July 15, 2010

Explaining Gravity

The nature of science has always been to hold nature up to examination and ask again and again why it is the way it is, as Steven Weinberg put it.

And as the sphere of our understanding of the working of nature grows ever wider, we understand deeper and deeper truths.

And so, for a while now, we have known that there are four fundamental forces of nature: gravity, electromagnetism, and strong and weak nuclear interactions.

Theoretical advances have remained somewhat static since then with string theorists trying to develop some sort of a quantum understanding of gravity even as scientists excitedly await the confirmation of the existence of the Higgs boson at the LHC.

It's heartening at this juncture to hear of someone throwing a heavy stone into this somewhat quiet pond and creating ripples:


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/13/science/13gravity.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=gravity&st=cse

To be able to explain the laws of Newton as the effect of something deeper would be one of those advances in our understanding of science which happens perhaps once in a century.

The community of theoretical physicists must be excited indeed about this development.

Oh, how exciting it would be to live a thousand years from now ...

How much more broader our understanding of nature would grow in the centuries to come ...

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