Re: Limits and Capabilities.

From: Gordon Worley (
Date: Wed Jun 12 2002 - 13:54:33 MDT

On Wednesday, June 12, 2002, at 02:28 PM, patrick wrote:

>> But don't forget, 100 years ago theoretical physics also looked like
> it
>> was pretty much dead. Everything was understood, more or less. Then
>> along comes general relativity and quantum mechanics. Oops, guess
> there
>> was some stuff we didn't know. I'm sure any TOE we come up with will
> be
>> stubbed by new discoveries. And, if we can't find any, then we'll
> just
>> have to create a new universe and start playing with that. :-)
> No, relativity and quantum mechanics were introduced to explain
> phenomena that were observed but not understood. Physics did not look
> 'dead' to anyone that was remotely interested in it.

Unless I'm completely mistaken, though, most theorists did not think
that the few remaining problems would turn out to be what they have
become. They knew that there were a few unanswered questions, but
because of recent advances they expected they would tackle these
questions like many of the rest.

At any rate, my main point is physics has a history of situations where
it looked like the end of theoretical physics was near and there'd be an
explanation for everything when it turned out that a `trivial' question
was a lot more complex than expected.

Gordon Worley                     `When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty            said, `it means just what I choose                it to mean--neither more nor less.'
PGP:  0xBBD3B003                                  --Lewis Carroll

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