We can say that the 20th century became the most productive period for physicists. At that time, it was when Albert Einstein stated his theory of generative relativity. He helped us to view that gravity is not a force. It is a distortion of space. After that, Max Plancks, Werner Heisenberg, and Erwin Schrödinger came out with their theory of quantum mechanics. It is all about the subatomic world.
In the middle of the century, physicists then discovered two more forces within the atom. It was the strong and weak nuclear forces. The final phase was in the last decades of the century. Physicists found the standard model of particle physics, an accounting of all particles and forces in the universe.
On the other hands, the new century turned out to be a rough path. We saw the discovery of the Higgs Boson and the finding of the gravitational waves about four years later. A physicist could explain the gravitational waves. But, the new ideas like string theory that no one could verify up to now.
Neil Turok as the director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada said that physicists have been doing all the theoretical work since the 1970s but they could not produce a single perfect prediction.
We do not say that physicists are not busy. Even though there are many journals published at that time, Turok explained that the research is not doing much to make them step forward and understand more about the universe.
Physics Have Lots of Activity but Very Little Progress
Today, physicists write a lot of papers and they have a lot of theoretical statements. Also, they have a lot of conferences. But, physics are also about making big successful predictions, and we are losing it. For example, Large Hadron Collider or LHC is the enormous particle accelerator. Physicist built underground near Geneva, Switzerland. They confirmed that the Higgs Boson exists. Physicists also hoped this research could bring strong evidence of supersymmetry, but there is no luck yet, until today.
Also, they have been conducting the research of dark matter particles at facilities including the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dacota. They also being conducted the research at the Gran Sasso lab in central Italy. Again, they could not find the dark matter particles.
Sabine Hossenfelder a physicist at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies in Germany asked about the essence of something that exists but we cannot observe it. Hossenfelder argued this kind of discussion should belong in the philosophy. For example, it is hard to say that multiverse is science, it should be in philosophy.
“What does it mean for something to exist if you can’t observe it?” asks Sabine Hossenfelder, a physicist at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies in Germany. “I think that’s a discussion that belongs safely in the realm of philosophy,” she adds. “People can believe in the multiverse all they want — but it’s not science.”
Math Is Real Problems
Hossenfelder also argued that today, many physicists is working under the pressure of mathematics. Hossenfelder added that theoretical physicists used to explain what was observed. But now, they try to explain why they cannot explain what was not observed.
So, Galileo became the first scientist to tell the link between the physical world and mathematics. Indeed, all successful physical theories at this time are expressed mathematically. On the other hands, there are some great thinkers being led astray by math. It was in the 17th century, Johannes Kepler, a German astronomer developed his theory. He described the orbits of the planets and it was popular as the five “Platonic solids” of Euclidian geometry. Even though it was wrong, his hypothesis was so elegant.
It Is All About Simplicity
The physicist is quite often to sight mathematical elegance in their theories. But it is also about their simplicity. You may hear about “Occam’s razor”, a dictum saying that the simpler theory is usually correct when it is about choosing between the competing theories.
Frank Wilczek is an MIT physicist, the winner of the Nobel Prize for his work dealing with strong nuclear force in 2004. He said about his hope that the laws he discovered would be beautiful. On the other hands, Wilczek explained that there is no guarantee of these things pay off. Even though they offer a good track record, but he said they do not have to work.
In fact, Wilczek could not agree more by saying that physics seemed lackluster recently. He said it was because they were so successful in the ’70s and 80’. It was the period of physicists became the good models of the world and it is still very difficult to improve on them.
When it is about supersymmetry and dark matter particle, Wilczek said it is too soon to bury this idea. Also, he said that we only need to be patient. Turok also remains optimistic that the new era of physics is getting closer. He argued that physics call for some young person to come and produce the bold new ideas like relativity or quantum theory.