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The TOE

  1. Apr 14, 2005 #1
    Physics is advancing really fast since 1900. In fact, at this level we can explain 3/4 of all physical phenomena but there is a deeper reality which has yet to be discovered.

    So there are 2 competing theories. One is quantum mechanics which describes the microscopic world and the 2nd is general relativity which describes gravity and the macroscopic world.

    In 1687 Isaac Newton gave the first scientific revolution with the Principia. 218 years later (in 1905 and 1916), Albert Einstein gave the 2nd scientific revolution. Someone will have to give the 3rd scientific revolution and probably the last one. The question is whether it will be somewhere near the 2150s or even before that time.

    So will there be a theory of everything before 2200?

    PS: See list of unsolved problems in physics. If it will not be until 2200 then it will probably take much longer than expected, perhaps even until next millennia.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2005 #2
    It's hard to measure or even estimate these things, but I'd say that physics overall, and fundamental physics especially, has advanced relatively little since the 1960's. I think the main reason for that is that the problems are getting more difficult, and some theories aren't being strongly guided by good-quality experimental data (e.g. string theory). Some areas, though, like condensed matter and cosmology, have advanced a lot in in recent decades.

    By the way, I don't know where you get your 3/4 estimate from, while quantum mechanics and relativity are not competing theories.
     
  4. Apr 15, 2005 #3
    I think you are correct, there have been two main scientific revolutions, and there is a need of another one such as big.

    I think it will happen before 2060 because genius are now much more descovered around the world than before, so there are many more possibilities.
     
  5. Apr 15, 2005 #4
    Particle physics and QM also advanced since 1965. The strong and weak nuclear forces were discovered and that was an important step forward. Surely the problems are always becoming more difficult to solve.

    See list

    Not competing but they're also not compatible with one another. QM deals with the very small and general relativity deals with the very big. For example, particle physics has yet to explain why baryons are attracted to one another and whether non-baryonic matter really exists.

    Both quantum mechanics and general relativity are strong theories. The question is which theory is stronger and which one will have to be modified or even replaced.

    It's almost certain threre will be another quantum leap until 2200. However as cragwolf said, the problems are becoming harder to solve.

    There should be an advancement in the next 50 years. A new generation of particle accelerators plus a couple of space missions should provide some new information.

    Though, i don't believe that the advancement in the next 50-60 will be enough for a final theory.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2005
  6. Apr 15, 2005 #5
    Maybe thats true, not enough for the final theory, if there was 250 years from one description of gravity to another one, there must be more time from two basivc expanations to lead to THE ORGANIC EXPLENATION (TOE).
     
  7. Apr 15, 2005 #6

    selfAdjoint

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    Those forces had been known since early in the 20th century. What came in the 60's and 70's was a unified theory of them: electroweak theory in 1968, QCD about 1975, and the standard model by 1978. BTW this was preceded by three important fundamental discoveries: Non-abelian gauge theory by Yang & Mills, 1956, quantization of same by Fadeev & Popov and renormalization of same by 't Hooft & Veltzmann in 1967. Notice the dual authorships; things did start getting harder about here.
     
  8. Apr 15, 2005 #7
    Do you think someone will prove Einstein wrong in 2150?

    If then, this will be the end of symmetric cosmologies. Today we see 'spacetime' as symmetric but it surely doesn't have to be. Albert Einstein said himself that every theory gets killed sooner or later but the good of it stays. Einstein had two great theories so in case one of them is wrong, doesn't matter.

    The strong and weak interactions were not understood independently until 1967. Even today we still havn't figured out how to unify the strong interaction with the electroweak interaction which is itself not completely understood. The standard model will remain incomplete at leat until 2008. I think there is a good chance to find a GUT in the next 100 years.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2005
  9. Apr 15, 2005 #8

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    I would really appreciate your source for this extraordianry statement. The weak force and strong force were in no way confused from at least the time of Fermi's theory of the former and Yukawa's theory of the latter in the 1930s.
     
  10. Apr 16, 2005 #9
    That IS true. All theories sometime get denied. But yes, the part that prove to be more logical or more sensible to explain the unvierse, stays.
     
  11. Apr 16, 2005 #10
    AFAIK, Einstein tried to combine between gravity and electromagnetism. His attempt was in a way doomed to failure because the strong and weak nuclear forces were not understood independently until around 1970, fifteen years after his death.

    Between the years 1960-1980 there were great advancements in particle physics, especially in the development of QED.
     
  12. Apr 16, 2005 #11

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    You may have read that in something about Einstein, but you have to understand that "understood" in that phrase means the electroweak theory and QCD (the reference to 1970 tells us that).

    In fact physicists well understood from the 1930s that weak decay was a distinct process from nuclear interaction, although it transformed one nuclear particle, the neutron, into another one, the proton, with the emission of an electron and an (anti)neutrino. As I said before, Fermi made a start on a theory of weak interaction although his theory had the fault that it was a point process, rather than mediated by a boson. During the 50s and 60s, physicsits developed the V-A theory of the weak interaction to explain the new experiments, especially strangeness and parity non-conservation.

    When I was still a kid in the 1950s, reading about physics, they were already talking about four forces, and they had something coherent to say about each one.

    QED was devised in the early 1950s, Dyson's unification was complete by 1956, and its major accomplishments were initiated before 1960. Since that time it has been "adding another decimal place".
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2005
  13. Apr 19, 2005 #12
    I think that not only are the problems getting harder, but encreasingly expensive too. I'm afraid there will be a point where cost will prohibit what we can learn about the universe and everything in it well before we run up against any limit to our ability to understand it.
     
  14. Apr 19, 2005 #13
    Yes, probably true. And then we will be trying to come up with theories without the disciplining effect of experimentation to guide us along. We will be like chooks running around with their heads cut off. Some people think we've already reached that stage in one area of study. Perhaps they're wrong, but it's something to worry about.
     
  15. Apr 19, 2005 #14
    I believe that what one cannot measure doesn't exist. In the future, some formula which no one knows right now, has to be developed, and from that formula, a new idea might emerge. The formula will most likely have something to do with superconductivity or with a new quantum-dynamical effect caused by heat, density and pressure. We don't know everything about star formation and stellar cores. This is another topic for future investigation. The CMBR is also a topic for investigation because i honestly don't believe it's of big-bang origin. Just for thought...
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2005
  16. May 11, 2005 #15
    Science it seems is experiencing some of the same problems that have caused consternation in Epistemology--What is more real: Empiricism or Rationalism, or do the two combine to form the REALLY REAL? When one conceptually combines Time and Space to produce a 'fabric of space', is this purely a rational, imaginary reality or is there is an empirical component? Are waves purely mathematical constructs or is there a wave carrier for the photon? Does the Math tell us for sure that there is a wave carrier or does the Math lead us astray?

    Can a rational construct (SR) actually limit the speed of everything to Light Speed or less? Perhaps an undiscovered particle (a graviton particle?)with 'less mass' than a photon can exceed LS.

    To make progress in the future, we will have ensure that our 'rational constructs' are correct. Mathematics is the language of science only when it speaks empirically.
     
  17. May 12, 2005 #16
    Seems like much of our understanding of nature comes from geometry (differential geometry). This is not so good because nature is only about particles, their intrinsic properties and interactions. Here comes the difficult part.

    In chemistry for example, no geometry is needed. We know over 200 particles so far but i believe there are many more, maybe even 1000. 200-300 years from now it will become possible to reach energy scales high enough to complete the standard model.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2005
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