Topic: Unification in Physics?
June 18, 2019 / By Abigail Question:
Do you think setting Unification as a goal as opposed to a consequence of research is making the data fit the theory and is an unscientific approach.
Stewart | 6 days ago
Depends on the researcher doesn't it? If the researcher's goal is catching up to a mirage and she fails to see it as not real, then a lot of time and effort will have been wasted. But if there is evidence that the goal is real and attainable, then, no, setting goals helps to keep the research focused and effective.
There is evidence along the historical way of science that the unification goal is doable and attainable. The Kaluza-Klein equations, for example, add a fifth dimension to the general theory of relativity and, ta da, come up with addition equations that are exactly the Maxwell equations for EM. And there, sports fans, gravity in the original GTR and electro-magnetic force in Maxwell's equations have been merged into one set of equations. Only the strong and weak nuclear force fields are missing. [See source.]
[As an aside, the EM and the weak nuclear forces have been merged into the electro-weak force equations. I do not know how these equations relate to Maxwell's equations if at all. But if there is a connection, then that might mean the only thing missing now from the GTR with the fifth dimension is the strong nuclear force field. Perhaps someone else can provide some insight to this possibility?]
Goal setting does not eliminate serendipitous discovery. For example, the goal for Michelson and Morley was to find the aether through which light traveled. They didn't find that, it doesn't exist, but they did find that the speed of light in a vacuum was the same no matter where the source and observer were, or what they were doing. And that led to the special theory of relativity.
Nor is goal setting unscientific. In fact, the scientific method demands that a purpose, a goal, be specified up front before the theory, background, and testing are specified and implemented. The scientific method is a tried and true, rigorous approach that minimizes skepticism because it demands proof at every step of the way. Just ask all the PhD's who have suffered through the agonies of defending their dissertations.
unification is a goal of the *theory*. it's already been done for E&M+weak ("electroweak" theory) and in some sense Quantum Chromodynamics unifies with the electroweak theory...
the only thing that has avoided a consensus theoretical unification is gravity.
on terms of the research, you are aware of the energy scale at which grand unification occurs, right? we simply cannot ever build an accelerator large enough to probe interactions on those energy scales...
It is not unscientific to try to find a working theory that explains observation better than current theory. The goal unifying physics is to form a theory that works equally for:
General relativity: things atom size and larger, high mass/energy
Quantum mechanics: things smaller than an atom and low mass/energy
Plus the 3rd case: small things that are high mass/energy (black holes and the Big Bang)
Originally Answered: How do I ace a physics final?
Definitely review your homework and the tests you have already taken this semester. A good way to start is to take your previous tests, hide your previous answers (don't look at them), and see if you can answer them now.
If your teacher gave you any study guides or made suggestions about what to focus on, follow his advice. Make sure you find out if the test is comprehensive. Sometimes my finals only covered the last material we studied.
Break down your time. Don't study too much in one go. Study for a while, take a break, and study again. It really will help. If you study better at a certain time of day, or in a certain place, go there.
If studying with your classmates would help, you might see about forming study groups.
The worst thing to do is to try and cram at the last minute. I've done it, and it isn't fun, and it doesn't work as well. Start studying now! Tonight! Study a section, do something else, and study another section. Then go back later and review.
Try to condense the most important parts. If you are allowed to bring a page of equations, definitely do that. Writing down equations repeatedly helped me a lot, especially if you are not allowed to have them during your test.
Much of this depends on your teacher and your teacher's style. If possible, ask your teacher if there is anything specific you can review. Many teachers do a review before the test. Pay careful attention to it!
One more time: break it down. Don't try to study everything at once. Take breaks. This is probably the most important thing you can do.