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Is there a Final Theory of Everything (TOE)? How close are we?

The Human Collective
Published on 30 Sep 2022 / In Science

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0:00 - What is a TOE?
2:01 - Why is the sky blue, why, why?
5:17 - Chart of unifications
8:20 - Beyond the TOE
Is a theory of everything really possible? What makes us think it even exists? If we look at historical precedent, we can see that we have united seemingly completely unrelated forces and particles to a more basic set of principles. For example, celestial gravity and terrestrial gravity was united by Isaac Newton. Electricity and Magnetism were united by James Clerk Maxwell. All atoms are now known to be made of the same quarks and electrons.

If a child asks you “why is the sky blue?” – The answer you might give him is because blue light scatters more in the air than other colors, and you see the more scattered color. What if he kept asking why? “Why does blue light scatter more?” and why? again and again. Eventually, you would not have an answer. A theory of everything would allow us to answer all why questions.

What would a theory of everything look like? At a minimum, it should provide a theoretical basis for at least two things – a fundamental building block or particle and a fundamental force.

At one time atoms were thought to be the fundamental building block, then later discoveries showed that the other particles of the standard model are fundamental. Likewise, we don’t currently have one fundamental force. Traditionally, we talk about 4. The Strong force, electromagnetism, the weak force, and gravity.

Can the forces be unified? it is possible if we go by historical precedent, because we have united forces in the past. For example, we now know that electricity, magnetism, light and chemistry are really manifestations of a single force - electromagnetism. But this was not obvious in the past.

Universal gravitation and electromagnetism were the two great unifications of history. More recently, quantum mechanics unified atomic theory and Newtonian mechanics. Mass and energy were unified by special relativity in 1905 by Albert Einstein. 10 years later, Space, time, and gravity were unified by general relativity also by Einstein.

In the 1940s, Special relativity, quantum mechanics and electromagnetism were unified with the theory of quantum electrodynamics mainly by Dirac, Feynman, Schwinger and Tomonaga. Then in the 1960’s, QED was unified with the weak force, with the advent of the electroweak theory by Glashow, Salam, and Weinberg.

And less than 50 years ago in the 70s, QCD or quantum chromodynamics was developed. It describes the mechanism of the strong nuclear force. This is the force that hold the quarks inside protons and neutrons, and glues them together in the nucleus of atoms.

One of the biggest questions in science is, how is the Electroweak force related to the strong nuclear force. In other words, how are QED, the weak force, and QCD united? The potential unification of these has been given the name, the grand unified theory, or GUT.

If we can combine quantum mechanics and general relativity, we would have a theory of quantum gravity. Finally, if we can combine the grand unified theory with quantum gravity, we would have a strong candidate for a theory of everything.

But our work would probably not be done because we would still need to explain how the big bang came to be, what happened prior to the big bang, and why there is so much more matter than antimatter. There is also the question of what is 96% of the universe made of - what is dark matter and dark energy.

The most popular TOE is String theory, which posits that all particles are fundamentally different vibrations of a single entity – string-like objects. The vibrations of these objects in 6-7 hidden dimension is what we perceive as the various fundamental particles and force carriers of nature.
But there is a lesser known theory called Quantum Holonomy theory, or QHT. It posits that nature is fundamentally the mathematics of moving things in empty space. Some of its implications are that all forces are quantized, but gravity is not, there is no infinite hole inside black holes, and the Big Bang could not have come from nothing.

This theory and how it fits with our current understanding of the universe, will be the subject of my next video.

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