They just don’t make physics geniuses the way they used to. Einstein, Heisenberg and de Broglie took classical Newtonian physics and advanced it to a relativistic quantum mechanical model whose predictions have been confirmed experimentally for a hundred years. Our current field of Sheldon Coopers have posited string theory, dark matter and dark energy to account for their not being able to predict cosmic expansion rates and other astronomical claptrap and not a single observation or experiment has born out any of these pseudoscientific fumblings. They might as well re-introduce the phlogiston theory.
They tell us that the STEM fields are relatively unaffected by the decay that is currently laying waste to academia under the forces of critical race theory and feminism. But I don’t think it’s true. I think theoretical and experimental physics are both suffering from a dearth of high-end talent. Mediocrity seems to have laid claim to science in all its departments and all its geographic locations.
You might think, “So what? We already know so much about the universe why do we need to solve every question?” You’re right we don’t. But what it means is that we’re coasting. It is one of the signs of a decaying civilization when scientific discovery dries up. A more advanced symptom is when we start to lose existing technology.
Both of these symptoms appeared in classical civilization. The Greeks were the beginning of scientific research and the Romans were masters of engineering techniques but both of these pursuits decayed and then slowly were abandoned. We have a long way to go before we are 5th century A.D. Rome but these things happen one step at a time.
Some very smart people have told me that the best minds are being siphoned off to work on artificial intelligence research and hedge fund operations. Maybe this is true. But either way it’s a bad sign when intellectual curiosity has dried up in a society.
Alright enough of the old guy rant. Yes, our current crop of scientists is kind of lame but I have a theory that even though the Renaissance civilization is running out of steam there will be new shoots popping up here and there, wherever innovation and intelligence is rewarded. It won’t be in Harvard or MIT. They have decided to only reward diversity so they’ll be rewarded with plenty of diversity. But it will happen somewhere. And when it does it will sweep the rest of the dying order away very quickly. The West has decided to self-destruct and it will slowly devolve into a medieval feudalism. A new civilization won’t at first be worried about dark energy and dark matter but at some point it will divert some of its wealth and intellect into solving fundamental questions. When that happens I’m sure they’ll bring abler minds to that pursuit than the doofuses we have produced. It is emblematic of our times that the tv show, “The Big Bang Theory” showcases four scientists who spent over a decade working on these theories and accomplished nothing at all except possibly overcoming a few of their long lists of neuroses.