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Physics Becoming a Religion ?

  1. Aug 8, 2013 #1
    looking on the current status of physics , i think physics * pure theoretical physics* is dying
    and instead engineering is taking its place
    i think that every thing that needs to be discovered has already been discovered
    when i look to the current fields , particle physics for instance
    almost all particles are found now , and if any other particles are found , it will be quite useless
    everything around us has been physically proven except for dark energy maybe , which even if we did figure it out it would be of no benefit to us , no benefit but knowledge .
    has the world really unraveled all the mysteries of physics that affects us as humans ?
    is physics becoming just a subject for studying/teaching ?
    even if things like string theory turns out to be true , it still would not affect us , it would be basic knowledge .
    to be honest , i think physics is turning more into a religion , all the rules has been laid out , all the important theories have been written . and now its time for us * or engineers * to follow and/or improvise on those laws .
    i could be 100% and i wish i am wrong , because it is my dream to become a physicist but i am really turned down by this idea
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2013 #2
    Here is some interesting reading fro you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unsolved_problems_in_physics

    Of those, I would like to single out just these two: high-temperature superconductivity and turbulence. Can you really say that any progress there will be useless?

    Regarding the "pure knowledge" argument, it is very old. In ancient Greece, for example, their highly developed geometry did not have much practical use. The development of physics at the time of Galileo and even Newton was hardly different from pure knowledge, too.
  4. Aug 8, 2013 #3
    Well looks like you misheard the date it's 2013 not 3013. :D

    Actually there are alot of both theoretical and also very practical things that we don't have yet and things that would greatly contribute to humanity.

    Just to name a few.
    Controlled nuclear fusion for mainstream electricity producing , NOT DONE YET.
    Electricity transmission problems , better power supplies (smps etc)

    Oil is running out but battery technology has yet to develop for a more practical , longer and cheaper use etc.
    there are many theoretical physics problems too_Okay I could agree that many of these deal with universal , cosmological scale problems but still that is physics too.

    Well the only thing that is is that physics especially theoretical has gotten much harder these days than it was in the time of ancient greeks or faraday or other historical people.But we still have alot ahead of us.
  5. Aug 8, 2013 #4
    isn't that all engineering ?
  6. Aug 8, 2013 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    Your logic is flawed. Even if everything in your first "paragraph" were correct, which it's not, it would not follow that physics is a religion.
  7. Aug 8, 2013 #6
    i assume you did not get the analogy
    what i meant is , it is becoming like religion in a sense that there is nothing more we can do about it rather than knowing it well , and applying it well
    i read something in one science magazine that says that 60% of physics graduates work in fields unrelated to physics .
    if there was much we could do about physics , then i suppose more people would be working in the field of physics , right ?
    physicists are like preachers now to be honest , they might know lot about god , but they can not do anything about it but either enjoy and pass their knowledge , or work on marginal issues that are not major enough to affect humanity
  8. Aug 8, 2013 #7
    This is the worst analogy I've heard in years. I bet you just put it up because it sounded controversial.
  9. Aug 8, 2013 #8
    you know what ? screw the analogy , just go on with the main topic
  10. Aug 8, 2013 #9
    Sure, I'm up for it. But you made it a bit difficult for yourself since you put it in the title. So I expect people to keep coming in here and comment on the title.
  11. Aug 8, 2013 #10
    No. Many theoretical and expiremental physicists work on fusion. Also, suppose your initial argument were true, I can't think of many things I consider more benficial than knowledge.
  12. Aug 8, 2013 #11
    So you are saying you already know what we don't know and yet everyone else seems to not know what they don't know, but you know?
  13. Aug 8, 2013 #12


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    This is so untrue. There is so much that is still unexplained, or not satisfactorily explained. Maybe it is difficult to find a new breakthrough in physics. But this does not mean we know all the answers :)
  14. Aug 8, 2013 #13
    I would just like to add a few more examples of very practical things that can come out of modern theoretical physics. First you have to remember that not all physicists are high-energy physicists, and second you have to realize that engineers are not the only ones who are making technological breakthroughs. Theoretical condensed matter physicists are working on projects like:

    topological states of matter, which open the pathway for new kinds of materials and technologies
    spintronics, which has the potential to revolutionize electronics
    quantum computing, which would also have the potential to revolutionize electronics
    high-Tc superconductors, which could revolutionize the power grid
    graphene, which can revolutionize electronics and lead to all kinds of new materials

    One exceptional theoretical physicist who works on many of these problems is Alexei Kitaev, who was even hired by Microsoft to do research on quantum computing and topological states of matter.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2013
  15. Aug 8, 2013 #14


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    Then why did we build a multi-billion dollar particle collider and spend the last 3 years or so trying to find a new particle?

    I think that the easy stuff has been discovered. I'm sure there's plenty more to come.

    Nothing is useless. Everything has some use.

    At the moment perhaps. How about 5,000 years in the future though?


    And basic knowledge leads to advancements in technology, which leads to higher quality of life.
  16. Aug 8, 2013 #15


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    IMO, the OP portrays a lack of knowledge about physics and religion, what they are and what they mean.

    Many of the same arguments about physics being exhausted were made in 1913. Yet in the next three decades, many discoveries were made which overturned the classical Newtonian view of the universe. A lot of physicists are working on things now which could not have been attempted 25 years ago, things like quantum computing. If a lot of physics graduates chose to work outside of the field, that is not the fault of physics, it is the fault of the students not investigating their prospects in physics after graduation and the colleges and universities for letting them study in a field where there is already a surplus of existing graduates.

    IMO, religion tries to help man find his place in the universe, like physics, but it does so by posing questions which physics cannot hope to answer. Religion also expects one to use faith in the unknown and unknowable to forge a path through life. Physics cannot exist on faith; there must be a reckoning with the unknown to make it known.
  17. Aug 8, 2013 #16
    you are right , i have thought of the same thing , i asked myself after posting the thread , what if the physicists 100 years from now had the same thought , there must be something to unravel anyway .
    i think i will go on with studying physics and hope that i really was wrong
  18. Aug 8, 2013 #17
    Hail Science!

  19. Aug 8, 2013 #18


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    I don't think there's a strict division between engineering and physics. Even a very "fundamental" bit of physics - thermodynamics - it can be argued, came out of engineering steam engines. Would you consider the laser, the transistor, the compact disc, and quantum computing to be physics or engineering?
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