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Do you expect that there will ever be another massive revolution in physics?

  1. Oct 2, 2011 #1
    We've had some major theoretical developments in physics in the past - Newton, Einstein etc. immediately spring to mind - but it seems to me that we haven't really had a new way of thinking or a new branch of physics being born in a long time.

    Do you think there will ever be another person who comes along with some incredible insight and just blows everyone's minds again?
    Or, do you think that new developments will just involve very high-end/technical stuff or tweaking fine details, rather than something as fundamental as QM or relativity were?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 2, 2011 #2
    In my opinion we have mastered classical physics and are now just beginning to learn the basics of quantum mechanics and relativity and their applications, I think we will continue to progress in learning the mechanisms of QM and relativity, for example just last week they sent a neutrino at a speed faster than light, so my guess is that physics will help branch out a new branch of applications in space travel for example helping us advance in space exploration more than we already are advanced. It would be interesting to learn about 0 gravity chemistry in space as well as the biology of certain bacteria and primitive organisms on different planets if their are any. I think that physics has a future in space in the future, thats my opinion whats yours? please respond back
  4. Oct 2, 2011 #3
    hmmm yeah the faster than light neutrino... I'm skeptical about that although I must admit I've been too busy with other things to look into the claims. I bet it turns out to be some experimental error, or why would it have taken until now to be observed?

    Who knows though, we've got plenty of experiments going on, the LHC is churning out data - maybe in a couple of years from now our current theories will have been blown to pieces by experiment and we'll be forced to come up with something new?

    What I would really like to happen is for physics to come up with a description for the mind/consciousness. I don't even know if anyone is researching that, but imagine what an amazing thing that would be, it would rank alongside science's greatest triumphs.
  5. Oct 2, 2011 #4

    I myself have not looked into the neutrino project that well so I cannot express my concern for that experiment, but I can say that according to the article the physicists are not claiming that the neutrino particles are travelling faster than the speed of light, their data only shows that and they are trying to see if they went wrong, it is very interesting of an experiment I must say because in essence this is time travel at its potential, but if this is true it is the end of einsteins theory of relativity and principle that nothing can travel faster than the speed of life, I doubt that our current theories will be blown to pieces by experiments considering a majority of the theories we have theorized have such mathematical certainty that they are correct, but then again what do I know im no visionary. I really dont understand your statement concerning physics to come up with a description for the mind/consciousness? what exactly do you mean by that and If you mean it on a philosophical level or biological level physics has nothing to do with the mind!
  6. Oct 2, 2011 #5
    well we wouldn't necessarily have to completely do away with relativity if these neutrinos can exceed c, surely it would just be an incomplete theory/a limiting case? I mean, it's been overwhelmingly successful when applied elsewhere.

    As for our current theories being "blown to pieces" as I put it, that doesn't seem too outlandish seeing as, if I'm not mistaken, a few weeks ago there's supposed to have been doubt cast over the simplest form of supersymmetry? With more experimenting, the more complicated versions could well go out the window too?

    As for the mind, what I'm thinking is, the brain houses the mind, and it's constructed from matter that presumably obeys the laws of physics the same as the rest of the universe. The mind is built from physical stuff, damage the brain and you damage the mind, they aren't independent. So, maybe there's some physical/neurological explanation of how organisms come to have this blackboard where they can express thoughts inside their head? Maybe the whole quantum mechanical issue of the "observer" is tied up in this?
    I'm thinking maybe we will advance computers so far that we can watch them gradually take on "consciousness", if that isn't just hollywood nonsense. Maybe that's the way it could be understood.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2011
  7. Oct 2, 2011 #6
    It's possible. However, I think we really need more experimental data before anyone can develop new revolutionary theories.
  8. Oct 3, 2011 #7


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    Of course there will be another revolution - eventually.

    Check your history. How long was the gap between Aristotle and Galileo, Newton, etc? How long was the gap between Newton and Einstein? "Eventually" doesn't necessarily mean "real soon now", or even "in your lifetime".
  9. Oct 4, 2011 #8

    that is a very controversial yet complex and interesting way to think of how the brain functions, thanks for that enlightenment!
  10. Oct 4, 2011 #9

    the intervals between those great minds on the timescale remind me that history at often times repeats itself and produces geniuses who will spark a new renaissance/or revolution in physics that being the subject
  11. Oct 4, 2011 #10
    if you think about it, sciences like chaos theory applied in physics have barely scratched the surface. We've discovered the potential science involved, but we just haven't yet come up with astounding results. We will though. I'm sure.
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