The Biggest Unanswered Questions In Physics Today

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There are several processes, among which is a well-known particle decay, that hint at the new physics and several predictions that have not been witnessed in the real world. But so far researchers have come short of an actual discovery that could break the standard model.

Researchers are unsure when such a finding will be uncovered. Labs around the world are working to find such an event and hope to find it soon, but it might still take years. And while it might be revolutionary, it might not turn physics upside down overnight. Scientists have been researching alternative ideas for decades and the first discoveries might just help to refine which alternative theories are closer to reality. Or maybe physics will throw us a curve ball and truly send us back to the board. That’s definitely fun to think about.


Why does time have a direction?

Time is a quantity that is central to our lives. We either have too little of it or we end up wasting it. We wish it away or hope it'll stand still. In physics, it’s just one of the four dimensions of the space-time continuum, and yet it is special because unlike space it can only be explored in one direction.

The problem is known as the arrow of time. In our everyday experience time is not symmetric, but a lot of physical laws and processes don’t care about the direction of time. Physicists are focusing on everything that seems to act in a different way as time passes to find a possible explanation for the preferential direction that time takes.

Certain particle decays have been proposed to explain the arrow of time. The expansion of the universe has also been suggested. And the second law of thermodynamics is a fan-favorite too. Entropy increases with time, after all. These explanations might suggest a deeper link between time and other physical quantities, or their evolution might just be a natural consequence of a universe in which time has a direction.

To solve this conundrum, we need to move beyond our current physics. And breakthroughs in other areas of physics might lead to a better understanding of what time is and what makes it special.

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