25 Years of the End of Science (or at least the end of physics?)

  • Thread starter BWV
  • Start date
  • #26
BMV guy seems to know what he's talking about and makes some good points. Though I don't know much about science. Thanks for the read!
 
  • #27
atyy
Science Advisor
14,074
2,372
There are comments by Feynman that are somewhat similar to the OP's thoughts.

https://jamesclear.com/great-speeches/seeking-new-laws-by-richard-feynman
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/project/tuva-richard-feynman/#!7-new-laws
"Or it might happen that the experiments get harder and harder to make, more and more expensive, that you get 99.9% of the phenomena. But there’s always some phenomenon which has just been discovered that’s very hard to measure, which disagrees and gets harder and harder to measure. As you discover the explanation of that one, there’s always another one. And it gets slower and slower and more and more uninteresting. That’s another way that it could end.

But I think it has to end in one way or another. And I think that we are very lucky to live in the age in which we’re still making the discoveries. It’s an age which will never come again. It’s like the discoveries of America. You only discover it once. It was an exciting day, when there was investigations of America.

But the age that we live in is the age in which we are discovering the fundamental laws of nature. And that day will never come again. I don’t mean we’re finished. I mean, we’re right in the process of making such discoveries. It’s very exciting and marvelous, but this excitement will have to go."

https://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/II_41.html
"The next great era of awakening of human intellect may well produce a method of understanding the qualitative content of equations. Today we cannot. Today we cannot see that the water flow equations contain such things as the barber pole structure of turbulence that one sees between rotating cylinders. Today we cannot see whether Schrödinger’s equation contains frogs, musical composers, or morality—or whether it does not. We cannot say whether something beyond it like God is needed, or not. And so we can all hold strong opinions either way."
 
  • Like
Likes BWV and wukunlin
  • #28
429
259
His premise, as far as I read it, is that we are unlikely to see more great fundamental discoveries like General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics or Evolution. and likely already know nearly everything it is possible to know, at least within our lifetimes.
It sounds like pretty much the opposite of what I think. I mean, how could what is essentially the beginning of an era of quantum computing, big data, AI, DNA decoding, space travel, space colonization and space industrialization, etc, be at the end of science? And in terms of observation, the scientific instruments we have now are peanuts compared to what we will have later on. I think something like a "technological singularity" is likely though.
 
Last edited:
  • #29
BWV
708
651
It sounds like pretty much the opposite of what I think. I mean, how could what is essentially the beginning of an era of quantum computing, big data, AI, DNA decoding, space travel, space colonization and space industrialization, etc, be at the end of science? And in terms of observation, the scientific instruments we have now are peanuts compared to what we will have later on. I think something like a "technological singularity" is likely though.
.
But what fundamental new science is required for all of that? Isn’t that just more technological applications of established science? Maybe we will make some fundamental discovery around consciousness and cognition awaits that would enable strong AI, but everything else there is based on existing science
 
  • #30
429
259
.
But what fundamental new science is required for all of that? Isn’t that just more technological applications of established science? Maybe we will make some fundamental discovery around consciousness and cognition awaits that would enable strong AI, but everything else there is based on existing science
I think that those are all extreme scientific tools that will unlock an entirely new level of science. Quantum computers for example unlock the ability to do quantum gravity simulations. Massive observational tools unlock abilities to test theories like never before. AI offers abilities to work on previously intractable mathematics problems, to explore the galaxy, and to build extreme scientific tools (e.g. massive computers, massive telescopes, massive accelerators, etc).

I'm not sure what exactly we can call fundamental science anyways so that the examples given (e.g. general relativity, QM) count. Those theories are good models, but we still haven't figured out quantum gravity, dark matter, particle physics, etc. We just made our first room temperature semiconductor (at high pressure), but we have no sufficient theoretical tools that allow us to just know how to make them. We have decoded human DNA, but need to do supercomputer simulations to see how a protein will fold. We now know that the human brain measures and processes magnetic fields (like Turtles etc do), but we have little idea how and what for. The other sciences on top of Physics are even more challenging due to the complexity. We aren't even done studying the logistic map.

We are basically at the start of where we can really begin to get into fundamental discovery. What we don't know is way more than we know, and basically endless. Even some seemingly simple problems likely cannot be solved before the universe ends. There will never be enough Matrioshka brains, never enough observational data, never enough time to crack the hardest problems.

Anyways, that's my opinion. I don't think GR and QM will even look like fundamental science at some point.
 
Last edited:

Related Threads on 25 Years of the End of Science (or at least the end of physics?)

  • Last Post
Replies
21
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
Replies
39
Views
8K
  • Last Post
Replies
15
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
15
Views
3K
Replies
8
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
11
Views
3K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
70
Views
7K
Replies
2
Views
4K
Top