Monday, August 04, 2003

Lets Get Physical

Physics as a science has undergone the most dramatic paradigm shift in the last century, from the realms of a pure science it now closely mirrors philosophy, reading any of these physics bestsellers like Brief History of Time , Tao Of Physics and the one I am reading now Turning Point by Fritjof Capra gives this impression. This is mainly the result of the inability of the Physicists to reconcile the two divergent theories "Theory Of Relativity" and "Quantum Theory" , into a unified TOE (Theory Of Everything) or better known as the Unified Theory.
The Newton-Cartesian theories that were the bedrock of early physics, and enabled it to make the most dramatic progress, have been consigned to the has-beens of history, not totally neglected as most of the phenomena related to our daily life can be explained by it, without going into the complexities of the other two.
Physics had this lead on the other sciences, Biology and chemistry were laggards at the turn of the 20th Century, now Biology is one where the action is with genetics, bio-tech,cloning etc. Chemistry has somewhat remained the poor cousin of it, though it has been instrumental in the growth of biology, but never had the glamour.
Speaking about Physics which was once the most exact of science with such a strong mathematical basis, then came Hiesenberg and threw all exactness for a toss and Einstein with his relativity theory tossed all concept of absolute measurement and Newton's laws, these jolts must have made Newton toss in his grave.

Capra in his book expounds on this futher saying that all the other sciences will also move from the mechanist reductionist and deductive ways to a more holistic and intuitive way as Physics, and will lead to a more systems approach to issues, and also that man will always have a subjective view of things and that all science is perception, nothing absolute. So he believes Physics has taken a lead in this.
Also he expounds how this way can be applied to sociological issues and help cure all the problems plaguing the world, somewhat far-fetched but what's the harm in putting across a unique theory.