Is everything made of particles or fields or both?
As things stand, the three-sided debate between Einstein, Ritz and Faraday remains unresolved. We’ve certainly made progress, but we don’t have a definitive answer. It is not yet clear what classical and quantum electrodynamics are telling us about reality. Is everything made of particles, fields or both?
This question is not front and centre in contemporary physics research. Theoretical physicists generally think that we have a good-enough understanding of quantum electrodynamics to be getting on with, and now we need to work on developing new theories and finding ways to test them through experiments and observations.
That might be the path forward. However, sometimes progress in physics requires first backing up to reexamine, reinterpret and revise the theories that we already have. To do this kind of research, we need scholars who blend the roles of physicist and philosopher, as was done thousands of years ago in Ancient Greece.Charles Sebens, “What’s everything made of?” at Aeon
Have we run out of rungs on our current ladder?
See also: Sabine Hossenfelder: There is a crisis in physics and it may spread to other sciences
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