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ETpro's avatar

Here's one to keep us on our toes. What's your gut feel about GUT and TOE? (see details)

Asked by ETpro (34461points) September 29th, 2010

GUT or Grand Unified Theory generally refers to a theory of particle physics unifying, at very high energies, the Gage Interactions of the Standard Model of Physics, the Strong Force with the Weak Force and the Electromagnetic Force. The energy required to observe such a merger is a few orders of magnitude below the Plank scale—or the energy which would have been present in the first few femptoseconds of the Universe. This is many orders of magnitude more energy than our largest particle colliders can marshal today, so unless we can make the connection via indirect observation, it may be some time before we are able to replicate the conditions necessary to make the needed measurements and observations.

TOE or Theory of Everything is the euphemistic name for a theory unifying the three Gage Interactions mentioned above with Gravity and the General Relativity understanding of it. Presumably, if there is such a theory, it would unify everything. It would explain all the forces and their interactions. And, if we were able to measure initial conditions completely enough, it would allow us to predict any future outcome controlled by deterministic behavior. But it is thought that we would need a collider capable of producing energy near the Planck scale (1.22 × 10^19 GeV) to study unification of Gravity with the other 3 forces.

Let’s review how far unification has already gone. We have unified electric and magnetic fields into the Electromagnetic Force. We have unified Electromagnetism with the Weak Nuclear Force to yield the Weak Electronuclear Force. Unifying it with the Strong Nuclear Interaction would get us to the GUT or Unified Electronuclear Force. And merging that force with Gravity would bring us to the Theory of Everything.

So, what’s your gut feel? Will we get a toe hold on this? Will GUT and TOE happen? When? Care to guess what we will determine?

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7 Answers

crazyivan's avatar

I think any postualting on when is a bit premature. I can’t help but feel that there are a few missing pieces of the puzzle yet and that many of our assumptions will have to be rethought before we get to the GUT.

Not to use this question as a soap box, but if the US continues to turn away from science and defund so many promising research projects, we will certainly slow the process. While other nations are fast moving to fill the void we’re creating, it can only go so far if the world’s wealthiest nation sitting it out for the large part.

Great question. I predict much fun in this thread…

ETpro's avatar

@crazyivan Thanks for the feedback. I hear what you are saying about the growing know-nothing tide where politicians score points by labeling people who are educated as some sirt of alien, elite life to be spurned and avoided by “real” Americans. It might be yielding short term political gain, but it is slowly destroying the very country they hope to rule.

crazyivan's avatar

My passion on the subject started when we ceded the LHC to Europe… we could have been making our own blackholes in Texas years ago, but no… we had to defund it because somebody figured it was better to spend ⅓rd the money on a big useless underground loop than it was to spend the whole sum on something that could push the boundary of human understanding forward in radical leaps.

I find it incomprehensible that people can actually believe that the people that know the most about something should not be the people in charge of it. This notion of “elitism” is a sham. I mean, aren’t these “Ivy-league elitists” the ones that are always pushing for the social reforms that would help the people on the lowest rung of the ladder?

Sorry… hijacking is over… now back to your regularly scheduled thread about GUT and TOE.

ETpro's avatar

@crazyivan I truly feel your pain. Not sure the OP is going to get much action. It must be something not many of us speculate about.

mattbrowne's avatar

TOE will eventually be replaced by TORE to cover really everything.

krrazypassions's avatar

Our limited knowledge about Dark Energy and Dark Matter and new reports suggesting the existence of a fifth fundamental force sheds light on the fact that we might be far from knowing what “everything” is, let alone discover a grand law that governs it. While optimism, perseverance and a lot of curiosity will always benefit our search for GUT and TOE, we frankly can’t be sure where we stand today.

ETpro's avatar

@krrazypassions I think you are exactly right. @mattbrowne TORE may turn out to be an acronym for Theory Of s Restricted Everything.

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