Theory of Everything
“From time immemorial, man has desired to comprehend the complexity of Nature in terms of as few elementary concepts as possible.” ~ Abdus Salam
Physicists have long sought an umbrella theory that explains and connects all known physical phenomena, along with the predictive power to anticipate the outcome of any experiment within the physical realm.
Archimedes was perhaps first in describing Nature by axiomatic principles and using them to deduce new results. The path of theoretical unification has been dreamt of by many of his successors: Democritus, Newton, Laplace, Einstein, and others. Some of the most recent attempts are string theory and its offshoots, though those are more particularly oriented toward an approach for producing a unified theory, rather than being a completed theory unto themselves.
The pivotal struggle has been unifying the 3 forces understood to operate at the quantum level – strong, weak, electromagnetism – with gravity, which is incidental at the quantum scale, but has long proved tricky to bottle in equation form at that level, owing to the infinities that arise.
“We exist in a universe described by mathematics. But which math?” ~ American physicist Antony Garrett Lisi
Whereas quantum mechanics has treated spacetime as unrealistically rigid, relativity reveals spacetime as mauled by gravity.
“The intrinsically quantum phenomenon of entanglement appears to be crucial for the emergence of classical spacetime geometry.” ~ Canadian physicist Mark Van Raamsdonk
Mark Van Raamsdonk first proposed a way to enmesh quantum theory within relativity in 2009. The key insight involved entanglement of quantum fields, which has been observed.
Neighboring fields are typically more entangled than those farther away. This relative locality intimates that entanglement plays a crucial role in the geometry of spacetime.
“If you change the pattern of entanglement, you also change the geometry of spacetime.” ~ Argentinian physicist Juan Maldacena
In the large, entanglement of quantum fields via flexible spacetime reconciles relativity with quantum mechanics. But explaining entanglement specifically entails synchronicity, which requires an instantaneous channel through spacetime to afford “spooky action at a distance.” Such a shortcut is now known as a wormhole: a term coined by American physicist John Archibald Wheeler in 1957.
The idea of wormholes predates the word. To reconcile relativity with electromagnetic field theory, Hermann Weyl posited a wormhole theory in 1921. Einstein and American Israeli physicist Nathan Rosen proposed wormholes in 1935 to extra-dimensionally connect distinct black holes. This theoretical observation was an extension of general relativity, which renders the fabric of spacetime riddled with wormholes.
Physicists proposed wormholes as a conceptual conduit for entanglement. That they exist has been repeatedly shown in experiments demonstrating quantum nonlocality.
Wormholes demonstrated by subatomic nonlocality and hypothetical cosmic black-hole wormholes are the same thing, just on a vastly different scale in terms of size. This is simply scale-invariant uniformity: the physics of the universe behaving consistently at every level.
The flexible geometry of spacetime at the macroscopic level emerges from quantum entanglement, which is mathematically characterized as a tensor network. A tensor is a geometric object that embodies a localized locus of relations. Tensor networks are used to describe various systemic entanglements, from quantum mechanics to holographic information storage to brain function.
The upshot is that entanglement defines the cosmic geometry of spacetime, as well as affording the quantum effects which allow chemistry to function. In short, existence incessantly emerges via entanglement.