Adventures in Superstrings

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Physics emerged from the twentieth century with two remarkably successful descriptions of nature which stand in striking contrast. Quantum mechanics describes the subatomic realm with intrinsic uncertainties and probabilities. On the other hand, Einstein's general relativity describe gravitational phenomena in an exacting geometric arena. Theoretical physicists have struggled for over fifty years trying to combine these views in a single unified framework. More recently, superstring theory has drawn a huge amount of interest as a leading contender to provide such a unification. Superstring theory is a theory of strings, branes, extra spacetime dimensions and much more. In my lecture, I will try to give a flavour for what superstring theory is all about and why physicists, like myself, continue to be so excited about this, perhaps the final theory.