The Awesome Power of Theoretical Physics in Your Everyday Life

“Yeah, this string theory stuff is nice and all, but what does it have to do with the price of eggs?”, is not one of the questions I’ve had to field at the end of a public lecture, but it could have been.

If it had come up, I could have pointed the questioner to this post by Robert. Please, please check out this fine example of how we use scaling laws in physics and in everyday life, with remarkable effects.


P.S. After reading it, I bet you’ll consider contacting your local government representative to get them to urge for more tax dollars to be put into theoretical physics. It’s really the best way to be sure that more of us are kept off the streets… 🙂

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One Response to The Awesome Power of Theoretical Physics in Your Everyday Life

  1. damtp_dweller says:

    Heh heh heh. Robert’s post does, of course, hint at something much, much deeper and perhaps of more relevance to peoples’ everday lives than string theory or braneworlds: the markets are driven by, and explained by, mathematical and physical intuition at least as much as high energy theory is. I often wonder whether or not it’s worthwhile to completely revamp, for example, the A level business subjects in favour of a curriculum which emphasises the importance of risk in mathematical models. When one thinks about it a little bit, it really wouldn’t take a lot of work to make subjects such as options pricing and the Black-Scholes model accessible to teenagers. Hell, if we really wanted to introduce teenagers to some inspirational applications of maths, we could probably come up with a way to make stochastic and Ito calculus intelligible to seventeen year olds by telling them how Brownian motion can pretty confidently predict how much a barrel of oil will cost in twelve month’s time.

    It’s just a short step from there to convincing them that differential geometry, complex analysis, and Mandelstam variables have real-world applications. 🙂