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The Research Page:  Stuff I want to do, and might get to do very soon when I'm not too busy

last updated: 09/09/1999 11:47 PM

Physics is the key to untangling the universe.  The future rests not within our hands, but in a web of twisted strings.  Some are taut, some are weak, but all are what we make them to be. 

 --Dahl Clark

Scientists often refrain from considering the philosophy of science.  They don't ask what science is about.  They are mostly concerned with practicing science.  For example, physicists don't often question what mass is, why quantum physics works, or why gravity occurs between any two masses in the universe.  They are concerned with formulating laws and theories from known facts and observations, then using their findings to make testable predictions about nature. 

However, whenever a basic symmetry or pattern is found in nature, many exciting and profound things can be discovered from it.  The fact that 1+1=2 has led to the discovery of almost all the known mathematics in human history.  The fact that the cell is the basic structure of all life is the foundation for all of biology.  The fact that we have discovered the pattern inherent in the periodic table allows us to create all the chemical compounds and substances of today.  Not wanting to find basic patterns in nature shields humankind from potentially extraordinary discoveries.  Nowhere is this problem more visible than in the world of physics.  When physicists cease to question what the basic structure or composition of the universe is, we are taking the long road to an understanding of nature.  It's kind of like trying to do calculus without knowing how to add and subtract.  That's the current problem I see in physics. 

The solution to this problem is simple.  Ask the questions that most scientists don't like to ask.  Sure, they may be difficult questions, and no one since Einstein might have made any significant contributions to their answers.  That doesn't mean that your idea might not have some value.  Be a person who wants to learn about your surroundings.  Ask why physics works or doesn't work.  Ask how quantum tunneling comes about.  Ask why elementary particles show both particle and wave properties.  If you are clueless to what I'm asking you to do, that's okay.  It's not your fault.  It's because for a long time, we've been taught to be silent and ignorant of physics.  Learn about your surroundings.  There is something much larger and more important than you and I, the earth, or even our own galaxy.  It's called Humankind's Comprehension of the Universe, or for short, Physics.  Read about it some time.