General relativity and quantum theory are the big ideas that explain the universe. But why nature obeys two different sets of laws is the conundrum that needs a single unifying theory to resolve. String theory could be the answer. It may seem somewhat remote, but the underlying ideas are exciting.
Science plays a big part in popular literature such as Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, so we can all benefit from learning to read a little of the landscape of this crazy, new higher dimensional world. At least when we hear about a photon torpedo on Star Trek we can be in on the joke that it's just a torch (page 8).