24 April, 2012

A-Z Blogging Challenge: Unified Theory

Hubble Ultra Deep Field. Public domain image. SOURCE.
The Unified Theory of physics, also known as the Grand Unified Theory (GUT) or Theory of Everything (TOE), is a yet-to-be-found theory that would bring together the strong force, weak force, electromagnetic force, and gravity into a single theory.

The history of the search for a unified theory started with James Maxwell, who from 1861-65 demonstrated that electricity and magnetic fields were related, in his theory of electromagnetism. Then, in 1881-84, Heinreich Hertz discovered light and radio waves were also examples of electromagnetism. Albert Einstein tried for 30 years but could not find a theory that united the remaining forces.

There have been several theories proposed as solutions to GUT. One is supersymmetry (it proposes that all matter has a massive "shadow" force carrier), and another string theory (the idea there are more than three dimensions and that particles consist of strings and membranes), but there is no theory that has been broadly accepted.

And today there are three Notable scientists who have worked on unified field-related research. Three, because I was having trouble narrowing it down to one (links will take you to past A-Z Challenge posts on this blog, with the info about the scientists at the bottom):




If a unified theory is found, what kind of effect do you think it will have on physics? On other fields?

-----The Golden Eagle


Simon Kewin said...

I don't know - but I'll bet it will be a beautifully simple idea and people will wonder why they didn't think of it before ...

Anna Smith said...

Sounds fascinating. Would love for them to figure it out before I die, just so I know! :)

Old Kitty said...

I love these thinkers! It's too mind boggling to explain the theory of the universe in one big go - but why not!! Take care

Em-Musing said...

I agree with Simon. It's probably so simple, that scientists aren't thinking that way.

Pat Hatt said...

I'm sure if it is found one might stub their toe and get a punch to the gut..LOL...couldn't help myself. But yeah it might change the way we thought things work, if it is found.

Melissa Sugar said...

Another fascinating post. I am curious to know, but this is all so far above my head. I have enjoyed reading about the different theories during this challenge.

Anonymous said...

"Albert Einstein tried for 30 years but could not find a theory that united the remaining forces." I'm kinda thinking that if he could not "find" it, it may not be there, and it's just something we WANT to be there.

This is the "man creates his own boundaries/beliefs" part of me speaking, no way scientific.

Tyrean Martinson said...

This is really interesting . . .I don't know how it would change things but I'm sure that it would. I think it would change not just physics but how we see the world around us.

Noushka said...

I see you mention Michio Kaku!
Without having read much about him, I enjoyed a few of his presentations I agree to most of what he brings forward!
I am not sure people are reading to take in all of what he has to say!
I am interested to if scientist can truly pull this TOE together, and if yes with maybe a little help... But Michio Kaku would have an idea... :)
Well done GE!!

Charles Gramlich said...

I think it'll be a while. but if it happens I suspect our whole way of thinking about the universe will be altered.

Matt said...

Love reading about stuff like this. I'm familiar with Michio Kaku's obsession to find a unified theory. To be honest, I have no idea what effect it will have on physics but it would be cool to find out :).

S. L. Hennessy said...

I'd like to think if they can find a way to unite everything in the universe, they can unite the different cultures of the world. But maybe the Theory of Everything is easier to figure out.

The Golden Eagle said...

Simon: That does seem to happen often with scientific theories. :P

Anna: Same here.

Old Kitty: The scientific community seems to agree with you. Try, try again. :)

Em-Musing: And then it could just take one clear-headed person to find the answer . . .

Pat: Probably. :P

It will be interesting to see if a Unified Theory is found and does actually change things.

Melissa: Thanks! :)

I'm glad you've enjoyed it.

Stuart: True, Albert Einstein was one of the better-equipped to find the theory.

Tyrean: I really hope a Unified Theory is found; as you said, it could have an impact on fields outside of physics.

Noushka: I need to read one of Michio Kaku's books. And awesome that you got to see his presentations!

Thank you. :)

Charles: Yup.

Matt: I agree--it definitely would!

The Golden Eagle said...

S. L.: Sadly, that might just be true. Numbers are hard facts, and people change all the time. :P Also, they hold grudges . . .

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Three dimensions? I wonder what those would be?

Andrew Leon said...

I read a pretty interesting book a number of years ago that dealt with string theory and multiple dimensions. 11 dimensions, to be exact; although, I can't remember why there needed to be 11, just that 11 was the number needed. It was a book I borrowed, though, and I don't remember the name or the author :(

Jay Noel said...

I think once the Higgs particle is actually observed, GUT will come together.

Rusty Webb said...

I think a TOE wii have about as big an impact as decoding the human genome did. Meaning, not much - at least for a while. I mean, understanding relativity doesn't really help us travel at relativistic speeds. I think there may be some truly beautiful understanding that could stem from that but again, no practical changes in our daily lives.

And if dark energy is a force then where does it fit into things? What if there are other facets of nature we are entirely ignorant of that we've not glimpsed yet? I think a GUT is a noble pursuit, but it might be centuries away yet.

Cheryl Klarich said...

I really liked this post! It got me thinking about common threads, and, for some reason, music.

Maybe I need to listen to The Planets symphony by Gustav Holst! Thanks!

Cherie Reich said...

Ooo, I've never heard of the unified theory, but it makes sense why scientists would be looking for one.

Anonymous said...

I've come across this phrase, and now I know what it means.

I love the endless research in science and the thirst for knowledge.

Nancy Thompson said...

I don't know but man, would I love to travel through time!!

Li said...

I'm not convinced that we will ever find a unified theory, but it would be nice!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

If they figure it out, will we realize how everything we do affects just about everything else.

mshatch said...

not sure what effect a unified theory might have on physics but I would expect some new technology, maybe a big advances in communication or travel.

Christine Rains said...

I think Simon has it right too. We'll be amazed that we didn't see it before. I didn't study science, but I studied Philosophy and there are some really odd unifying theories in that aspect.

Melody Jackson said...

Hmm, this is interesting! The effects of something like this could be huge. Think of all the books on physic that would be outdated. It would be cool if we found out there are more than three dimensions.

P.S. Your blog's eagle pictures are pretty.

L.G.Smith said...

It's mind boggling for me to think about time, electricity, electromagnetism, gravity, all being connected as if they're all just different wavelengths of a spectrum, but I could see it working the same way as light going from ultraviolet to infrared.

Cherie Larkins said...

Theories are always interesting,but to search for one big theory to unify all the others...hmm. I don't know. The universe is complex and simple at the same time.

Erin M. Hartshorn said...

I think that the search for a unified theory will yield interesting results that can be applied elsewhere. If and when a TOE is found, we might actually get out to the stars. Or decide that's thinking too small. Depends on the ramifications of the particular theory, I guess.


J. A. Bennett said...

I can't say what affect it will have, but I can say that I think everything is connected. If this is proven it may change the way we look at the world.

Romance Reader said...

I remember trying to come up with answers for questions like these in our physics class last year. Interesting post!


Sean McLachlan said...

I love that Hubble Ultra Deep Field Image. The original image is HUGE and there a thousands of galaxies in it. The universe is so vast I think the GUT or TOE or whatever you want to call it is magnificently complex.

The Golden Eagle said...

Alex: The ones we humans exist in. ;)

Andrew: I heard that there are supposedly 11 dimensions with string theory. I can't remember why, either.

Jay: Good point! The Higgs boson is definitely a big question.

Rusty: Unfortunately. Wouldn't it be great if we could. :P

More unknowns, definitely!

Cheryl: Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. :)

I love that piece of music. You're quite welcome!

Cherie: Scientists are always on the hunt for the simplest common denominator.

Medeia: Me, too. :) One of the reasons I want to study it . . .

Nancy: If you invent a time machine, send an email this way. ;)

Li: For sure!

Susan: That would be an interesting implication; perhaps it would allow scientists greater prediction capabilities, at least at the atomic level.

Mshatch: I'm hoping for FTL. :)

Christine: My mom and I were in the bookstore yesterday and looking at the Philosophy section--based on some of those titles, I got that impression. :P

Melody: I agree, it would!

Glad you like them--all courtesy of a widget I added that gathers them from Picasa Web Albums based on keywords!

L.G.: I like your analogy. You wouldn't think electromagnetic radiation was connected as a natural train of thought!

Cherie: Very true. :)

Erin: Traveling beyond the stars--now that sounds like a great novel.

J. A.: Who knows. It's not an impossibility . . .

Riya: Thank you!

Sean: Hubble has generated some brilliant images. I had to post at least one of them. ;)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Golden .. I know Stephen Hawking and wrote a post about him over at Stephen Tremp's blog on 13 March 2012 .. and read .. Michio Kaku .. while Brian Greene I must find out about ..

Interesting history .. thanks - Hilary

The Golden Eagle said...

Hilary: Brian Greene is a really interesting scientists--though that's just IMO, of course. :)

You're welcome!