The idea of string theory has been around for decades and was first proposed by Werner Heisenberg in 1943. Since then, the theory has gone through a number of incarnations: S-Matrix (1940s – 1950s), Regge Theory, Bootstrap Models and the Dual Resonance Model (1960s), Superstring Theory (1970s – 1980s), the 2nd Superstring Revolution (1990s), and the String Theory Landscape (2000 – present). In a nutshell, current string theory is intended to help address the problem of why black holes cannot be explained by any current theories of the universe.
Current major theories of the universe, general relativity, which governs big stable objects (Einstein), and quantum physics, focusing on the smallest unpredictable particles, are irreconcilable.
Unifying Theory Posits One Fundamental Material
String theory postulates that particles come from one common source or material: one-dimensional strings, which vibrate at different frequencies. A string’s vibrating frequency allows it to take the form of all of the known fundamental particles of the universe such as protons, neutrons, electrons and their derivative particles: quarks, neutrinos, and more than a dozen other fundamental particles.
The theory also resolves the conflict between relativity and quantum physics, allowing for the precise mathematical calculation of the movements and behavior of both large bodies, like planets and black holes, and small bodies, such as fundamental particles.
The following is a 4-minute video by Michio Kaku explaining string theory in more detail: