decided after they have been measured". This paper essentially showed that future actions may influence events of thepast.Incredibly, Quantum Mechanics, whilst not really giving a solid picture of the whole universe,
produce accuratepredictions. The problem, however, is the subatomic level is where it stays. In most cases quantum is confined to theparticle level, and refuses, so far, to translate to anything larger.It is only a partial model.The Standard Model of particle physics attempts to be a complete theory of everything, and, at this point, is the besttheory we have. It's a collection of quantum theories that describes the charges, masses, and spins of the fundamentalparticles that make up matter, and the ways in which these particles interact. The model predicts twelve fundamentalparticles, all interacting via three forces;Electromagnetism (responsible for light, electricity, magnets)The strong nuclear force (responsible for holding everything together)The weak nuclear force (responsible for radioactivity)Despite all its success, the Standard Model falls apart when coming face to face with a
well known force: gravity.The Standard Model cannot account for it, and is completely incompatible, like other quantum theories, with the mostsuccessful theory of gravity to date: General Relativity. It also does not answer important questions such as ‘whathappened to all the antimatter after the big bang?'
CMS detector in a cavern 100 m underground at CERN's Large Hadron Collider. Image credit: Cern.
Although we hear many physicists talk with great confidence about the Standard Model; quarks, the Higgs Boson etc, thisis all really just a bit of a show. There is no specialparticle detector telling us "that's a quark" or "that's a photon", we justmeasure different properties of the stuff coming out of a collision of particles and reconstruct what happened the best wecan.Even at CERN - a respected champion of the Standard Model - where billions of US dollars were spent on constructing its27km stretch of machinery, the physicists still reconstruct huge amounts of data.But perhaps the biggest failing of the Standard Model is in its very makeup. It is basically a long equation that strives toaccount for (almost) everything, but the equation is far more complicated than it should be. John Von Neumann once said, “With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk."Well, in the Standard Model there are nineteen parameters, and, as proven with gravity, the model
doesn't work. Sothat neat black box we talked about in the opening? In the case of the Standard Model, it has bumps and lumps all over itssurface.
An experiment by Italian scientists using data from NASA's Cassinispacecraft confirms Einstein's theory of general relativity. The researchersmeasured how much the Sun's gravity bent an electromagnetic beam, inthis case the radio signal transmitted by the spacecraft and received by theground stations. Image credit: NASA
Like the Standard Model, theories of relativity have beenremarkably successful, and go some way to explainingthe seeming mind melting chaos that exists in space.Special Relativity suggests that there is no constant pointof reference against which to measure motion.Measurement of motion is never absolute, but relative toa given position in space and time. When we see a car, wemight say that it's travelling at 100mph, but if we look at itthrough a telescope from a different planet, we see thatit's moving 100mph across the surface of a rotatingplanet, which is itself moving around a sun, and thiswould all be witnessed by us on another planet whichwould be also moving. All motion is relative to the motionof other things.The laws of physics are the same for all non-acceleratingobservers, and the speed of light within a vacuum is thesame no matter the speed at which an observer travels. Asa result, space and time are interwoven into a singlecontinuum known as space-time.Events that occur at the same time for one observer couldoccur at different times for another.Space-time itself is further distorted by the massiveobjects. Imagine setting a large object in the centre of atrampoline. The object would press down into the fabric,causing it to dimple. A marble rolled around the edgewould spiral inward toward the object, pulled in much thesame way a planet's gravity pulls at rocks in space.Unfortunately, when applied to the subatomic level,general relativity becomes redundant, for at thesubatomic level, gravitation is insignificant in comparisonwith other forces, and subatomic particles don't have adefinite position, a definite momentum, a definite energyor a definite time of occurrence. Like quantum theories,theories of relativity are only partial models.
The Standard ModelGeneral Relativity
And to make matters worse