Fields are common in physics today, e.g. the earth holds the moon in orbit by a gravitational field that exerts a force on matter particles at every point in space, an electric field exerts a force on charged particles at every point in space, and so on for other fields, where according to Feynman:

“A real field is a mathematical function we use for avoiding the idea of action at a distance.” (Feyma,Leighton, & Sands, 1977) Vol. II, p15-7

Emboldened by the success of Faraday’s electromagnetic field, physics explained the forces it found by inventing fields that added what mathematics calls degrees of freedom to space. For example, the force of gravity acting at every point in space added one degree of freedom, the electromagnetic field caused electrical and magnetic forces at every point so it added two degrees of freedom, and so on.

It was then realized that adding a degree of freedom to each point of space in effect adds a dimension to it, so adding many fields is like adding many dimensions to space. Current physics has fields that explain gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak forces, where gravity adds one-dimension, electromagnetism adds two, the strong force adds three and the weak force two. These eight extra dimensions plus the three of space are why string theory needs eleven dimensions to work.

But when one adds dimensions to space the mathematics soon gets out of control because they interact. String theory’s attempt to explain physics mathematically using many fields gave so many possible architectures, over 10500 at least, that the result didn’t predict anything, hence many scientists today don’t consider it a useful approach. In effect, many fields or many dimensions give so many options that the result is meaningless.

That a universe of eleven dimensions somehow collapsed into ours is a far-fetched idea, akin to the multiverse story. The standard model tactic of inventing new fields to explain new forces is failing because it predicts nothing.