Quantum Mechanics: The Four Fundamental Forces Of Nature

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A physicist’s job is to use humanity’s understanding of how matter and energy interact to learn about the Universe. The job of physics, however, is to unite the four fundamental forces of nature: Gravity, Strong and Weak Nuclear, and electromagnetism, into a single physical model; A theory of everything. In the 20th century, physicists revolutionized humanity’s understanding of these forces and made great strides in uniting them, but the two theories which have brought humanity the closest to this unified field theory, the theories of general Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics, cannot seem to coexist. Both of these theories have made immense contributions to science, but unless physicists can find a way to unite these two scientific principles…show more content…
Schrodinger's work on atomic structure and subatomic theory, along with Heisenberg's uncertainty principle which states that the velocity and position of an electron cannot be measured at the same time are the fundamental ideas behind quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is the study of quanta: fundamental particles such as electrons that have the characteristics of both waves and particles; almost like nets of energy which particles interact with. Quantum mechanics is a much broader subject than the study of relativity, and has successfully accounted for the electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear forces, but gravity is the outlying factor which general relativity accounts for beautifully, but quantum theories cannot comprehend. Logically, if one theory accounts for three of the four forces and another theory accounts for the fourth, simply putting the two together would yield the much coveted unified field theory. The complications of this come about because the imposition of these theories on the same scale would make the universe a much different place. In the book, The Theory of Everything, Stephen Hawking explain how the uncertainty principle upon which quantum mechanics depends heavily upon is a main reason relativity and quantum mechanics clash. Hawking states, “The trouble is, the uncertainty principle means that even empty space is filled with pairs of virtual particles and antiparticles. These pairs would have an infinite amount of energy. This means that their gravitational attraction would curve up the universe to an infinitely small size” (Hawking 114). If an infinite amount of space were to be filled with particles that have a gravitational force of their own, an infinite gravitational attraction would cause the universe to collapse upon itself as Hawking

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