ADVERTISEMENT

The Elusive Theory of Everything

Physicists have long sought to find one final theory that would unify all of physics. Instead they may have to settle for several
THIS IS A PREVIEW.
or subscribe to access the full article.



Illustrations by Barron Storey

A few years ago the city council of Monza, Italy, barred pet owners from keeping goldfish in curved fishbowls. The sponsors of the measure explained that it is cruel to keep a fish in a bowl because the curved sides give the fish a distorted view of reality. Aside from the measure’s significance to the poor goldfish, the story raises an interesting philosophical question: How do we know that the reality we perceive is true?

The goldfish is seeing a version of reality that is different from ours, but can we be sure it is any less real? For all we know, we, too, may spend our entire lives staring out at the world through a distorting lens.

THIS IS A PREVIEW.
or subscribe to access the full article.
Buy Digital Issue $7.99
Digital Issue + All Access Subscription $99.99 Subscribe
Share this Article:

Comments

You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.

Email this Article

X