The Physicist’s Holy Grail: G.U.T

Since the beginning of civilisation, man has sought answers to most fundamental questions: “Where do we come from?”, “What are we made up of?”, “How did everything start off?”, and so on. Be it Greek philosophers or Indian priests, European thinkers or Buddhist monks, the single pursuit that unifies all of them is answers to such questions. Human intellect has been plagued by the fact that such mysteries of our existence and the world around us cannot be solved.

Today, in the 21st century aided by cutting edge technology, man is still trying to satisfy his intellectual curiosity, though today we are much closer to the answers than our ancestors, who advocated common sense derived from daily life, instead of experimentation. Now, we have thousands of brilliant intellects working fervently towards this goal. Be it the $8 billion Large Hadron Collider at CERN or the Chandra and Hubble telescopes at NASA satellites looking for dark matter, we are investing heavily in terms of resources and effort towards finding the ultimate theory.

There is enough scientific evidence that we are close to unravelling the greatest mystery. We have come a long way from Copernicus’ heliocentric model of the universe. Scientific developments like Newton’s Laws of Motion and the Universal Law of Gravity, followed by works of genius like Einstein, Heisenberg and Hawking, have paved the path for us to the theory of everything.

After Einstein’s relativity sheer brilliance, quantum mechanics was developed. Scientists had relativity for the huge and quantum mechanics for the miniscule, all they had to do was to fit the small and the big into a cosmic jigsaw. Soon, physicists realised that the two theories were the like poles of a magnet; they would not coalesce to form the theory of everything. After years of struggling with equations and constants, scientists finally developed a theory called string theory, but soon five versions emerged. Finally, the greatest intellect alive today, Edward Witten, unified them and came up with M-Theory. Its predictions were what some may call outright ridiculous.

Mystics have long claimed “other worlds”, but now, even the most scientific and brilliant minds concur with them on some issues. The theory has passed all tests it has been subjected to, even the Big Bang.

The theory predicts eleven dimensions rather than the usual three special and one time dimensions. Travelling in the higher dimensions holds remarkable possibilities; it is like riding a Ferrari in the Neolithic era. Such instances lead to possibilities like faster than light travel, to delve into the deepest areas of the universe. Humans will be able to colonize other planets and discover completely new worlds.

More outrageously, it came up with the idea of other parallel universes. Our universe was no longer unique but merely one of no one knows how many, maybe infinite other universes floating in what scientists refer as eleven dimensional “hyperspace” or “The Bulk”. According to the theory, each universe has its own set of laws and the events that take place have different results in different parallel universes.

Essentially, anything that can happen does happen in one of the parallel universes. Imagine living in the universe where no asteroid has struck the Earth to wipe out the dinosaurs or maybe Columbus hasn’t still discovered America. There may be some universes where cures for cancer and AIDS have already been discovered. In some universes, giant insects may rule with no humans to stall the evolution of their species. Some universes are exactly like ours except, perhaps you are not there. There may be universes with a completely different set of physical laws governing them. Gravity may be repulsive and positive may attract positive in some universes. It is intriguing to think how life would develop in such universes, if at all. It’s so fascinating, yet it is not a mere figment of scientists’ imagination, but based on mathematics and physics, logic and rationale.

But the most fascinating consequence of this theory is that if enough energy can be made available under the right conditions, artificial universes can be created right in our laboratories! If creation of artificial universes can be invented, it would be the limit of personalising the way you live. People can decide the universe they wish to live in with the laws they want in their Personal Universe. Perhaps at a certain level when we have accumulated sufficient acumen, we can live in universes in which our dead loved ones are still alive. We will almost be able to control our destinies as one can travel to a universe, where the outcome of any event is as desired. In the future, if ever need be, we can travel to other universes to ensure rectification of any mistakes and perpetuation of the human race.

With this theory, we will have an explanation for everything in the universe, from the smallest grain of sand to the biggest nebulae. It will be the ultimate human achievement beyond which any more challenges will seem impertinent. This invention has the potential to solve any problem humans can ever encounter. It seems incredible that a theory based on tiny humble STRINGS says it all, and promises to answer every question may take us on a breath-taking journey through the Multiverse.

Sainyam Gautam