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Physics needs new options (Overbye of NYT)

  1. Jul 4, 2006 #1


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    Physics Awaits New Options as Standard Model Idles
    (a July 4 science essay by Dennis Overbye)

    Here is how Dennis Overbye, a top science writer covering theoretical physics at the NY Times, introduces the topic of the short essay:

    "...Forget the lifetime tenure, the travel, the six-figure book contracts — what professional physicists live for is the tsunami moment when they know something that nobody else has ever known, the revelatory flash of a new glimpse into the workings of what Stephen Hawking, the Cambridge University cosmologist, called 'the Mind of God.'

    Alas, God, as reflected in the known laws of physics, hasn't gotten any smarter since the 1970's. It was then that particle physicists put the finishing touches on the Standard Model, a collection of theories describing all the physical forces except gravity.

    They have been stuck in that model, like birds in a gilded cage, ever since..."

    He quotes David Gross. Lee Smolin, Nima Arkani-Hamed. He gets across the idea how hungry theorists are for something really new to show up at LHC. No big deal, I guess, but I liked it.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2006
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  3. Jul 9, 2006 #2
    Ideas to kickstart new developments? Er...maybe...

    Maybe an updating of spectral physics is possible with the current understanding of light fields and an as yet unseen relationship with 'space'? Is it possible that there is a 'sub-space' reality which goes undetected and through which allows the mechanisms of certain constants of physics to act the way they do? (For example: the 'spacing' between the electron orbital levels; the 'spacing' in language of the brain; the 'spacing' of planets through gravity; and last but not least the 'spacing' between spectral lines) Or is all this 'spacing' arbitrary and/or random?
  4. Jul 9, 2006 #3


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    Hi orion eyes,
    my own opinion is that I appreciate what Dennis Overbye does as a science journalist for an influential paper, but I dont literally BELIEVE him. His view is superficial and ignores the causes.

    I think theoreticians have a number of very exciting post-string ideas out on the table, but so far only a handful of people dare to look at them.

    It is not so much that they need new ideas,
    they need to look at the new ideas they already have!

    Kea here at PF will tell you about some. To mention only two of several others that come to mind: John Baez, who kindly shows up here now and then, will tell you about some. Any thread here about current Laurent Freidel work will have some interesting new ideas that only a handful of people are working on as yet.

    the bottleneck is you can wreck your career as a young physics researcher if you go to the new ideas
    check this thread out:
    (non-string research positions in the US)

    Overbye so far has not addressed what is the real problem, but at least he is reflecting the symptoms---which is hopeful and way better than it could be:smile:
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2006
  5. Jul 10, 2006 #4
    Interesting read. What I was thinking has to do with the concept of 'flat space' in terms of the CMB. Does the perception of 'flat space' indicate a universe imbedded on a 2 dimensional 'plane' or a 1 dimensional 'horizon' line? In other words - is our universe 'on a singularity'? Please keep in mind I only wish to understand the concept of 'space' as separate from energy and time, even though I realize that space and time are inseparable as per Einstein's relativity. Now if space is 'flat', is there another 'side'? (Put another way, is it possible that the CMB functions as a form of 'boundary' to 'flat space'????)
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