But in Dragan’s main job as a physicist at the University of Warsaw in Poland, railing against conformity is not always appreciated. Particularly when those ideas might rock the two pillars that form our fundamental understanding of the world: general relativity and quantum mechanics.
These theories are the crowning achievements of modern physics, describing nature exquisitely, but separately. General relativity handles the big familiar objects and events of the universe, while quantum mechanics covers the invisible and strange micro-world that surrounds us, where subatomic particles can tunnel through barriers they have no business getting past, or where two particles thousands of light-years apart can instantaneously respond to each other's motions.
Most of the time, this setup works well. If you’re looking at how a massive star’s gravity bends light, you whip out your general relativity textbook. And if you want to understand how electrons move through a computer chip, you’ll need your trusty quantum physics hardback by your side. But there are times when a bit of both is called for. Trying to understand what happened in the very first moments of the Big Bang or what goes on in the heart of black holes, for instance.
In these situations, a glaring problem comes into focus: general relativity and quantum mechanics appear to be completely incompatible. The smooth, continuous universe general relativity describes conflicts with the discrete, chunky one of quantum physics. When you bring their equations together you get nonsense.
There's nothing wrong with thinking Except that it's lonesome work sevil regit