General Relativity Quotes (12 quotes)
Brian Greene and Alan Alda Discuss Why Einstein Hated Quantum Mechanics
A step closer to a theory of quantum gravity
Despite our successes at describing the inner workings of the universe Higgs, anyone? Why should we want to unify them anyway? In this week's " Ask a Physicist, " we'll find out. Virtually everything we know about the laws of physics falls into one of two piles. In one, there's quantum mechanics, from which we've developed the " Standard Model, " including all of the fundamental particles we've yet detected, and three of the four interactions: electromagnetism, and the weak and strong nuclear forces. In the other pile, there's Einstein's theory of General Relativity, which describes the fourth force, gravity, and gives us black holes , the expansion of the universe , and the potential for time travel.
September 19, Quantum mechanics and the general theory of relativity form the bedrock of the current understanding of physics—yet the two theories don't seem to work together. Physical phenomena rely on relationship of motion between the observed and the observer.
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Quantum Mechanics vs. General Relativity
I t is the biggest of problems, it is the smallest of problems. At present physicists have two separate rulebooks explaining how nature works. There is general relativity , which beautifully accounts for gravity and all of the things it dominates: orbiting planets, colliding galaxies, the dynamics of the expanding universe as a whole. Then there is quantum mechanics , which handles the other three forces — electromagnetism and the two nuclear forces. Quantum theory is extremely adept at describing what happens when a uranium atom decays, or when individual particles of light hit a solar cell.
More often than not, the questions that come up during the course of the day are ones we can all answer pretty confidently. Have you eaten lunch? Did you hear Taylor Swift's new song? Is it a confessional about a boy she dated once? But when we begin to ponder the big questions -- the one we tackle today asks if quantum mechanics and general relativity can ever be reconciled -- our self-assurance plummets. Doesn't quantum mechanics have something to do with planets?