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Is everything reducible to one theory?

  • Mar 24, 2008
Barrow opened my eyes to some interesting ideas about the Theories of Everything physicists have been pursuing throughout the 20th century. What if there is no Theory of everything because

1). Instead of multiple scientific theories converging as they drill down to a single root at lower levels, what if they continue branching apart?

2). What if physicists aren't discovering how the universe really is (discovering platonic universals as they claim or assume), but are only describing the universe the best way that they have yet found. The description may be no better than a very detailed "just-so" story.

Problems arise in discovering the laws, forces, and constants of nature, especially in defining the initial conditions which may have existed at the creation of the universe. The laws, forces, and constants break down at the extremes of infinity past and future, and very minute differences in initial conditions make huge differences in potential outcomes.

Another problem point for the physicists is time. Unable to account for it in their equations, or to explain why it appears to move forward inexorably when in fact they find it can appear to move backward for some subatomic particles.

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Todd Stockslager ()
Ranked #38
I love reading and writing about what I have read, making the connections and marking the comparisons and contrasts. God has given man the amazing power to invent language and the means to record it which … more
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About this book


Modern physicists believe they are getting closer to a Theory of Everything (TOE), a single, all-embracing picture of the laws of nature. Astronomer Barrow ( The World Within the World ) explores the topsy-turvy implications of current research and speculation. Some TOEs permit many possible universes to exist; in a number of creation scenarios, wormholes physically link a "Mother Universe" to simultaneously-born baby universes. Superstring theories--the most popular candidates for a viable TOE--presuppose either nine or 25 dimensions of space instead of the familiar three. Another implication is that the constants of nature--Einstein's "divine inputs"--may shift in value. A mind-boggling intellectual adventure, this thoroughgoing, often technical discussion encompasses the nature of time and current wrangling among physicists and mathematicians over whether the universe resembles a vast computer program, a kaleidoscopic pattern or neither.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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ISBN-10: 0198539282
ISBN-13: 978-0198539285
Author: John D. Barrow
Genre: Science
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
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