In Search of Physics’ “Holy Grail”

“… for us physicists believe the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.”
– Albert Einstein

This statement arises from Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, which conclusively denies the existence of any absolute and universal significance to the present moment. The same event viewed from to different reference points occurs at different time.

Stated differently, time is relative to the observer; therefore, it is impossible to divide it up into past, present and future in a way that is universally meaningful. In this sense, past, present and future are all there at once.

Einstein’s theory, which describes the macroscopic world with precision, does not work at the subatomic level. To describe the microscopic, physicists use quantum mechanics, a theory that’s fundamentally different from Einstein’s. Reconciling the Special Theory of Relativity and quantum mechanics requires a new theory of quantum gravity. And this is the holy grail of modern physics. The search continues . . .


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