From Matthew R. Francis at Symmetry magazine:
A GUT feeling about physics
Linking the different forces into a single theory isn’t easy, since each behaves a different way. Electromagnetism is long-ranged, the weak force is short-ranged, and the strong force is weak in high-energy environments such as the early universe and strong where energy is low. To unify these three forces, scientists have to explain how they can be aspects of a single thing and yet manifest in radically different ways in the real world.
Stop, wait. Are they prepared to accept the possibility that everything in the uiverse does not resolve into one single thing? Why not?
Some things are only a “mess” if one assumes that a single unifying principle must exist. As an aside, one often hears authoritarians insisting that the way most people live their lives most of the time is “a mess,” and strong interventions are needed.
GUTs also predicted that protons should decay into lighter particles. There was just one problem: Experiments didn’t see that decay.
Evidence is a bitch. Some call for more non-evidence-based science.
Hewett agrees that GUTs aren’t dead yet.
“I firmly believe that an observation of proton decay would affect how every person would think about the world,” she says. “Everybody can understand that we’re made out of protons and ‘Oh wow! They decay.’” More.
Which demonstrates what? Clearly, as envisioned here, GUT is a metaphysical project. Well, that makes it a member in good standing of the current cosmology club.
See also: Earth shatters at new physics find? Fetch really big broom.
In search of a road to reality
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