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What's left?

  1. Apr 21, 2010 #1
    The ultimate goal of physics is to be able to describe all physical phenomena under one solid structure. To have a single way to express everything, and to many that lies in an equation somewhere. We seek a unified field theory. We have been able to successfully quantify much of what we observe as a product of electromagnetic radiation. From what I understand we are still trying to incorporate, or unify, nuclear forces and gravity with these other forces, or I suppose force, of nature. My question is what else needs to be explained, what else do we yet not know, and what exactly needs needs to be done for unification to occur? Are there merely holes in the theory? Or are there still things that we plain can't explain? Are we missing some crucial mode of thinking, or some crucial mathematical relationship? Are the equations from string from theory even applicable, or relevant? or are they even being interpreted properly? I want to know what exactly needs further physical inquiry, so that we may all know and better be able to seek it.

    ;|think inversely|;
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 21, 2010 #2
    There are few thing that are not yet fully understood..
    To my knowledge:
    details of glass transition,
    Math description of turbulance and
    Theorey of all.
    Have fun
  4. Apr 24, 2010 #3
    Unification now!

    Alright now. Come on people. I obviously didn't get my point across in a post, What's Left?. Unification, what needs to happen? What are we missing? Do we just need a theory to incorporate classical physics, relativity, quantum physics, and string theory into one frame? I have several. Does the answer lie in differentials? I haven't been to college yet, so I know not, though I play with equations and relationships. Is string theory even a practical application of said equations? Loop quantum gravity, hmm, that's the outcome of my theory. Is there just something fundamental missing in our reasoning or understanding? And what is it? Basically what I'm saying is, with how far and widespread physical knowledge has become, we should know it all by now.
    ;|think inversely|;
  5. Apr 24, 2010 #4
    actually Raijini picks up on an important point. A complete mathematical description of turbulence is a key part of fluid motion and chaotic phenomena that we still haven't solved. Eg try reading Chaos by James Gleik for a better understanding of what I'm referring to. But simple small things like that, when solved. May be able to get us one step closer to perhaps finding a grand theorem of unification. But then things like classical physics, relativity ect, are only models in some cases, very accurate. In others, slightly less. And perhaps, because they are just that, models, perhaps what we have can't provide us with a unification, because each tiny bit of each model that doesn't satisfy reality, precisely, but close enough, results in this fall short that we have. And until we get them perfect we won't know, or maybe its the nature of each of these bits together that suggests that they don't fit together because there is a physical piece missing. And as far as I am aware, every attempt we have made at creating a unified theory, has fallen short because 2 doesn't = 1 (not literally ofc) which to me suggests that our fall short is not due to our current mathematical capabilities. As it doesn't matter whether I use to different tools, eg matrices or algebra. The solution to my equation is still the same. Which means that it's our models that are incomplete or a piece that is missing. Perhaps we need to discover more phenomena to solve our problems?
  6. Apr 24, 2010 #5


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    Re: Unification now!

    I think you misunderstand string theory. String theory is an ATTEMPT to unify relativity and quantum physics, not a stand-alone verified theory that needs to be incorporated into anything. I do not know much about string theory to know exactly where the current issues are, but I'm pretty sure that at this point they're quite abstract.
    Well, given that just about every physical law is formulated in terms of differential equations, I'd say this is probably a given.

    Why should we know it all by now? What makes you think we'll ever know "it all"? And even if we find a unifying framework at the fundamental level, this is by no means saying we "know it all"! Not by a longshot! It's not as though if we come up with a unifying theory suddenly we master interstellar travel, controlled nuclear fusion, the nuances of chaos theory, etc.
  7. Apr 24, 2010 #6
    Re: Unification now!

    About my comments on string theory (m-theory); I think anything that requires 11 dimensions to describe our tangible universe has strayed into it's own category as a model of physics. And about knowing it all by now; do you realize how massive and specialized the human population has become? How is it that someone out there hasn't found the obviously missing connection yet..?

    Just trying to ponder and spur the same.

  8. Apr 24, 2010 #7
    If you want to discover something new maybe you should read about flop transition manifolds, from what I hear the equations aren't able to be solved completely just yet, just through perturbation theory. There are still a lot of things to be explored in string theory, start studying that.
  9. Apr 26, 2010 #8
    Alright, man. I searched flop transition manifolds, and clicked the fist link titled "New Developements In String Theory." I read the page and my brain was frying, not because I didn't understand what was said, I read them perfectly clearly. It was almost embarrassing reading some of the ways they try to explain black holes. It was almost like they were ignoring their results and approximations. All of the results and "conclusions" they had fit perfectly in and were predicted by my theory of black holes, which I developed several months ago. Plus, my theory provides a definite description of black holes, not just a collapsed singularity. Not only does my theory fit all the postulates of black holes and properly define them, but it also fits nicely with relativity, quantum mechanics, and observations. Calabi-Yaus, tangible two-dimensional space, and three-branes are not the answer. Though aspects of them may help model parts of reality I feel that shouldn't give them reason to become physical law. We must use the relationships uncovered by string theory to get us thinking in the right direction, nothing more.
  10. Apr 26, 2010 #9

    Andy Resnick

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    I disagree with this, unless by 'one', you also mean a set of theories that are consistent with each other.
  11. Apr 26, 2010 #10
    "What's left?" is not a proper question.

    We can't answer not only the Why questions, but we can't even answer the What questions. Science can presently answer How questions, and that's enough for making progress.
    What makes you think Nobel prize winners know what space is, or what time is, or what
    matter is, or what reality is? It seems science is indocrinating people into believing there exists some fundamental knowledge on which our best working models are based. Science is still tentative, and a lot of it rests on a set of assumptions. Science is perfect for developing technologies and making progress, but as far as it concerns the big questions - sadly, it's still in a very sorry state.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2010
  12. Apr 27, 2010 #11
    Tentative, yes, but such progress and understanding cannot be through anything other than reality. Furthermore, I feel once we figure this reality down to its last, then we will be on a path to true progress. Once the observations are properly described by theory that exacts reality, which we can approximate via differentials, then we can take our technological progress (based on science (experiment and theory)) to a new level.
    And as for "the big questions," I feel most can be answered with simple yes and no answers, or general, physical statements. Though these are considered more religio-philosophical based inquiries, I feel they are still however in the realm of physics and well within the discussion, what's left?. So, I say we continue discussion till a moderator feels the need to interfere.
    And yes, I do..
  13. May 5, 2010 #12
    dirtyd33---they just keep everything a secret from you until you take the master level classes in physics---then they will tell you
  14. May 5, 2010 #13
    I don't quite understand your question, look around the world and you will find many things that have yet to be explained, and your also assuming it is a straight course and then we'll "wrap it up", we're going to encounter surprises. Read what others said about string theory.

    Now, here is where my primary points of contention are, and I am surprised nobody has commented on them yet

    That is a question asking if "the answer" to all physical phenomena resides in a particular mathematical model. That question does not quite make sense, or even if it was answered, wouldn't get you any closer to knowing.

    For somebody asking if the answer to physics lies in differentials, you sure seem to know a lot.

    Let me get this straight, you haven't been to college nor are you familiar with differentials, and yet you have a theory that defines black holes, does not involve a singularity, syncs up with the modern physical theories and observations!? You really have quite a unique understanding, and I am dying to hear it. You have a theory of quantum gravity that somehow predicts values without the use of complex mathematics and you properly understood scientific papers on the most recent developments in string theory, and fit these into your framework. I feel dumb, please let me in on your theory, in fact let the world in
  15. May 6, 2010 #14
    Your question is what is stopping a Unified Theory?

    Disclaimer: I am just a science enthusiast (only.)

    Unifying the four forces of physics would combine QED and Relativity which are currently at odds from eachother in a few different ways. (gross simplification)

    Also the magnitudes of the forces involved are very different from eachother. Namely gravity and everything else. Gravity is weak... extremely weak. Electromagnetism and the others are extremely strong. I won't mention Strong Nuclear and Weak Nuclear for now.
    This makes viewing gravity in a Quantum "environment" extremely hard to do for a positivist who wants "proof." because we are talking about viewing the weakest force in the universe on the smallest scales imaginable. So small, in fact it might take devices beyond the means of humanity to build (particle accelerators that are larger than the solar system itself.) to "see" objects that small.

    To grossly generalize: to see Relativity at work= BIG OBJECTS WITH HUGE MASSES use a telescope.
    To witness QED = The realm of the tiny.

    There are places where both realms of science could be witnessed directly at the same time: The Big Bang, Black Holes. Sadly these are not likely places to send a probe or create in a lab.

    There are thought experiments and all manner of beautiful math for String Theory but many in the field of Science are positivists and they want proof verifiable through observations. I am sure there are many qualified people who feel that current string theory is solid and not having a degree in any science field myself I hate to disagree, however, there is still no observable data relating to strings.
    I have read before in a QED book for layman (The Elegant Universe) that some String enthusiasts say the Periodic Chart itself is proof for string theory (that it can perfectly account for the exact mass of elements.) This doesn't convince me. I would prefer an observed phenomina.

    Again I am not a scientist nor do I have any educational background relating to science.

    Any link between QED and Relativity is major news in physics which is why Hawking Radiation is so famous: it combines Black Holes (a prediction of relativity) and occurances such as virtual pairs and Heisenburg Uncertainty (QED) and brings the concepts together. Hawking radiation has not been observed but finding it would be a large peice of the puzzle towards a unified theory in my opinion.

    If I am wrong correct me. I am not an authority.

    To answer your question I would say observable evidence is missing.
    Since this is a philosophy thread- I will assume that would lead to an arguement about the merits of positivism and what constitutes "proof."
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
  16. May 17, 2010 #15
    Here is an answer worthy of the question: "A lot."
  17. May 29, 2010 #16

    ...and on top of that, we only know what we think we know.
  18. May 29, 2010 #17
    Precisely. We can't know what we don't know, and we therefore can't delineate "what's left".
  19. May 29, 2010 #18
    I don't agree with what the Op said was physics goal.
  20. May 30, 2010 #19
    this was one of many things that interested me, --really, one of the top two that got me going with all of it:

    'Three Words That Could Overthrow Physics: “What Is Magnetism?” '

    "For one thing, as far as I can tell, nobody knows how a magnet can move a piece of metal without touching it. And for another—more astonishing still, perhaps—nobody seems to care."


    A lot of people 'out there' in the real world think physicists already know...

    I think there's a lot more unknown than known.
  21. May 31, 2010 #20
    Magnetism, and more so, entanglement, are, IMO, really the highest mysteries of simplest forms.

    I might say that conscious life is a mystery too, but life itself is complex, to not mention fascinating human brains, but somohow complexity doesn't amaze me if it's mysterious, (apparent) simplicity does.
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