
#1
Nov2713, 04:26 PM

P: 286

It seems the most advanced physics engineers are using is basic quantum mechanics. Is it accurate to say this is the "final frontier" of engineering? The field of particle physics, for example, has been established for nearly 50 years now and there are still no practical uses of the incredible knowledge gained even though the amount of spinoff technologies in experimenting with these particles is countless. General relativity has been around for almost a century, and it has yet to produce any practical applications that directly require knowledge of GR and not corrections that could be approximated anyways.
Of course, that's not the reason why physicists study these theories, but from the point of view of an engineer, is it safe to say these theories as well as any framework that goes beyond them will always be practically "useless" due to the fact that the energy levels and cosmological scales required to access for the phenomena of these theories to manifest will always be out of the practical reach of engineers? 



#2
Nov2813, 01:43 AM

P: 418

This question is not really possible to answer, but I would be quite confident in saying that yes, some day engineers will need, for some applications, more advanced physics. Even today engineers who specialize in certain kinds of materials need some understanding of relativistic quantum mechanics to deal with things such as spinorbit coupling (which, in practice is usually treated a perturbation).
There's lot of advanced stuff going on with optics that certainly seems like you'd need some QED to really understand. Nuclear engineers may one day see real application for QCD. Also, GPS satellites would not work without GR  as far as I know there's no way to get gravitational time dilation out of Newtonian gravity. 



#3
Nov2813, 10:16 PM

P: 3,173

Yes, someone's got to build wormholes someday, and it ain't gonna be a theoretician.




#4
Nov2913, 02:49 PM

P: 286

Is it likely engineers will ever need to go beyond basic QM? 



#5
Nov2913, 04:10 PM

Engineering
Sci Advisor
HW Helper
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P: 6,348

But if you are designing a new chip for a mobile phone or computer graphics card, or the next generation of CPU for intel or ARM, that's a different ball game. 



#6
Dec113, 02:48 PM

P: 43

The only thing that I know of that directly uses GR in everyday life is GPS...



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