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So what's next for Einstein's Relativity?

  1. May 3, 2009 #1

    NWH

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    I was wondering, what's next for Relativity? It's been 100 years now since Einstein made his first modifications to classical physics. I can imagine a lot of people have made their own contributions To S/G over the years, but what I'm wondering is where do you take it from now? Are there still some holes to be filled? Is there ever any hope of unifying Electromagnetism and Gravity classically? What's happening?

    Personally speaking, I think Einstien's realisations are some of the most mystical, breathtaking and truely astounding concepts I've ever taken on board. It makes me wonder where Relativity will be in another 100 years time...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 4, 2009 #2
    The current goal is to attempt to blend Relativity with Quantum Mechanics. It's going to be quite difficult, as the two contradict one another.
     
  4. May 6, 2009 #3

    NWH

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    Thanks for the reply. So in what way do they contradict each other? Do you have any non mathamatical ways of discribing what the problems are?

    Since I started doing a bit more indepth reading on Einstein's concepts, I my self are amazed at how well his theories discribe the world as we know it, yet fail to meld with the quantum theories. Especially after he proved the existence of atoms and ultimately discribed how nuclear weapons were possible. It would be interesting to hear what advances have been made, or whether there's any hope at all.

    As well as that, how about the theory of relativity it's self? Is it at it's end? Is it complete? I would imagine there's still a lot to be explained, but maybe that's due to my lack of true understanding.
     
  5. May 6, 2009 #4

    malawi_glenn

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    What gabrielh means is that General Relativity does not seem to be easy incorporated into a Quantum Field Theory, general realtivity at the quantum level also has some "paradoxes". But that is true, the hardest thing at the moment is to obtain either a quantum description of GR, or a new description of BOTH GR and QM (e.g. String Theory).

    Also, Special theory of relativity is ok with quantum physics.
     
  6. May 6, 2009 #5

    NWH

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    So gravity is basically the source of the problem? What is it that's made them so contradictory?
     
  7. May 6, 2009 #6

    malawi_glenn

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    I would not call it contradictory, but if you want to construct a QFT with gravity, you will not be able to have both renormalizability and lorentz invariance at the same time (which you would like to have...) This is the Weinberg-Witten Theorem.
     
  8. May 6, 2009 #7
    As for the time period... don't forget that it took 300 years for newtonian physics to be replaced with relativity, and newtonian mechanics is a bit easier to understand than relativity (although that may be due to 300 years disseminating into popular thought). Another century or two and relativity may be commonplace, well understood by >50% of the population and it'll be a ripe time for a ground-breaking new look at the universe (or string theory may already be it, if we could only get some evidence for the damn thing :))
     
  9. May 6, 2009 #8

    DrGreg

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    One contradiction is that general relativity says that when a black hole forms, all its particles must collapse to a single point. Whereas quantum theory says it's impossible for two particles to be in the same place at the same time.
     
  10. May 6, 2009 #9
    Thanks for clarifying my post :)
     
  11. May 6, 2009 #10

    malawi_glenn

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    Nope, bosons can "be at the same point at the same time"....
     
  12. May 6, 2009 #11

    DrGreg

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    Ok, maybe I oversimplified the reason (quantum theory isn't my subject) but isn't it nevertheless true that quantum theory forbids black holes to collapse to a single point?
     
  13. May 7, 2009 #12
    You can see prof. Lisa Randall’s research about a fifth spacetime dimension.
     
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