved in, the pen would fall again, meaning it still has potential energy.

The Second and Third Laws of energy deal with a value that we have made up and found a way to calculate. We made a variable to describe the randomness of the universe and we call it entropy. The Second Law of energy says that everything tends toward more randomness. It also means each conversion of energy loses some energy to another form. In our earlier example, your muscles were unable to use all of your chemical energy because some of it was converted to heat in your body. The pen lost some of it’s kinetic energy to sound energy when it hit the table.

The Third Law says that there is no entropy when there is no movement. This should make sense: stationary particles stay still, removing randomness. We have discovered that all matter stops moving at 0 K (–273.15°C or –459.67°F) also called absolute zero.

Humans harness energy from the natural world and through a series of conversions, store the energy as electricity. With each conversion, some of the energy is lost which lowers the efficiency. All electricity, with the exception of solar, is gathered by converting the kinetic energy of a moving turbine into electrical energy. The most common way humans spin turbines for electricity is by evaporating water by burning hydrocarbons, often called fossil fuels. This method requires two steps more than gathering energy from wind, hydroelectric, or the tides. Renewable energies use natural forces to directly spin the turbine. Less conversions means more efficiency and therefore greater output, which helps lower costs. When it comes to renewable energy, everybody wins!

Energy is the foundation of our entire universe, and our ability to harness it separates us from any other species that’s ever lived on Earth. Scientists and philosophers claim our measure of progress as a civilization depends on our ability to harness energy. Generating, storing, and transferring energy catapulted our technology forward. A basic control of energy in the form of fire gave our ancestors a greater advantage to survive in nature. In fact, it can be argued that life itself is little more than a series of reactions to store and transfer energy. The story of the universe is the story of energy.