None of these words is necessarily the exclusive word used for beauty in any given language but it suggests that certain languages can emphasize distinct facets of beauty. A multi-lingual perspective may also help us discover our own deeper concepts of beauty as we find parallel concepts in other languages that may not be readily apparent. A concept of beauty which encompasses beauty , yapha , sundara , to kalon , wabi-sabi , hozho and the thousands of additional words used in other languages make it easier to understand that beauty in physics and beauty in art may be quite similar.
The Unified Theory will represent a form of wholeness or completeness of the fundamental laws of physics, it will describe the harmony and balance between particles and forces, it will be expressed in the simplest possible terms, it is an ideal that scientists are striving towards and they hope that it will illuminate the fundamental mysteries of physics.
His most recent book, A Beautiful Question , is a profound exploration of the physics, aesthetics and philosophy surrounding the search for the Unified Theory. He also replaces the title Standard Model with the more appropriate term Core Theory. He is optimistic that in the near-future, the Core Theory will be able to accommodate the electromagnetic, weak, strong and gravitational forces as well as describe dark energy and dark matter. Quarks and leptons, for example, would have squarks and sleptons as their hypothetical boson superpartners.
Gauginos , on the other hand, would be hypothetical fermion superpartners of gauge bosons. The elegance and beauty of this model is that it would offer the possibility of including gravity in a possible unified Core Theory that includes hypothetical gravitons and their equally hypothetical superpartner gravitinos. One of the challenges of uniting all four forces is that gravity is by far the weakest of all the physical forces. But supersymmetry and the presence of the hypothesized superpartners, suggests that there exist certain high energy levels at which the different forces begin to approximate each other.
Wilczek states that this would still not represent the complete unification of the forces, but it could be a major first step. However, Wilczek also clearly explains that the experimental evidence for supersymmetry and the hypothesized superpartner particles is lacking. Photo: D.
If we want to establish a legacy of our civilization that truly matters to our future descendants, it will not be achieved by erecting huge monuments but by expanding efforts to find simple and complex beauty in our universe. According to Born, the de Broglie-Schroedinger wave function specifies the probability that an atom will have a specific energy level just as the theory of card playing specifies the probability of a certain hand. Bohm, Walsh, b: 6. However, Wilczek also clearly explains that the experimental evidence for supersymmetry and the hypothesized superpartner particles is lacking. Video 2.
Another path toward a Unified Theory that is being actively pursued by theoretical physicists is string theory , also referred to as superstring theory and M-theory in its later iterations. Through string theory, these physicists are also able to achieve some degree of a unification of the fundamental forces on a theoretical level, but they invoke the presence of nine spatial dimensions string theory or even ten spatial dimensions M-theory in addition to one time dimension.
Proponents of string theory view it as a major conceptual revolution of our concept of time and space, likening it to the paradigm shifts in our concepts of space, time and causality that were triggered by the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics one century ago. However, there is one key difference that sets apart string theory from the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics. Even though the latter changed our view of the world, they did not fundamentally alter how we pursue science. Successful science always combines theories with empirically-testable hypotheses and predictions.
Quantum mechanics, the special theory of relativity, the general theory of relativity and the Standard Model have all been validated by experiments. Supersymmetry has not yet been experimentally validated, but it makes claims that could be eventually be tested and confirmed if the proposed superpartner particles are found at the LHC. However, it is difficult to even conceive of experiments that could prove the existence of nine or ten spatial dimensions.
A string of critical books has recently been published that attack string theory on its lack of clearly defined hypotheses and predictions that would allow for its experimental validations. Farewell to Reality by Jim Baggott, Not Even Wrong by Peter Woit and The Trouble with Physics by Lee Smolin question whether a theory without experimental validation can even be considered scientific or whether it has begun taking on the feature of a religious dogma. To a certain extent, similar criticisms can also be brought forward against supersymmetry since there is no definitive experimental proof to back it up, just circumstantial evidence as described by Wilczek in A Beautiful Question.
One response to critics of supersymmetry is that the proposed superpartner particles are so rare and require such high energy to generate that we may not yet have the necessary technology to even test the theory. The Higgs particle, for example, was predicted by the Standard Model several decades before the LHC was able to confirm its existence.
It is therefore quite possible that the LHC will find evidence for supersymmetry in the next years as the energy levels are ramped up. But at what point does one abandon a scientific idea or theory as not validated by experiments, and how long does one continue to test it? And at what point does clinging to ideas that have not or cannot be experimentally validated become non-scientific? The search for the Unified Theory has raised profound questions not only about the nature of matter and energy but also the definition of science and the scientific methodology.
I recently asked Frank Wilczek whether he felt that supersymmetry is still a prime candidate for a Unified Core Theory:. Wilczek believes that the current energy levels at the LHC may be able to generate gauginos, the superpartners of gauge bosons, but that the generation of squarks and sleptons may require higher levels of energy. Wilczek agrees that the testability and experimental validation of supersymmetry is essential for it to become part of a Unified Core Theory.
A Unified Theory also needs to address other important issues that are not yet resolved by General Relativity and the Standard Model, such as the question of dark matter and dark energy. String theory, in particular, falls short. Frank Wilzek. Wilczek is convinced we can make important progress at present without string theory or M-theory but cannot rule out that they may prove crucial in the long run. An excessive focus on identifying the elementary forces and particles brings about a culture of extreme reductionism, assuming that the whole universe can be explained by knowing the building blocks.
Taking apart a Lego sculpture and then laying out all the colored Lego bricks in front of us does not really tell us much about the beauty and splendor of the sculpture. Laughlin hopes and predicts that the Age of Reductionism will soon be replaced by an Age of Emergence in which the focus gradually shifts toward understanding how complex structures arise from the fundamental particles and atoms identified during the Age of Reductionism. Just like the simplicity of reductionism, the complexity of emergence also embodies beauty. Our ancestors left us awe-inspiring monuments of never replicated grandeur.
The evolving Core Theories of physics exemplify the human intellect and spirit and have challenged our perceptions of reality. We often marvel at the splendor of palaces and monuments, but the enduring legacy of any civilization can be found in its ideas. While all the seven wonders of the ancient world have crumbled except for the pyramids of Giza, many of the ideas of ancient scholars have survived, and their magnificence continues to inspire us even after millennia.
Even though the great discoveries in physics were often spearheaded by few scientists, they ultimately represent a collaborative effort of several thousands of scientists who worked together to experimentally validate theories and, to a larger extent, also a conjoined effort of all humankind who directly or indirectly contribute to these efforts, perhaps even by allowing public funding to support the heroic struggles.
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