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Unified theory of everything

  1. Jan 30, 2008 #1
    I read sheldon Glashows view on the string theory he seemed to doubt it very much as a plausible theory, but some say this is our only lead towards a Grand Unified theory. What do you guys think? are we close to unifying nature? Steven Hawking believed it could be done before the end of the last millenium, could the end for physics be in sight?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 30, 2008 #2


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    The end of physics? REALLY!

    Think about it. They could find the "Grand Unified Theory" and STILL could not solve the mechanism for High-Tc superconductors! You need to read up on "emergent" phenomena.

  4. Jan 30, 2008 #3
    I don't believe that this is the first thread that implied that a theory of everything would mean the end of physics, which is very wrong... I think it would be best to assume that there is no end, or of there is we're very far from it; as long as humans are around there will be something new to discover in the physical/natural world.
  5. Jan 31, 2008 #4
    Strings? I personally think duality is the number 1 idea from that direction.
    Those octonion electrogravity http://front.math.ucdavis.edu/author/Z.Weng
    things seems interesting to me.
    Maybe we really are seeing inside when looking outside...
  6. Jan 31, 2008 #5


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    It certainly isn't the only path to unification.
    As a bid for TOE it has the appearance of having either having stalled or failed.
    People are getting out of string research. Witten for example.
    Faculty positions in string research are being cut back----projected 20 percent cut between now and 2012.
    Number of stringy research publications has been declining since around 2002.
    Number of citations to recent stringy work has been declining (an important indicator of quality or importance of research.)

    The signs are that erstwhile string graduate students need to keep their options open and look around at other physics areas-----astrophysics, cosmology, astroparticle, condensed, experimental/phenomenological.

    We as onlookers need to be on the lookout for newer avenues to unification.
    Key thing is independence from a static background geometry. Stringy models are typically built on a fixed prior choice of space geometry. Smooth manifold with such and such dimensionality and a fixed shape. Real space isn't like that. It's unrealistic at a fundamental level and probably the wrong way to start. The real universe has dynamic geometry. Probably wrong to assume a fixed one.

    More recent approaches----non-string---are background independent in the sense that they are built on a dynamic geometry instead of a static framework. This leads to a new understanding of space---and the interaction of geometry with matter----from there, with quantum field theory reformulated background independent, they'll presumably base a new standard particle model on it. So its a different program: get quantum geometry right first.

    If you want some links to research papers that follow this re-ordered agenda just say. we can post some.
    Meanwhile don't give up on string! It may not be the most promising approach to unification, or the most interesting-----it has been around a long time and gotten a bit old---but there still are lots and lots of people working away diligently. And stringy mathematics has uses short of a unique final theory----it can be worthwhile applied to more specialized problems.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2008
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