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Unified field theory impossible?

  1. Oct 28, 2011 #1
    My question is, is it still widely believed that an all encompassing "theory of everything" exists for the universe? It seems to me that due to quantum mechanics it would be impossible to actually observe enough data to predict precisely the behavior of quarks and other subatomic particles, one could only approach such an equation. Is it really possible?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 28, 2011 #2
    The question about a "theory of everything" is if we can ever find the right equations. No one believes that we could ever observe enough data to actually predict everything! And in fact a theory that predicts that there are things that we can't predict would still be a valid theory of everything, as long as it was correct about the unpredictability!
  4. Oct 28, 2011 #3
    Unified field theories will not be attained by simply merging present theories.

    More likely, a unified field theory would have to encompass a system of equations for which present physics equations are mere approximations bearing only a spot of resemblance.

    Also important for a unified field theory is that it should not be capable of predicting the existence (or even merely allowing the theoretical existence) of a physical force for an object which is not physically possible. In other words, not only must a unified field theory explain what forces do exist, it must also explain why other imagined forces do not exist. For this reason, string theory, which doesn't really forbid any particular reality, as it is too "flexible", is not going to be this unified field theory people have longed for.
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