Is time travel really possible? Here’s what physics says BBC Future


This energy can take the form of motion, light, electricity, radiation, gravity — just about anything, honestly. Physics deals with matter on scales ranging from sub-atomic particles (i.e. the particles that make up the atom and the particles that make up those particles) to stars and even entire galaxies. In particle physics, the first pieces of experimental evidence for physics beyond the Standard Model have begun to appear. Foremost among these are indications that neutrinos have non-zero mass. These experimental results appear to have solved the long-standing solar neutrino problem, and the physics of massive neutrinos remains an area of active theoretical and experimental research.


Outside of this domain, observations do not match predictions provided by classical mechanics. Einstein contributed the framework of special relativity, which replaced notions of absolute time and space with spacetime and allowed an accurate description of systems whose components have speeds approaching the speed of light. Planck, Schrödinger, and others introduced quantum mechanics, a probabilistic notion of particles and interactions that allowed an accurate description of atomic and subatomic scales. Later, quantum field theory unified quantum mechanics and special relativity. General relativity allowed for a dynamical, curved spacetime, with which highly massive systems and the large-scale structure of the universe can be well-described.

Technologies based on mathematics, like computation have made computational physics an active area of research. Mathematics provides a compact and exact language used to describe the order in nature. This was noted and advocated by Pythagoras, Plato, Galileo, and Newton. Some theorists, like Hilary Putnam and Penelope Maddy, hold that logical truths, and therefore mathematical reasoning, depend on the empirical world.

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In solving homework problems involving the wave function, familiarity with complex numbers is a prerequisite. Other prerequisites include the math of linear algebra, Euler’s formula from complex analysis and the bra–ket notation. I have been interested in physics ever since I was a kid. And perhaps the only reason why I ended up pursuing philosophy rather than physics was that I’m also very interested in other things, such as language, mathematics, and all sorts of mysteries of the mind. And what really excites me most are questions that connect the dots between these different areas.

The Large Hadron Collider has already found the Higgs boson, but future research aims to prove or disprove the supersymmetry, which extends the Standard Model of particle physics. Research on the nature of the major mysteries of dark matter and dark energy is also currently ongoing.