Will there be a major paradigm shift in physics, like Newtonian to Modern Physics, by the end of 2040?


  • YES Resolution: This question resolves to YES if, by December 31, 2040, there is a widely recognized and significant paradigm shift in the field of physics, changing our fundamental understanding of the universe in a way comparable to the shift from Newtonian to Modern Physics.

  • NO Resolution: If no such paradigm shift is recognized by the end of 2040, the market resolves to NO.

  • Recognition of Shift: The shift must be acknowledged by the scientific community and reported in major scientific publications or mainstream media as a "fundamental change in the understanding of physical laws or principles".

  • Understanding 'Paradigm Shift': A paradigm shift, in this context, refers to a fundamental change in the basic concepts, experimental practices, and theories that form the foundation of scientific understanding in physics.

Areas of Potential Shift: Key areas that could indicate such a shift include the unification of gravity and quantum mechanics, significant revelations about dark matter and dark energy, advancements in Quantum Field Theory, emergent phenomena in complex systems, transformative technological innovations, unexpected experimental discoveries, or major philosophical or conceptual shifts .etc.

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bought Ṁ7 of NO

Quantum mechanics took 27 years from Planck’s blackbody law to the 1927 Solvay conference. Relativity had a longer timescale even, depending on the milestones you choose: Mercury’s anomalous precession was found in 1859, GR formulated in 1916. We have a great deal of problems in physics today that could spark a paradigm shift but it feels like we are still at the beginning of the crisis. Not enough time by 2040.

predicts YES

Thanks for your comment!
Your assumption seems quite reasonable. I was considering that advancements in AI technology and computing capabilities might enable physicists to uncover novel patterns in the universe, potentially leading to a significant paradigm shift in physics. However, I agree that such a development seems improbable at the moment.

Random gravity

bought Ṁ100 of YES

The Many Worlds Interpretation will gain more traction and I think this will likely be considered a "fundamental change in the understanding of physical laws or principles".

predicts YES

@Primer That's a nice theory👍

@Latte_Horse The smart people already absorbed MWI, though? If greater public understanding counts as a paradigm shift, I should reconsider my NO bet.

@Latte_Horse Same applies to my Yes bet. Would e.g. a headline "Physicists agree on MWI - fundamental change on our understanding of the universe" resolve this?

@Primer I have looked into some papers, and it seems that accepting MWI theory will remove action at a distance and randomness from quantum theory. I believe it is tackling one of the foundations of quantum theory.
So, yes, it sounds to me that it is a major paradigm shift.

Here are some papers that I have found:

@Latte_Horse It doesn't affect any observable results. Doesn't seem reasonable to call it a major (or even minor) paradigm shift.

@Primer MWI is just the thesis that the wavefunction is real and you should just use the wavefunction. This approach has been completely unhelpful to placing QFT on solid, unambiguous mathematical footing. It can't be sufficient for moving forward. If you want to bet on interpretations getting you out of a rut, bet on Bohmian Mechanics or GRW doing something unexpected. Unlikely, but maybe Bohmian Time of Flight will provide a new path to reconceptualize things. MWI is a dead end for how to move forward because we've already, in effect, been doing it. (I mean, I guess you could do the Plaga experiment just to prove MWI is right and everything else is a waste of time, but nobody really thinks that will work.)

@Najawin Switching from

This is the one true reality. When we measure an electron with spin up, the one and only reality has the electron as measured spin-up.


The reality is the wavefunction and we exist in a small part of it. There are many worlds. When we measure an electron spin-up, we merely know we are in the respective branch of the multiverse.

sounds to me like a paradigm shift as big as they get. Being a paradigm shift is orthogonal to advancing what we can calculate.

The interesting question was: Has this switch already occured? If it has, I'd have sold my Yes shares.

@Primer "sounds to me like a paradigm shift as big as they get. Being a paradigm shift is orthogonal to advancing what we can calculate."

You are incorrect. It's a crucial part of paradigms that they change the sorts of questions that people ask during normal science, that they offer new conceptual paths for us to explore. Just grabbing real quick from the SEP here:

"In the research tradition it inaugurates, a paradigm-as-exemplar fulfils three functions: (i) it suggests new puzzles; (ii) it suggests approaches to solving those puzzles; (iii) it is the standard by which the quality of a proposed puzzle-solution can be measured (1962/1970a, 38–9). In each case it is similarity to the exemplar that is the scientists’ guide."

MWI does none of these for QFT.

@Najawin It seems you're using an unusually narrow meaning of "paradigm shift".

MWI does none of these for QFT.

Maybe, but this isn't about QFT.

@Primer I am using the actual notion of the term, as given by Kuhn in SSR, yes. Paradigms are distinct from interpretations and theories.

"Maybe, but this isn't about QFT."

I mean, it doesn't even do it for non-relativistic QM. It doesn't suggest anything new, it can't, in principle. It explicitly denies that it can! (Again, modulo Plaga.) It's no different from doing the experimental design as a von Neumann Wigner proponent would, or a Copenhagen proponent would.

@Najawin I would be interested in betting on a market with a narrow, technical question about breakthroughs in physics. Maybe with a resolution based on a combination of citations and media attention.

bought Ṁ17 of NO

Physics hasn't had a paradigm shift in the last 80 years, seems unlikely it'll have one in the next 20

@ShakedKoplewitz This question is more like “even though humans have not made paradigm shift discoveries in 80 years, will AI find something we weren’t capable of finding?”

AI unknown is doing all the heavy lifting in this market.

@ShakedKoplewitz Past performance is no guarantee of future results:-D

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