Physics Awaits New Options as Standard Model Idles – New York Times


Will no one deliver us from this present state of affairs? (Great article on the present moment in Physics – and the roadblock that it seems to have hit.) Almost all the truly bizarre stuff one reads about in modern physics is really just an attempt to find a way to break through the blockage described in this morning’s article:

“Forget the lifetime tenure, the travel, the six-figure book contracts — what professional physicists live for is the tsunami moment when they know something that nobody else has ever known, the revelatory flash of a new glimpse into the workings of what Stephen Hawking, the Cambridge University cosmologist, called ‘the Mind of God.’

Alas, God, as reflected in the known laws of physics, hasn’t gotten any smarter since the 1970’s. It was then that particle physicists put the finishing touches on the Standard Model, a collection of theories describing all the physical forces except gravity.

They have been stuck in that model, like birds in a gilded cage, ever since. The Standard Model agrees with every experiment that has been performed since. But it doesn’t say anything about the most familiar force of all, gravity. Nor does it explain why the universe is matter instead of antimatter, or why we believe there are such things as space and time.

‘Is there physics beyond the Standard Model?’ runs the refrain often repeated by David Gross, the director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics and a co-winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize for his part in constructing this mathematical edifice.”

Read the rest here: Physics Awaits New Options as Standard Model Idles – New York Times

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...