I don’t have anything useful to post here. I’ve alluded to these issues before but have nothing to add.
I have this strange feeling that the problems of the interpretation of quantum mechanics, dark energy, the big bang, and quantum gravity will all necessarily be solved simultaneously, all involving the same concepts.
What I know about the history of advancements in theoretical physics suggests our problem is very rarely a lack of mathematical tools, or an understanding of the present state of physical concepts. Mathematicians have been out ahead for about 100 years now, developing mathematics that have no apparent use in physics. The tools almost certainly exist already for tomorrow’s theories. The problem has to do with the concepts themselves and our imagination; as Haldane put it, “the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”
It seems we need experimental evidence not just to suggest absurd things, as with Lorentz (4), but unambiguously require them for theory to remain consistent before we can accept them. In this way our “common sense” is very often an obstacle.
- Someone better trained than I am described a problem I actually think has something to do with why “you can’t have nothing isn’t.” http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/65177/is-the-preferred-basis-problem-solved
- Improbability drive. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjbtZ4NgtdA
- Zurek: http://www.nature.com/nphys/journal/v5/n3/full/nphys1202.html, http://journals.aps.org/rmp/abstract/10.1103/RevModPhys.75.715
- A Mechanical Universe Episode, includes the history of Special Relativity. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2z75hb