The answers to the greatest problems of science: how far we’ve come?

On the nature of the Universe itself, much is unknown. It is the curiosity inherent in the people, leading to the search for answers to these questions, and moves science forward. We already have an incredible amount of knowledge, and the success of our two leading theories — quantum field theory describing the Standard model and General relativity, describing gravity — are demonstrating just how far we have come in understanding of reality itself.

Many people are pessimistic about our current attempts and future plans to solve the great cosmic mysteries that baffle us today. Our best hypotheses for new physics, including supersymmetry, extra dimensions, Technicolor, string theory, and others, are unable to obtain any experimental confirmation so far. But this does not mean that physics is in crisis. This means that everything is exactly as it should be: physics is telling the truth about the Universe. Our next steps will tell us how well we listened.

Greatest mysteries of the Universe

A century ago the great questions that we could ask included and the critical existential mysteries, such as:

  • What are the smallest constituents of matter?
  • Are our theories of the forces of nature really fundamental or do you need to get a better understanding?
  • How big is the universe?
  • Our universe has always existed or appeared at some point in the past?
  • How the stars Shine?

At the time these puzzles have occupied the minds of the greatest men. Many even thought that they can be used to find answers. In particular, they demanded the attachment so it would seem that the enormous resources that were offered just to settle for what we knew at the time, and to use this knowledge for the development of society.

Of course, we didn’t do so. Investing in society is extremely important, but it is also important to expand the frontiers of the known. Thanks to new discoveries and methods of research, we were able to get the following answers:

  • Atoms are composed of subatomic particles, many of which are divided into even smaller components; now we know the entire Standard model.
  • Our classical theory was replaced by quantum uniting the four fundamental forces: strong nuclear, electromagnetic, weak nuclear and gravitational interactions.
  • The observable universe extends 46.1 billion light years in all directions; the observable universe may be much larger, or infinite.
  • It took 13.8 billion years after the event known as the Big Bang, which gave birth to the known Universe. It was preceded by an inflationary epoch of indeterminate duration.
  • The stars Shine thanks to the physics of nuclear fusion, turning substance into energy according Einstein’s formula E = mc2.

And yet, it only deepened the scientific mysteries that surround us. With all that we know about fundamental particles, we are confident that in the Universe there must be many other things as yet unknown to us. We can’t explain the apparent presence of dark matter, understand dark energy and don’t know why the universe is expanding that way and not otherwise.

We don’t know why particles have the same mass, which have; why is the Universe filled with matterand not antimatter; why neutrinos have mass. We do not know whether the proton is stable, will fall apart if he ever is, and whether gravity is a quantum force of nature. And although we know that the Big Bang was preceded by inflation, we do not know whether it was the beginning of the inflation or it was eternal.

Can people solve these puzzles? Can do experiments that we can conduct with the use of modern or future technology, to shed light on these fundamental puzzles?

The answer to the first question, maybe; we don’t know what secrets nature keeps until view. The answer to the second question is definitely “Yes.” Even if every theory we’ve ever led on the subject of what is outside the boundaries of the known Standard model and General relativity are 100% incorrect, there is a huge amount of information that can be obtained by performing experiments that we plan to launch in the next generation. Not to build all of these settings would be a huge folly, even if to confirm the nightmare scenario is that particle physics was afraid for many years.

When you hear about the particle accelerator, you probably imagine all these new discoveries that await us at high energies. The promise of new particles, new forces, new interactions, or even entirely new sectors of physics is what I like to pogruzit theorists, even if the experiments ploshay and not keep those promises.

There’s a good reason: most of the ideas that you can think of in physics have already been either eliminated or severely limited the data that we already have. If you want to open a new particle field interaction or phenomenon, you do not need to postulate something that is incompatible with what we already know. Of course, we could make assumptions that later prove incorrect, but the data itself must be in agreement with any new theory.

That’s why the greatest efforts in physics are not new theories or new ideas and experiments that will allow us to leave what we have already explored. Of course, the discovery of the Higgs boson can lead to the hype, but how strongly Higgs is associated with a Z-boson? What are all these connections between these two and other particles in the Standard model? How easy is it to create? And after the establishment of whether the mutual decay, which will differ from the standard decay of the Higgs plus the standard Z-boson?

There are methods that can be used to study this: to create an electron-positron collision with the exact mass of the Higgs and Z-boson. Instead of a few tens or hundreds of events that give rise to the Higgs and Z-boson, as does TANK, you will be able to create thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions.

Of course, the General public and more will thrill to the discovery of new particles, than anything else, but not every experiment is designed to create new particles — and it is not necessary. Some are designed to explore the already known matter and explore in detail its properties. Large electron-positron Collider, the predecessor of the TANK and did not find any new fundamental particles. As an experiment, DESY, which pushed electrons with protons. And the relativistic heavy ion Collider too.

And this was to be expected; the purpose of these three colliders have been different. It was intended to investigate the matter, which do exist, with unprecedented accuracy.

It’s not like these experiments confirmed the Standard model, though all they found were consistent with only the Standard model. They have created a new composite particles, and measured the relationships between them. Was discovered the relationship of decay and branching, as well as the subtle differences between matter and antimatter. Some particles did not behave as their mirrored counterparts. The other kind of broken time reversal symmetry. However, it was discovered that other are mixed together, creating bound States, which we never knew existed.

The purpose of the next great scientific experiment is not to just look for something one or to test a new theory. You need to collect a huge set is not available in other relationships in the data and let that data guide the development of the industry.

Of course, we can design and build experiments or observatories, focusing on what we expect to find. But the best choice for the future of science will be a multipurpose machine which can collect large and varied amounts of data that would be impossible to do without such a huge investment. That’s why Hubble was so successful, why Fermilab and the LHC has pushed the boundaries further than ever before, and why future missions like the space telescope James Webb, the future of the Observatory is the 30-meter class or future colliders will be needed if we ever want to answer the most fundamental questions of all.

In business there’s an old saying that also applies to science: “Faster. Better. Cheaper. Select two.” The world is moving faster than ever before. If we start to save and not invest in “best”, it would be tantamount to surrender.

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0 Comments on “The answers to the greatest problems of science: how far we’ve come?”

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