2020-07-05

Has modern physics reached its bottleneck? Is human technology really locked by”Tokoko”?

By yqqlm yqqlm

Looking back in the past, at the beginning of the 20th century, the emergence of quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity refreshed people’s worldview, allowing human beings to understand time and space With a new understanding of the relationship with matter, the rapid development of human science and technology. At the beginning of the 21st century, there were no explosive discoveries in physics. To be precise, there were no major discoveries in the basic field. Has the development of physics encountered a bottleneck? Is it true that as described in the science fiction novel Three Body, the scientific development of mankind has been locked up by high-level civilization.

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In fact physics Not only has learning stopped in the past 100 years, but it has developed much faster than other periods in history. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was an era of talents, and many major discoveries of modern physics were born in that period. Since the 20th century, human civilization has entered a period of rapid development.

The picture below is a group photo of scientists participating in the 5th Solvay Conference in 1927. At that time, the world’s most outstanding physicists basically appeared in On this photo.

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How important is physics?

Physics is a science that studies the most general law of changes in matter and the movement of matter, and is the most basic discipline in the natural sciences. Advances in physics can drive other Development of natural sciences. The progress of human science and technology civilization has largely benefited from the advancement of physics. For example, the study of electromagnetism and thermodynamics has made mankind enter the electrical age, and the semiconductor technology and laser technology spawned by quantum mechanics have made mankind enter the information age.

A brief history of the development of physics

Physics The development of science and the development of natural science have basically kept pace.

Natural science originated in ancient Greece more than 2,600 years ago, and Aristotle was a representative of that era. In the spring and autumn and the Warring States period more than 2,000 years ago, ancient sciences represented by the Mohist School also appeared in my country. Unfortunately, they were drowned in the historical trend. The subject of physics did not appear in ancient Greece. It belongs to the budding period of natural science and lasted for about 700 years. At that time, scientists mainly summarized the laws based on observation and experience.

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above For the statue of Aristotle.

In the Middle Ages, science has been stagnant for about 1400 years. After the long and dark Middle Ages and the 16th century, the Renaissance laid the foundation for the germination of modern science. First, Copernicus proposed the heliocentric theory, and then Galileo opened the precedent of physics experiments. Physics and modern science were officially established.

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above The portrait of Galileo.

At the end of the 16th century (the end of the Ming Dynasty), Chinese modern science pioneers Xu Guangqi and Matteo Ricci translated a large number of Western scientific works for Chinese and Western sciences Cultural exchanges have made important contributions. Unfortunately, because of the Qing Dynasty’s closed-door policy, the cultural exchange between China and the West was interrupted, which eventually led to my country’s lagging behind the world in science and technology for nearly 200 years.

An epoch-making character appeared in the 17th century-Newton, which created the classic mechanics system. At this point, physics began to flourish. At the end of the 18th century, the application of the steam engine led to the first technological revolution. In the mid-19th century, Maxwell unified electricity and magnetism with a beautiful set of equations. After the perfection of classic electromagnetism, at the same time, a great technological change was initiated. The second technological revolution began in the 1860s.

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From physical The formal birth of science to the beginning of the second scientific and technological revolution, this period belongs to the period of classic physics, lasting more than 300 years. During this period, physics entered the era of experiment, and mathematics and physics began to be closely integrated. Because practice shows that human experience is not reliable, in order to ensure the accuracy of the research results, it is recognized by all that scientists must use repeatable experiments to check the correctness of the conclusions, and to the physical properties of substances and the changes in motion Physical laws are qualitatively and quantitatively studied and described.

At the end of the 19th century, two dark clouds floated in the sky of physics. The first black cloud refers to the destruction of the Michelson-Morley experiment and the etheric theory, and the second black cloud refers to the black body radiation and ultraviolet disaster. In order to solve these problems, physicists continued to conduct experiments and theoretical speculation, and born the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics in the early 20th century. After the Second World War, the world as a whole tended to peace, and the third scientific and technological revolution began in the 1950s.

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Modern physics The study was born in the early 20th century and has continued to this day. As the foundation of physics matures, during this period, the rise of theoretical physics has transformed modern physics into a close combination of theory and experiment science. Theoretical physics is not a random guess, but is based on existing conclusions and makes reasonable guesses.

Science development takes time to settle

No matter Whether it is physics or other sciences, the road of development has never been smooth. The development of industry requires the accumulation of technology, and the development of science also requires the accumulation of knowledge. Newton once said that he could achieve great results because he stood on the shoulders of giants. The accumulation of original capital needs long enough time, and the development of basic science also needs long enough time to lay the foundation.

The development of science is a process from scratch, from less to more. When human knowledge reaches a sufficient breadth, some wise people will proceed more Deep thinking will trigger a scientific revolution, which is quantitative change to qualitative change. Without previous research results, Einstein could not put forward the theory of relativity. This change process takes a long enough time.

The development of physics mainly depends on the observation ability

The main obstacle to the development of physics is human observation ability, including observation technology and observation tools. The purpose of the experiment is to make accurate observations.

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Ancient thought The round place is because the range of activity is small. You think that what you hear, see, and feel is real. In fact, human observation ability is very limited. To explore the nature of things, we must break through human sensory limits. Physicists use instruments to replace human perception and observe the world. With several scientific and technological revolutions, the observation capabilities and accuracy of these tools have become higher and higher, allowing physicists to conduct deeper explorations. From the initial tools such as telescopes and microscopes to particle colliders, inventing these tools is not easy.

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Last century The emergence of so many outstanding scientists and scientific achievements in the first place was due to the maturity of the education system, and the second industrial revolution that enabled humans to develop more high-precision observation tools, which enabled physicists to unprecedentedly improve their research methods.

The general trend of the development of physics is not entirely determined by genius characters. Why can’t people discover the theory of relativity more than 500 years ago? Not because modern people are smarter, but because we are standing on the shoulders of giants. Einstein’s era was much better at observing than the Newton era, and people today know more than the ancients.

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In nature The physical law of is very complicated, as to whether this complexity is limited or infinite? I don’t know yet. If it is limited, when physics reaches the end, it will stand still.

What difficulties are encountered in the development of modern physics?

At the end of the 19th century, classical physics was quite perfect, and it could explain almost all the natural phenomena understood by humans at that time. This made some scientists think that physics had reached the end, only There is still some work to be done. Until the discovery of electrons, X-rays and radioactive phenomena, and the emergence of two dark clouds, it eventually led to a revolution in physics, and modern physics was born.

Today, quantum mechanics and theory of relativity have become the two pillars of modern physics. The theory of relativity is mainly the result of Einstein, and quantum mechanics is composed of Planck, Bohr, Einstein, and De Broglie , Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Fermi, Dirac, Pauli, Compton and Born developed and established. Classical mechanics studies the low-speed macroscopic field, while modern physics has entered the high-speed, microscopic, and aesthetic fields.

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Modern physics The biggest dream in learning is to establish a great unified theory to describe all phenomena in nature. Since the 1950s, physicists have established standard models to describe the properties of elementary particles such as quarks and lepton, and unified the electromagnetic force, strong nuclear force and weak nuclear force among the four basic forces. In addition, scientists have established a standard model of the universe to explain the origin of everything in the universe.

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However, Since the birth of modern physics, irreconcilable contradictions have been implied, that is, the contradiction between general relativity and quantum mechanics, that is, gravity cannot be quantized. If you want to solve this problem, you may need a new physical theory, such as string theory or membrane theory.

The discovery of dark matter and dark energy completely broke this beauty In the dream, it turns out that the world we understand is composed of only 5%ordinary matter, and the remaining 95%of the world is poorly understood. Among them, the speculation of the existence of dark matter comes from the lack of force in the galaxy’s rotation; the speculation of the existence of dark energy comes from the lack of energy in the process of accelerated expansion of the universe. Unlike gravity, it has repulsive properties. What is dark matter and dark energy? It is not clear yet.

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In addition, There are still many problems waiting for us to explore. Such as:whether matter is infinitely separable, the internal situation of black holes, the symmetry of positive and negative matter is broken, whether there are multiple universes and additional dimensions, etc…

At present, theoretical physics is developing rapidly, but the existing observation capabilities are far from validating many current theories. Whether it is string theory or the Hawking radiation about black holes, they can only stay on the theoretical level and cannot be confirmed. As mentioned earlier, the main obstacle to the development of physics is human observation ability.

However, the development of physics has not encountered an insurmountable bottleneck, and has not entered a dead end. When the time is ripe, a new round of physics will be produced The revolution will generate new problems at that time. Whether there is a higher-level civilization in the universe is not yet known. As for the idea of ​​”Chiko locked”, the development of low-level civilizations restricted by high-level civilizations is an unproven fantasy.

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