Strange theories abound in modern physics, e.g. in many-worlds theory each quantum event divides all reality, so everything that can happen does happen in an inconceivable multiverse of parallel worlds (Everett, 1957). In the inflationary model, the physical universe is just one of many bubble universes (Guth, 1998) and according to string theory reality has six extra dimensions curled up, hidden from view. In M-theory, our universe floats on a fifth dimensional “brane” we can’t see (Gribbin, 2000) p177-180 and in ekpyrotic theory our universe is one of two universes that collide and retreat in an eternal cycle (Khoury, 2001). The days when physics just described the physical world we see are long gone.
These theories seek to make sense of the equally strange findings of physics: that the sun bends light by curving the space around it, that the earth’s gravity slows down time and that clocks tick faster on tall buildings than on the ground. Movement also dilates time, so an atomic clock on a plane ticks slower than a synchronized one on the ground (Hafele & Keating, 1972) and is heavier as well. In our world, reality basics like space, time and mass vary with speed, while the speed of light is strangely constant.
If relativity is strange then quantum theory is just as strange: in Young’s experiment one electron goes through two slits at once to interfere with itself; entangled photons ignore speed of light limits; the vacuum of space exerts pressure; and gamma radiation is entirely random, i.e. physically uncaused. Einstein, who was as open to new ideas as anyone, thought quantum theory made no sense, and it doesn’t. Physics has polled our reality and the results are in:
“… the weirdness of the quantum world is real, whether we like it or not.”
(Tegmark & Wheeler, 2001) p4.
In conclusion, physics theory is strange because our world is strange.