A Brief History of Physics ..

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Einstein’s last blackboard notes in his office shortly before his death in 1955.
Seeking the Unified Field Theory consumed his last years.

A friend sent this amusing little story of why we do not have a “Unified Theory of everything” in physics (which is one of its goals) and why we likely never will. I’ve actually seen it before, but have been unable to find the original author to attribute it to.


Unified Field Theory
In the beginning there was Aristotle,
And objects at rest tended to remain at rest,
And objects in motion tended to come to rest,
And soon everything was at rest,
And God saw that it was boring.
Then God created Newton,
And objects at rest tended to remain at rest,
But objects in motion tended to remain in motion,
And energy was conserved and momentum was conserved and matter was conserved,
And God saw that it was conservative.
Then God created Einstein,
And everything was relative,
And fast things became short,
and straight things became curved,
And the universe was filled with inertial frames,
And God saw that it was relatively general,
but some of it was especially relative.
Then God created Bohr,
And there was the Principle,
And the Principle was Quantum,
And all things were quantified,
But some things were still relative,
And God saw that it was confusing.
Then God was going to create Ferguson,
And Ferguson would have unified,
And he would have fielded a theory,
And all would have been one,
But it was the seventh day,
And God rested,
And objects at rest tend to remain at rest.
— Tim Joseph (Originally appeared in The New York Times, 6 April 1978, page A21.)

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About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
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0 Responses to A Brief History of Physics ..

  1. Another Kevin says:

    “Unified Field Theory”, by Tim Joseph
    Originally appeared in The New York Times, 6 April 1978, page A21.

  2. Bob O'H says:

    This reminds me of Alexander Pope’s epigram:
    “Nature and nature’s laws lay hidden in the night, and God said ‘let Newton be’ and all was light.”

  3. “It did not last; the Devil howling ‘Ho!
    Let Einstein Be!’ restored the status quo.” [John Collings Squire]
    “God Rolled his dice, to Einstein’s great dismay:
    ‘Let Feynman Be!’ and all was clear as day.” [Jagdish Mehra]

  4. DWT says:

    The poem appeared in Analog magazine in December, 1975. Don’t know if it was published anywhere else, earlier.