The physicist says that the laws of physics don’t actually exist

The physicist says that the laws of physics don’t actually exist

“Like peeling an infinite onion, the more we peel, the more there is to peel.”

Galactic brain

Most physicists live under the assumption of a strict and immutable set of laws that govern the universe, but not all.

“What we often call the laws of physics are really consistent mathematical theories that seem to agree with some parts of nature,” writes theoretical physicist Sankar Das Sarma at the beginning of a a new must-read column New Scientist column. These laws of physics are meant to describe our shared reality, even if they “evolve as our empirical knowledge of the universe improves.”

“Here’s the thing,” Sarma continues. “Although many scientists consider their role to be the discovery of these ultimate laws, I simply do not believe they exist.”

Before Albert Einstein’s groundbreaking, and ultimately unfinished, attempts to create a theory of everythingand all the leaps in fields such as quantum mechanics that followed, the physicist argues, this statement would not have seemed strange.

In fact, Sarma says he finds it “amazing” that humans “can make sense of some aspects of the universe using the laws of physics.”

“As we discover more about nature, we can refine our descriptions, but it is never finished,” he writes. “Like peeling an infinite onion, the more we peel, the more there is to peel.”

Multiverse madness

Pointing out the concept of multiverseor an infinite number of universes, Sarma ponders how humans could be so arrogant as to imagine that the apparent rules that seem to govern our reality would apply to all universes.

Raising a theoretical argument, Sarma adds that even in the face of a theory as substantial as quantum mechanics, which he describes as “more like a set of rules that we use to express our laws rather than an ultimate law in itself”, there are still too many mysteries and variables to ever consider this so-called fundamental theory sacrosanct.

“It’s hard to imagine that a thousand years from now physicists will still be using quantum mechanics as a fundamental description of nature,” he continues. “Something else would have to replace quantum mechanics at that point, just as quantum mechanics itself replaced Newtonian mechanics.”

What that replacement might be, Sarma doesn’t want to speculate. But even so, he sees “no particular reason why our description of how the physical universe seems to work should suddenly peak at the beginning of the 21st century and become forever stuck in quantum mechanics.”

“That would be,” he adds, “a truly depressing thought!”

More about physics: These headlines about scientists building a wormhole are total bullshit, people

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