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Recently IRL, one of my friends(yes, I have friends IRL. Shut it!) saw me (re)reading Michio Kaku’s “Physics of the Future” and then we had a little chat about it. He’s quite unique of a person if I may say, in a good sense certainly, but that’s for another talk. Anyway that time, he made a point by saying: “… you might think that I’m stupid, but I think, all great things have already been discovered by now …”

My answer was a vague yes. well, I’m not that skilled in real-life communication so forgive me. That said, I still regret my inability to express what was in my mind, because actually I want to say more. So, please accompany me while I become an everyday sore loser on the internet I am. What I love most from written one-way communication is that I can take my time thinking the most appropriate answer knowing that people won’t expect me to answer so quickly, that’s why I’ll take my time to write this post.

Come to think of it, I guess it’s not only my friend that thinks the age of physics has come to an end (he don’t actually said that, but this is more plot convenient). In a story written by ZUN titled ‘Magical Astronomy‘, which set on Earth in the near future where as he narrates it: “Physics is coming to an end. Our world was already rapidly progressing into an age of explanations and philosophy.” I guess there’s a lot more people that think this way, and in fact, they might as well be true. Looking around, there seems isn’t much place for further groundbreaking discovery in society, and it is hard to get thrilled by ‘breakthrough’ like iPhone5 if it comes out every other year without many distinguishable difference from the recent older one. I mean, when was the last time you rushed to TV to watch the launching of another spacecraft that’s done several times a year?

So, is the age of physics really coming to a close? Well, with the most fundamental laws that govern most of visible universe have already firmly established, it is rather save to say that indeed, the age of ‘Discovery’ is slowly closing it’s door on us. But that certainly is not to say that the age of physics is going anywhere near the end. It merely means the end of one great chapter in the history of science. I recently quoted a line from Jacques Yves Cousteau: “The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man it is to know and to wonder at it” For me, it means that our sole purpose to come to existence is to unravel the mystery of life and universe. It is in our nature to seek out novelty in every aspect of life. Thus, the end of age of physics will very well be the end of humanity.

Then, what’s the meaning of ‘the age of discovery is coming to a close’? Let’s make an analogy —

— scratch that, I’ll take one from Visions by Michio Kaku, Kaku explained a metaphor by Sheldon Glashow, a Nobel Laureate in physics:

chessboard

「“Arthur [is] an intelligent alien from a distant planet who arrives at Washington Square [in New York City] and observes two old codgers playing chess. Curious, Arthur gives himself two task: to learn the rules of the game, and to become a grand master.” By carefully watching the moves, Arthur is gradually able to reconstruct the rules of the game: how pawns advance, how queens capture knights, and how vulnerable kings are. However, just knowing the rules does not mean that Arthur has become a grand master! As Glashow adds: “Both kinds of endeavors are important–one more ‘relevant,’ the other more ‘fundamental.’ Both represent immense challenges to the human intellect.”」

Meaning, understanding fundamental laws is by no means a finish line in the race of human’s novelty. It’s just mean that we’re opening a new great chapter of scientific advance, one that will unravel yet another wonder of universe before us. This is but the beginning of the Romance of Science, a scientific milestone that marks a significant break with the ancient past, when nature was interpreted through the prism of animism, mysticism, and spiritualism.

The age of discovery is closing its door before us which ended the first great phase in the history of science. We’re now heading toward a new exciting development of the next chapter. An infinite of possibilities is now unfold before us, with our understanding about the fundamental underlying most of the disciplines of science has already been firmly established, we’re now making transition from a passive bystander to a creative choreographer of matter; life and intelligence. the next centuries will witness an even more far-reaching scientific revolution, as we claim our place as the master of Nature, a ‘God by Definition.’

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