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krrazypassions's avatar

How will a Theory of Everything or a Grand Unified Theory affect the way we live?

Asked by krrazypassions (1332 points ) May 13th, 2011

Einstein is said to have “wasted” second half of his life in trying to ignore Quantum Mechanics and come up independently with a Grand Unified Theory that would explain all the four basic forces of nature and unite the laws of both the very small (presently governed by Quantum Mechanics- and encompassing weak force, strong force and electromagnetism) and the large(governed by Relativity and describing gravity). Some of us think that maybe with additional dimensions and string theory, we will have our theory of everything finally, and are looking forward for some big evidences from LHC, CERN.
Some others send us shivering by telling that there might be other basic forces than the 4 known.

Anyways, suppose we do find this Grand Unified Theory, how will it affect the way we live daily?

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12 Answers

blueiiznh's avatar

I hardly think anything Einstein did was wasted.

I would kill to have as much brain power as he had in his little pinky.

mazingerz88's avatar

The effect may not manifest quickly enough to change the way we live daily. But surely the knowledge would captivate our thoughts and imagination. And from this realization, it then depends on intelligent human beings like scientists to figure out how to benefit humankind with this new kind of knowledge. Personally, if the knowledge gives me the capability to manipulate my body atoms I’ll probably do it and do some X-Men like stunts. Cool.

Regarding Einstein, he probably knew his time on Earth was limited so he gave us a grand schematic he knew others would tinker and tweak upon to complete the details at a much later time.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

Very little actually. People will still be putting their pants on one leg at a time. It isn’t going to change the way we make toast. It will probably not change the way we make anything. Only a tiny subset of humanity will ever come to grips with the theory seriously. Would it still represent a tremendous achivement, yes I think it would.

RocketGuy's avatar

If we knew how all these forces worked together, we could conceivably create:
– newer, safer energy sources (maybe fusion finally?)
– new lighting and heating/cooking methods (beyond LEDs and microwave ovens)
– wondrous new materials (like nanomaterials)
– new communication methods (beyond fiber optics)
– new propulsion methods, maybe for space travel (warp drive, FTL drive)

CaptainHarley's avatar

The way you ( I won’t be around ) will live is impossible to imagine yet. Every new advance in science has altered our lives in unanticipated ways. For example, who would have believed that the Theory of Relativity would produce something like television?

We can, however, hazard some guesses: mind being given far more direct control over matter; FTL drive; nanotechnology with the ability to build anything from atoms ( talk about the Philosopher’s Stone! ); anti-gravity; practical immortality; etc. The sky is NOT the limit! : )

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@krrazypassions ”...affect the way we live?”

I’m glad you used “affect” instead of “effect”. There is a vast chasm between thought/affect and cause/effect.

@krrazypassions “Some others send us shivering by telling that there might be other basic forces than the 4 known.”

Shiver me timbers, for Marxist Materialism is surely soon to fall. Accepting consciousness as the necessary fifth force has indeed changed how I live. Rather than being subject to the big four, they now become subject to me. Although they can effect me with defined limits, I can affect them in as of yet undefined limitless ways.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

The essential behavior of matter and electromagnetism is very well accounted for by quantum electrodynamics. Chemistry and materials engineering are still in the infant stages of using QED to solve technological problems. QED should suffice as theory underpinning anything nanotechnology could come up with. (If my understanding is correct, femtotechnology would get by with QCD.)

GUTs and TOEs tell you what happens when you crank the energy up to quite horrendously extreme levels, as in the universe hasn’t seen the like since 10^-36 seconds after the Big Bang.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

Senator John Pastore: “Is there anything connected in the hopes of this accelerator [Fermilab] that in any way involves the security of this country?”

Robert Rathbun Wilson: “No sir; I do not belive so.”

Pastore: “Nothing at all?”

Wilson: “Nothing at all.”

Pastore: “It has no value in that respect?”

Wilson: “It only has to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. It has to do with those things. It has nothing to do with the military, I am sorry.”

Pastore: “Don’t be sorry for it.”

Wilson: “I am not, but I cannot in honesty say it has any such application.”

Pastore: “Is there anything here that projects us in a position of being competitive with the Russians, with regard to this race?”

Wilson: “Only from a long-range point of view, of a developing technology. Otherwise, it has to do with: Are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things that we really venerate and honor in our country and are patriotic about. In that sense, this new knowledge has all to do with honor and country but it has nothing to do directly with defending our country, except to make it worth defending.”


krrazypassions's avatar

@blueiiznh Einstein’s work led to the birth of Quantum Mechanics. However, as more and more startling results of Quantum Theory started coming out, Einstein grew more and more skeptical of it, even though a lot of major developments in both technology and theoretical physics were facilitated due to the Quantum Theory. Einstein hated the probabilistic nature of it, having said “God does not play dice” to Neils Bohr, who replied, “Don’t tell God what he should do”. Einstein loved the idea of a predictable universe, not a probabilistic one. And hence, he ignored the growing science of Quantum theory for the second half of his life and moved in the opposite direction trying to find the TOE without taking quantum theory into account. If he had embraced the weirdness of quantum theory, he might have given us the TOE within his lifetime!

So you see how arrogance can waste even the greatest person’s life. I say “wasted”, because it was not as if he had stopped working and moved on to other things.He desperately tried to come up with this TOE till his last breathe while continuing to neglect the results of quantum theory. Maybe even if he was alive today, he would not have got this TOE, unless he accepted the quantum theory!

RocketGuy's avatar

Science can get us the most powerful weapons on the planet! Good selling point for Senators.

atch's avatar

The GUT does not exist.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@atch So what? The question asks: ”if the theory did exist, how would that affect our lives?”

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