Quantum fields, mathematics and the search for rigour

Analysing the bedrock of our fundamental laws

Galileo claimed that “mathematics is the language in which the book of nature is written” and no more is this apparent than in our most successful theory of nature, quantum field theory. As the mathematical backbone for The Standard Model, quantum field theory’s numerical predictions have been experimentally verified to the highest precision, however, as Timothy Nguyen argues, predictive success alone is not enough for a fundamental theory of reality and only with the safeguard of rigour can science separate truth from fantasy.

 

Our scientific theories provide, among other things, a measure of certainty about the world. In physics for instance, we can predict the next solar eclipse down to the exact minute because we have developed laws of motion determining where the moon will be. In other sciences such as biology, outcomes may instead be merely statistical due to the complexity of the systems involved and our limited understanding of them. This spectru

Continue reading

Enjoy unlimited access to the world's leading thinkers.

Start by exploring our subscription options or joining our mailing list today.

Start Free Trial

Already a subscriber? Log in

Join the conversation