Theory of everythingfrom Wikinfo, an internet encyclopedia
In physics, a theory of everything (TOE) is a theory that unifies the four fundamental forces of nature: gravity, the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, and the electromagnetic force, and is the goal of researchers in quantum gravity. TOE is sometimes also called a supergrand unified theory.
A theory of everything is needed to explain phenonmenon such as the big bang or gravitational singularities in which the current theories of general relativity and quantum mechanics self-destruct. Theoreticial motivations for finding a theory of everything include the Platonic belief that the ultimate nature of the universe is simple and therefore the current models of the universe such as the standard model cannot be complete because they are too complicated.
There have been numerous theories of everything proposed by theoretical physicists over the last century, but as yet none has been able to stand up to experimental scrutiny or there is tremendous difficulty in getting the theories to produce even experimentally testable results. The primary problem in producing a theory of everything is that quantum mechanics and general relativity have radicially different descriptions of the universe, and the obvious ways of combining the two lead quickly to the renormalization problem in which the theory does not give finite results for experimentally testable quantities.
Popular candidates for a theory of everything at the moment include loop quantum gravity, string theory, and M-theory. Most of these theories attempt to deal with the renormalization problem by setting up some lower bound on the length scales possible. Also early 21st century theories of everything tend to suppose that the universe actually has more dimensions than the easily observed three of space and one of time. The motivation behind this approach began with the Kaluza-Klein theory in which it was noted that adding one dimension to general relativity would produce the electromagnetic Maxwell's equations. This has led to efforts to work with theories with large number of dimensions in the hopes that this would produce equations which are similar to known laws of physics.
Theories of everything must be distinguished from grand unified theories (or GUTs), which attempt to unite all the fundamental forces except gravity. A theory that unites the electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces into a single electroweak force has already been established; GUTs attempt to unify the strong nuclear and electroweak forces.
Attempts to create theories of everything are common among people outside the professional physics community.
See: http://www.brunardot.com/ [A Paradigm Shift! which demonstrates the mathematics of the hyper-relativistic oscillations of the internal structure of "superstrings," which are referred to as: Ephemeloids] for an example. Unfortunately these theories, like those of professional physics, suffer from the inability to make quantifiable and falsifible predictions. Unlike professional physicists who are generally aware that their pet theory is incomplete, untested, and probably wrong, amateurs who create TOE's tend to be unaware of the need and mechanisms for testing scientific theories and the fact that most proposed theories are just wrong.
- Adapted from the Wikipedia article, "Theory of Everything" http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_everything August 15, 2003