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Guru
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Oh, for the Simple Days

10/14/2006 5:07 AM

A cute article: Oh, for the Simple Days of the Big Bang by GEORGE JOHNSON (College4 of The New York Times) is really worth a read.

It is about the latest difficulties and absurdities in physical cosmology and concluded with: "...new ideas, some physicists complain, are a dime a dozen. What they crave is new data, perhaps from the Large Hadron Collider scheduled to go online near Geneva next year."

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The Engineer
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#1

Re: Oh, for the Simple Days

10/14/2006 1:52 PM

The current era in science reminds me of the environment in the late 19th century. Everyone was convinced that they had things pretty much settled but things kept popping up that seemed confusing. The wave and particle nature of light. The small irregularities in orbits, the inability to find an aether.

Fast forward to today and we have a geometric description and particle descriptions of forces that seem to contradict, large scale gravitational abnormalities, asymmetries in how some forces act, none of which is adequately explained. This is usually the sort of stuff that requires a new theory.

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Guru
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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Oh, for the Simple Days

10/14/2006 2:47 PM

Yes Roger, I agree, but the Theory of Everything is just so damn hard to crack...

Grand Unification may perhaps be a pipe dream? Maybe the next breakthrough will improve things, but never solve it all!

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The Engineer
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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Oh, for the Simple Days

10/14/2006 4:55 PM

You wrote: "Grand Unification may perhaps be a pipe dream? Maybe the next breakthrough will improve things, but never solve it all!"

Agreed. I doubt we've even scratched the surface. There seems to be so much complexity out there that we barely understand and who knows what problems and complexities will lie beyond our present ones.

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Commentator

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#4

Re: Oh, for the Simple Days

10/14/2006 11:59 PM

Off-handedly I have to ask, if everything finally came together and all the problematic equations became solved, what would we do as scientists?

I don't think we'll ever find out everything about everything, an introspective which begs the question: "Which is more worthwhile, the search or the find"?

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Guru
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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Oh, for the Simple Days

10/15/2006 1:01 AM

Yep, I recall Stephen Hawking's address in the 90's: "Is the end of Physics, as we know it, in sight?"

If I recall correctly, he said all the major 'problems' in physics may be solved within a decade, but that may rather take the 'fun out of physics'.

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Guru
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#6

Re: Oh, for the Simple Days

10/15/2006 12:58 PM

...and if Congress hadn't killed the SSC, we might be a lot further along in our understanding.

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Guru

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#7

Re: Oh, for the Simple Days

10/16/2006 4:57 AM

Just as a side line I'd like to point out a sort of extension to the anthropic principle.

Of all the possible physics' the only ones which do not self destruct (any progress towards structure), are the ones which constrain time to one sense of direction.

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