Physics and <!g>Cosmology in the 20th Century
Two major paradigms emerged out of <!g>classical mechanics during
the first decades of the twentieth century: <!g>special relativity
(1905) and <!g>quantum mechanics (1900 - 1930). When applied to the
physics of gravity, special relativity led to <!g>general relativity
(1915), and, this in turn, led to <!g>Big Bang cosmology. Meanwhile
quantum mechanics, when united with special relativity (1930),
produced relativistic quantum mechanics / quantum <!g>field theory,
and eventually to <!g>particle physics, in which <!g>electromagnetism
and the weak nuclear force were unified (e.g., the <!g>electroweak
force), and these unified with the strong nuclear force (fundamental
particle physics) (1940's - present).
Quantum corrections to the early universe led to inflationary
Big Bang cosmology (1970's-present). Current research areas include
attempts a superunification of all of physics, including gravity,
in terms of quantum gravity and its application to cosmology.
Meanwhile, <!g>classical thermodynamics, developed in the 19th century,
led to <!g>non-linear, <!g>non-equilibrium thermodynamics and its application
to systems showing the spontaneous emergence of order from chaos
(1960's - present).
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| Contributed by: <!g>Dr. Robert Russell