And what of the future of this adventure? What will happen ultimately? We’re going along guessing the laws – how many laws are we going to have to guess? I don’t know.
Some of my colleagues say “Well, science will go on”.
But certainly there will not be perpetual novelty, say for a thousand years. This thing can’t keep on going, we’re always going to discover new laws, new laws, new laws. If we do it’ll get boring, that there are so many levels, one underneath the other!
So the only way that it seems to me that it can happen – what can happen in the future – is first, either that everything becomes known – that all the laws become known – that would mean that after you had enough laws you could compute consequences and they would always agree with the experiment – which would be the end of the line.
Or it might happen that the experiments get harder and harder to make, more and more expensive, that you get 99.9% of the phenomenon, but there’s always some phenomenon which has just been discovered that’s very hard to measure which disagrees. And it gets harder and harder to measure, as you discover the explanation of that one, there’s always another one, and it gets slower and slower and more and more uninteresting. That’s another way that it can end.
But I think it has to end in one way or another. And I think that we are very lucky to live in the age in which we are still making the discoveries.
It’s an age which will never come again. It’s like the discoveries of America, you can only discover it once. It was an exciting day when there was investigations in America. But the age that we live is the age in which we are discovering the fundamental laws of nature. And that day will never come again.
I don’t mean we’re finished. I mean we’re right in the process of making such discoveries. It’s very exciting, it’s marvelous. But this excitement will have to go.
I’ve been debating with myself for sometime about the proper way to start this, or if I should start at all. I suppose this is an appropriate place to start as any other. This is a quote from Richard Feynman.