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A prize for a final theory

A prize for a final theory
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First Published: Wed, Oct 08 2008. 12 11 AM IST
Updated: Wed, Oct 08 2008. 12 11 AM IST
The 2008 Nobel Prize for physics celebrates the quest for a “final theory”, that Holy Grail of the subject that seeks to explain the fundamental nature of matter and how interactions between its building blocks creates the world we live in.
The prize has been given to Yoichiro Nambu, Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa .Of the three, Nambu made significant contributions to quantum chromodynamics, a subject that studies interactions between fundamental building blocks of matter, called quarks, and neutrons and protons.
The search for a “theory of everything” dates back to Albert Einstein. Nature, as always, has proved elusive: The four fundamental forces (strong, weak, electromagnetic and gravitation) have resisted unification. Nambu’s work chipped the resistance in one sphere. In the end, there may be no such theory or if there’s one, it may be too complicated to be of any use, save as a mathematical curio.
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First Published: Wed, Oct 08 2008. 12 11 AM IST