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Can there be a theory of everything?

By John Maddox   January 2001

Can there be a theory of everything?

Dear John

5th December 2000

In your recent book What Remains To Be Discovered you expressed some pessimism about the progress being made at the frontiers of science. I want to explain, as a scientist at one frontier, why I am so optimistic about our progress-especially on the fundamental issue of the unification of quantum theory (understanding the ultimate nature of atoms) with general relativity and cosmology (understanding the nature of space and time) to make a combined quantum theory of gravity.

The problem of quantum gravity is how to complete the…

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