- #1

Helicobacter

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For 100 years, it's clearly general relativity.

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In summary, the conversation discusses the greatest discoveries in the last 50 years, 25 years, and 100 years. Some potential candidates for the greatest discovery since 1961 include Bell's Theorem and Aspect's experiments, the CMB and inflationary cosmology, and the proof of the Poincare conjecture. For the last 25 years, some possible discoveries include the accelerating expansion rate of the universe, the existence of mass in neutrinos, and high Tc superconductors. Finally, for the past 100 years, general relativity and quantum mechanics are considered as top contenders, with many advancements and applications in modern technology.

- #1

Helicobacter

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For 100 years, it's clearly general relativity.

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- #2

Jolb

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I think quantum physics is more important than GR. And I'm talking about modern QM, like Heisenberg, Shrodinger, and Dirac, not Planck and Bohr, so it would definitely qualify for the last 100 years. QM wins over GR especially because GR without "dark matter" fails to explain the rotation of galaxies. (The fact that Einstein invented SR to do away with the ether makes me think he'd be ashamed of today's GR experts cooking up dark matter.) Also, without QM, where would we be technologically? Transistors are the cornerstone of modern technology. GR can't really claim to have yielded anything technological or otherwise practically useful. (I guess there are gravitational-dilation-corrected clocks on satellites... that's about it.)

Greatest discovery since 1961? Could be Bell's Theorem and Aspect's experiments. I feel like QED was already being developed by Schwinger and Feynman by 61. The development of string theory may or may not turn out to be a great discovery.

Greatest discovery in the last 25 years? that's pretty tough. 1986... Possibly the CMB and inflationary cosmology. Ed Witten's unification of string theory, possibly. And of course (if you're mathematically inclined,) the proof of the Poincare conjecture.

Greatest discovery since 1961? Could be Bell's Theorem and Aspect's experiments. I feel like QED was already being developed by Schwinger and Feynman by 61. The development of string theory may or may not turn out to be a great discovery.

Greatest discovery in the last 25 years? that's pretty tough. 1986... Possibly the CMB and inflationary cosmology. Ed Witten's unification of string theory, possibly. And of course (if you're mathematically inclined,) the proof of the Poincare conjecture.

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- #3

Helicobacter

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thanks. i didnt even know about "Bell's Theorem and Aspect's experiments"

even though I'm a layman, i will agree with you on CMB for the last 25 years. EDIT: actually this does not fall in the last 25 years. also, Ed Witten & Grigori Perelmann might have solved some of the hardest mathematical problems known to man, I don't see how the poincare conjecture falls into the domain of physics and how Ed Witten's M-theory can be experimentally verified.

even though I'm a layman, i will agree with you on CMB for the last 25 years. EDIT: actually this does not fall in the last 25 years. also, Ed Witten & Grigori Perelmann might have solved some of the hardest mathematical problems known to man, I don't see how the poincare conjecture falls into the domain of physics and how Ed Witten's M-theory can be experimentally verified.

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- #4

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Helicobacter said:

For 100 years, it's clearly general relativity.

Just my opinion, but the greatest discovery since:

1987: High T superconductivity, or maybe optical communications

1962: The laser or the renormalization group

1912: Transistor.

- #5

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1. Accelerating expansion rate of the universe

2. Neutrinos are not massless

3. High Tc superconductors

I'm not quite sure if Supernova 1987A qualifies as a discovery.

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Helicobacter

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Andy Resnick said:Just my opinion, but the greatest discovery since:

1987: High T superconductivity, or maybe optical communications

1962: The laser or the renormalization group

1912: Transistor.

when it comes to practical applications, yes. i should have specified the question to be at the natural/theoretical level.

The greatest discovery in physics in the last 25 years is highly debated, as there have been many significant breakthroughs in this field. Some scientists argue that the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 is the most significant, while others point to the detection of gravitational waves in 2015. Ultimately, the answer may vary depending on personal opinions and interpretations of what constitutes a "great" discovery.

These discoveries have significantly expanded our understanding of the universe by providing evidence for long-standing theories and opening new areas of exploration. The detection of the Higgs boson confirms the existence of the Higgs field, which gives particles their mass and is a crucial component of the Standard Model of particle physics. The detection of gravitational waves provides a new way to study the universe and has already revealed new insights into black holes and the origins of the universe.

Both the discovery of the Higgs boson and the detection of gravitational waves involved cutting-edge technologies. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN was crucial in producing and detecting the Higgs boson. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) was essential in the detection of gravitational waves, using advanced laser and mirror systems to detect tiny distortions in spacetime.

These discoveries have opened up new avenues for future research in physics. Further studies of the Higgs boson and the Higgs field could lead to a better understanding of the origin of mass and potentially new particles. The detection of gravitational waves has already opened a new field of astronomy, allowing scientists to study the universe in a completely new way and potentially uncovering new phenomena and objects.

The discovery of the Higgs boson and the detection of gravitational waves were both incredibly challenging endeavors. Both required large collaborations of scientists and engineers, as well as sophisticated technologies and techniques. The LHC, for example, took decades to plan and construct, and the detection of gravitational waves required incredibly precise measurements and data analysis. Additionally, both discoveries required overcoming technical and theoretical obstacles to achieve success.

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