Stephen Wolfram and Eric Weinstein, both working outside the mainstream of academic physics, are pursuing new fundamental theories of physics which they hope may break out of the stagnation that has gripped the field since the completion of the Standard Model of particle physics in the 1970s. Which approach is more promising? Does it even make sense to speak of a theory of everything when many phenomena may be emergent? Can artificial intelligence help us find new fundamental theories?
I have heard MANY words in the first 15 minutes. However, no comprehensible concept (by me) has yet become understandable. I’ll keep at it.
After some more listening…no joy.
One thing that caught my ear was Stephen’s postulation about an infinitely dimensional universe decaying into fewer dimensions. That is something I’ve never heard, but it does suit my sense that our universe must be infinite in some way(s). I wish I had the ability and time to understand it all.
This is oddly similar to the (much despised) notion in string theory that a universe of many more dimensions (26…11…10?) compacts down into the three extended dimensions we perceive as the energy level in the universe falls with its expansion.
It would be delightful to discover that the three dimensions we observe are an emergent property of a much simpler system with many more dimensions as it cools down. Is there a temperature where our universe collapses into Flatland? What happens if some cryogenics lab reaches that temperature and the Flattie Empire escapes into our universe?
There’s never a Rudy Rucker when you need one.
This conversation didn’t provide an opportunity to get into the details of either Stephen or Eric’s theories. Stephen’s agenda is laid out in A Project to Find the Fundamental Theory of Physics. Fourmilab has contributed to support this project.
I bought Stephen’s book in 2020, started to read it twice, but always got distracted. I’ve pulled it off the shelf again, to try again when opportunity knocks.