Sunday, November 16, 2008

An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything....?

Besides keeping up with the great thoughts and grand visions of our leaders, I actually spend a lot of time reading about what is going on in the world of Physics. Recently, the Europeans turned on the LHC (Large Hadron Collider), its a large machine that will that accelerates beams of particles in opposite directions to get them to collide close to the speed of light. For the older folks who did physics long time ago, matter is made up of atoms if you recall are made up electrons, protons and neutrons....if you did A' level phsics 20 years ago, it stopped here. However, physicist found that there are sub-particles within each is these "elementary" particles if you smash them up. These sub-particles are known as quarks, leptons etc. Over the years scientists have developed a model known as the Standard Model - particle physics has been empirically determined through experiments over the past fifty years. Currently the Standard Model predicts that there is one more particle to be discovered, the Higgs boson. One of the reasons for building the LHC is that the increase in energy is expected to make the Higgs observable. If they can't find this article, the last 50 years of work on the Standard Model will go into the dustbin....but they are likely to succeed. The problem with the Standard Model is it is an empirical one derived via experiments and tweaking various constants to fit the experimental observation. It does not explain why these particles exists. To do that is the Holy Grail of Physics that will explain the particles and unify Quantum Theory and Relativity - in simple English, a Theory of Everything. Right now there are 2 major competing theories Quantum Loop Theory and String Theory. Many of the renowned physicists of our day have invested their entire lives and careers into String Theory, a mathematically complex theory....and a smaller number believe that Quatum Loop Theory is the way to go.

Who is correct is an article of faith. But both theories are complex and no experiment today can prove either correct. If you stake your entire career on either it is quite depressing if you find yourself on the wrong side of the experimental evidence. In science there is this idea known as the Occam's Razor ....the best solutions or explanation to a phenomena is the simplest one that can explain all observations - the simplest theory is likely to be the one that is correct.

"Surfer dude stuns physicists with the Theory of Everything" - Daily Telegraph

In Nov 2007, a little known physicist Antony Garrett Lisi put out a pre-preprint of a paper entitled "An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything". The paper initially received accolades and plenty of criticism....but became largely ignored by most physicists. There are thousands of papers written on String Theory and these would be invalidated if Lisi's simple theory turns out to be true. We will find out in a few months as the LHC generates more results. Lisi's theory predicts 22 new particles. The String Theory proponents believe that some results from the LHC showing the disappearance of energy into another dimension can help to support their theory.


Anonymous said...

How to turn a sphere inside out

yamizi said...

very chim

Onlooker said...

And there are still people who thinks the world will be destroyed when LHC is turned

Anonymous said...

the Occam's Razor can be applied to many major developments in human's science.

for example, before any revolutionary ideas (eg Newton's Law, Einstein's theory) usually with simple looking maths emerge, humans tend to indulge in building complex sophisticated stuffs, and most of the time, intuitive reasoning turns out to be false, and only gets more overly complex, just like the financial world.

And we have Mr Hen Minister saying,"thing is not that simple" about your CPF.
There is only one simple answer: PAP is using your CPF $$$ to grow their bank accounts.

Anonymous said...

Man(kind) should just be born, live and die.

Forget about Sciences that are too chim(complex) and hardly matters in one's existence. A simple ignorant guy like me talks rightly or wrongly about the 4th Dimension and beyond only for fun. After all, for me, Science evolves, Nature does not. Species become extinct, no new life is created beyond the Natural Process, since the day of Adam.

Was there an Adam? Yes and I am very sure there were more than one. Man(kind) in(by) any name is man, just that there are Male, Female, Black, Dark, Brown, Yellow and White etc. Any scientist knows why the different colours? For varieties la.

Why some species no leg, two legs, four legs, multiple legs, why no three legs(naturally)? Why no one eye species?
Don't ask so much lah. Nature creates everything and man created
nothing. Though scientists discover parts of the Mystery of Nature, they have not uncovered much.

I have wanted to fly since I was a very young boy, but until now, not a slightest strand of a feather grows on my body though the wish remains. I imagine my ancesters of million years ago should have had similar wishes. But fly man does, on invented wings.

Be simplest by just live and die, the Rests are of secondary importance, much less important than happiness.


Anonymous said...

anon 4:06PM,

you sound like a proponent of Intelligent Design.

Anonymous said...

simple is beautiful.

But, what have these theories got to do with the Sinpaore situation?

Borrowing natural science theory to solve social science problem?

Anonymous said...

"don't ask so much"??
I guess evangelical christians would like us to go back to the simple days of the dark ages, where life span was short and sweet, medical knowledge almost non-existent, but the resultant power and control of society quite immense in such theocracies....

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the video. This new theory is indeed fascinating.