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Quantum Physics by Norah Berrah PhD, Paul V. Pancella, Marc Humphrey

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PART5

Grand Unification

Unlike Olympic athletes, whose aim is to collect as many medals as they can, physicists would rather be known for as few formulas as possible. Maxwell, for example, is famous for describing all of electricity and magnetism using just four equations. Newton could describe (and predict) the dynamics of the solar system using only two. Schroedinger boiled down all of microscopic wave mechanics to just one. The merit of any theory is given by the breadth of the physical phenomena it can explain divided by number of formulas needed to do so.

For this reason, physicists get really excited about something they call “unification.” This refers to the realization that phenomena that were once thought to be independent (e.g., electricity ...

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