Monday, January 30, 2006

the greatest physicist in our time

edward witten has done many important works in theoretical high energy physics. since the mid 80's of the last century, he has been the leader in superstring physics. i believe if you have learnt his works, you would agree that he is the greatest physicist nowadays. although within one century it might be rare to see two newton-level scientists (another is albert einstein), it happens that witten is indeed great.

witten's thinking ability is very very strong. as far as this point is concerned, i think he should be ranked as number 3 in the history of physics. if his achievments is not as significant as einstein's, that is because he lives in a wrong time. (as far as contribution is concerned, the first three should be galileo, newton and einstein.)

he can work both in physics and mathematics (geometry). you know, only newton has this ability.

although i do not believe it, but there is a chance for witten to be as great as newton, or even greater. that is through his effort, the final theory for elementary physics is found. now he, and many others under his influence, are seeking for such a theory (string or m-) by studying the conflict between general relativity and quantum mechanics, as well as by thinking of smallness and positiveness of the cosmological constant.

this final theory, if it exists and can be found, still lies hid in night. string theorists have just found some small parts of it (pertubative string theories, d-branes and the string duality). the work of finding such a theory is somehow like that of newton for the classical physics or bohr for quantum physics. furthermore, because too little experimental facts are known, such working is also like einstein's effort in looking for the general relativity.

on the other hand, personally i do not blieve we can find such a theory within this thousand years, because we may lack of too much information of it, which human being cannot understand without further experiments at very high energy.


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