The puzzling concern among physicists has been the great disparity between general relativity and quantum mechanics. This inconsistency is predicated upon general relativity’s accuracy with large objects (planets, universes, etc…) and quantum mechanics’ accuracy on phenomena dealing with extremely tiny objects (atoms and subatomic particles). Is it possible to reconcile these two fundamental, yet conflicting theories?
General relativity applies to massive objects, while quantum mechanics applies to extremely small objects (at the quantum level). But what happens when an object is both extremely small and large at the same time – for instance, the originating point of a black hole? Are both theories needed? The answer is yes; however, attempting to combine general relativity and quantum mechanics results in an absurd and clearly inaccurate mathematical answer, typically infinity. So, each of these theories are accurate in their own right but describes the nature of matter and mass so differently that they cannot be combined together. The reason for this incompatibility lies at the way matter is presented in the theories. General relativity describes space as being a smooth surface, but quantum mechanics paints a different picture. Based on quantum mechanics, shows an excited world with constant fluctuations and activity. In fact, the greater one delves into this fabric of space, the more violent and frequent the activity occurs.
Sources and Links
- Greene, Brian. “The Elegant Universe.” Vintage Books , New York: 2003.