It is time to develop a theory that goes beyond Einstein's proposals and allows gravity to be integrated into the standard particle model, said the winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics, David J. Gross. To achieve this, renewed ideas are mainly needed to facilitate the integral development of models to establish how the Universe works, what energy and dark matter are, and the creation of a quantum computer, he said.

While giving the keynote lecture "Frontiers of Fundamental Physics" during the meeting of the Mexican Society of Physics and the National Meeting of Scientific Dissemination, he explained that so far Einstein's theories have been successful because they predict important events such as deformations in space-time or the behavior of objects such as black holes. However, when gravity is revised to a quantum level, space-time fluctuations become uncontrollable.

"It is clear that we need a modification to Einstein's theory. People may say: we have spent years testing the validity of his theories. But we have already begun to visualize options, such as superstring theory, which as one of its most important contributions is that it has begun to challenge and offer an alternative point of view to space and time," said the scientist, who was welcomed by Ana MarĂ­a Cetto Kramis, UNAM researcher and president of the Mexican Society of Physics.

David Gross discovered asymptotic freedom, which allowed him to formulate the theory of the strong nuclear force that completed the Standard Model, which details the three basic forces of particle physics: electromagnetic, weak, and strong. For this work, he was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics, together with Frank Wilczek and David Politzer of Caltech.

The expert, whose work led to the discovery of the forces acting inside the atomic nucleus, explained that basic questions such as: what was there before our Universe or how it will end, remain unanswered.

He said he was surprised by what humanity has learned in the last 50 years: in Physics the basic blocks that form matter and the way they act with each other have been discovered and understood; the Universe has been mapped and its history reconstructed; there is an understanding and control of matter in its phases at the nanometric scale of atoms.

In his opinion, the most important driver of knowledge is ignorance, which drives us to ask questions that can be answered by observation and experimentation. What is known is little, and science is there to provide answers. Many problems still generate numerous frontier questions in Physics, such as cosmology, black holes, quantum matter, quantum computation, or string theory on space-time, commented the former director of the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics.

As an example, Gross questioned how far back in time we can go; in its origins, the cosmos was so homogeneous, it was that gas and from what or how stars, dust and what forms the Universe begin to develop, how galaxies evolve, and so on.

"More importantly, we have no idea how that bang started. Answering that question is the hardest thing of all, whether it's science, philosophy, or whatever you like. Physics has long taken up the challenge of explaining the beginning, we have tried to know how far back in time we can see, we do not know what was the original condition that gave rise to the Universe, but we try," said the researcher.

In theory, he added, the cosmology model works on knowing how much mass exists, how much we can see, but has discovered that there is a large amount of matter that is invisible and is called dark matter. In addition, astronomers have worked on the expansion and acceleration levels of the cosmos, especially with Einstein's theory of the cosmological constant, added the researcher from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Gross reflected, "Computers are extraordinary, but so far I haven't known anyone to get curiosity from a computer, they follow orders. There is no idea how to motivate a computer to explore, but we can do it. Computers have enabled important simulations for theoretical sciences, or ways to do a real experiment, we can make better computers to revolutionize the way people do science."

Source: UNAM