Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Crisis In Physics

As those of you who have studied the history of science from, approximately, Copernicus, Galileo and Newton, to Einstein, Heisenberg, Planck, Dirac, Bohr, Feinman (the list could go on and on), probably know, Relativity and Quantum mechanics don't work well together; it would, perhaps, not be going too far to say that they are incompatible. Along comes String Theory (about which I know very little), which claims that both theories are a logical consequence of this larger and more inclusive theory. Unfortunately, the equations of String Theory are very difficult (if not impossible ) to solve and (what is even worse) they produce no verifiable predictions.

This is not a tragic tale (does it remind you just a little of that ancient myth, The Tower of Babel?) What ever made us think that it might be possible to think up a Grand Unified Theory of Everything?
The failure of that dream doesn't mean that there won't be plenty of work for our scientists to do—superconductivity at normal temperatures, for example. (Which may be impossible, but we don't know that yet.)