Photo by Raul Varzar on Unsplash

Let’s talk about quantum mechanics.

We can only put off learning about quantum mechanics for so long and this is the place to start. Whatever we may want out of a theory of everything, it must be quantum mechanical in some limit. The universe is quantum mechanical, and as much as some would like it to be otherwise, you cannot argue with nature and nature is quantum mechanical. The question today is, how did we discover this remarkable fact?

There is an old saying, “success has many parents, but failure is an orphan.” There is nothing wrong with being an…


Photo by Aditya Chinchure on Unsplash

Turning my attention back to the theory of everything, I want to draw a “big picture” of the different paths taken in a search for a theory of everything and to plot a course forward. I still need to elaborate on all these disparate pieces so we can understand what has prevented us from writing down a working theory of everything. This is a long story that I am breaking into many bite sized parts. There are many threads to which I will return.

There are problems when building a theory of everything, as we have defined it. Many of…


Photo by Franki Chamaki on Unsplash

I am going to take a small break from my writing on the theory of everything to address a few thoughts I had this week about the uses and abuses of big data. Why have a blog if you can’t write about what is on your mind? I may return to this topic to further flesh out some of my ideas.

I was sent a paper this week that was addressing the uses and misuses of big data in medicine. I am not going to link to the paper for several reasons. First, I am not a medical doctor so…


Photo by Laura Ockel on Unsplash

When we started this journey, we first asked if we needed a theory of everything, and if a theory of everything was even possible. But before we jump into the details in our future posts, it would also be appropriate to ask what we should expect from a theory of everything.

Remember that I have defined a theory of everything as an as-yet unknown theory that would allow us to understand our entire universe within one self-consistent framework. When students take my ‘theory of everything’ class, this definition often leads to questions about free will and personality and the origin…


Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

We have barely begun my series about a possible theory of everything and there is still much to discuss. When we finished last time, we inadvertently left an important question unasked. Although I have not filled you in on the details yet, I’ve told you that the two theories we currently use to describe our universe, quantum field theory and general relativity, are mutually incompatible. Because of this, at least one of these theories must be wrong (to some degree) and perhaps both will eventually be replaced or corrected. …


Photo by Mark König on Unsplash

The search for a so-called theory of everything is a deep topic and is perhaps the greatest open question in theoretical physics today. A theory of everything would be an as-yet unknown theory that would allow us to understand our entire universe within one self-consistent framework.

This search can be looked at through the lens of so many topics that there is something for everyone in this search. There are wonderful stories from the history of science, ever better experiments and calculations from the past to projected projects in the future, definitions and arguments within the philosophy of science, discussions…


Photo by Aurélien Clément Ducret on Unsplash

Let others praise ancient times, I am glad I was born in these.
Ovid, Ars Amatoria, III.121–2 (published 2 AD)

Will there ever be an end of physics, and if so, are we approaching it?

I know this seems like a low priority question. An end of physics? What’s next? No more algebra homework? The FDA telling us that we are eating too many vegetables?

Why would I even ask this question? Recently, Quanta Magazine published an article called Contemplating the End of Physics by Robbert Dijkgraaf who is the current director of the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) in…


“Last train to Toronto” by Jamie McCaffrey is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

So, I’ve decided to write a blog (of sorts).

In the past, I have alternately thought of writing a blog or starting a podcast. I truly enjoy both, but two things have previously stopped me. First, I was afraid that I would simply never have time to write updates of any depth or breadth or alternatively record anything new and noteworthy. The internet is replete with dead blogs and discarded podcasts. Second, I feared that even if I was able to generate new content with any regularity that I would very quickly run out of anything interesting to say.

I…

Bryan J. Field

Dr. Bryan J. Field is a theoretical high-energy physicist and Associate Professor of Physics. Author, “A Theory of Everything” (MIT Press, Fall 2021)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store