What is the theory of anything

The theory of everything

  1. Towards the end of his life, Einstein wanted to crown his theoretical legacy with a uniform description of all particles and fields.

  2. That had to fail because at that time two natural forces - the weak and the strong interaction - & nbp; had not yet been discovered.

  3. Today several groups of physicists are trying to realize Einstein's dream with different approaches using hypothetical particles and fields.

Leslie Rosenberg's attempt to understand the universe is like a makeshift, wired hot water boiler stuck in a large underground refrigerator. His experiment takes place in a laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle: An extremely deep-frozen vacuum chamber is exposed to a magnetic field and is supposed to generate fine microwave signals when so-called axions pass through, which a sensitive detector tries to detect. No one has yet seen a trace of these hypothetical particles.

Rosenberg has been on the trail of particles since completing his doctorate at the University of Chicago in the 1990s. He carried out one experiment after the other - but without success despite increasing precision. He is still hoping for a result that would give Albert Einstein's daring idea a posthumous boost.

This article is featured in Spectrum of Science January 2016

Einstein called it unified field theory, today physicists speak of the "theory of everything". It should express the behavior of all known natural forces in a single system of formulas. When Einstein set out on a search 90 years ago, he wanted to combine the basic forces of gravity and electromagnetism and thus show that all forms of matter and energy obey the same logic. ...