MemberSeptember 5, 2020 at 12:41 am
Sorry, forgot to answer your question. String theory and linguistics are underlying themes, but both are only occasionally mentioned directly. Barbara’s a smart girl and reads everything. During the story she speaks to both, through her eyes.
For linguistics, many of the characters she meets do not speak English and so she must figure out how to communicate with them. Clues from her mother (who is, or was, a professor of linguistics) are left in symbols she has to figure out.
For string theory, there is the idea of the string as the fundamental particle (universal building block), and the concept of dimensional travel and hidden dimensions is loosely based on string theory.
But, I just went back and read the blurb for His Dark Materials. The concept of dark matter isn’t mentioned, nor are any of the other scientific or pseudo-scientific ideas that come out in the book. I think I’ll stay away from them in the blurb.