Physics in the year 2006 is tightly constrained by experiment, observation, and mathematical consistency. The Standard Model provides a remarkably precise de- scription of particle physics, and general relativity is quite successful in describing gravitational phenomena. At the same time, it is clear that a more fundamental theory is needed for several distinct reasons. Here we consider a new approach, which begins with the unusually ambitious point of view that a truly fundamental theory should aspire to explaining the origins of Lorentz invariance, gravity, gauge fields and their symmetry, supersymmetry, fermionic fields, bosonic fields, quantum mechanics and spacetime. The present dissertation is organized so that it starts with the most conventional ideas for extending the Standard Model and ends with a microscopic statistical picture, which is actually the logical starting point of the theory, but which is also the most remote excursion from conventional physics. One motivation for the present work is the fact that a Euclidean path integral in quantum physics is equivalent to a partition function in statistical physics. This suggests that the most fundamental description of nature may be statistical. This dissertation may be regarded as an attempt to see how far one can go with this premise in explaining the observed phenomena, starting with the simplest statistical picture imaginable. It may be that nature is richer than the model assumed here, but the present results are quite suggestive, because, with a set of assumptions that are not unreasonable, one recovers the phenomena listed above. At the end, the present theory leads back to conventional physics, except that Lorentz invariance and supersymmetry are violated at extremely high energy. To be more specific, one obtains local Lorentz invariance (at low energy compared to the Planck scale), an SO(N) unified gauge theory (with N = 10 as the simplest possibility), supersymmetry of Standard Model fermions and their sfermion partners, and other familiar features of standard physics. Like other attempts at superunification, the present theory involves higher dimensions and topological defects.
Physics in the year 2006 is tightly constrained by experiment, observation, and mathematical consistency. The Standard Model provides a remarkably precise de- scription of particle physics, and general relativity is quite successful in describing gravitational phenomena. At the same time, it is clear that a more fundamental theory is needed for several distinct reasons. Here we consider a new approach, which begins with the unusually ambitious point of view that a truly fundamental theory should aspire to explaining the origins of Lorentz invariance, gravity, gauge fields and their symmetry, supersymmetry, fermionic fields, bosonic fields, quantum mechanics and spacetime. The present dissertation is organized so that it starts with the most conventional ideas for extending the Standard Model and ends with a microscopic statistical picture, which is actually the logical starting point of the theory, but which is also the most remote excursion from conventional physics. One motivation for the present work is the fact that a Euclidean path integral in quantum physics is equivalent to a partition function in statistical physics. This suggests that the most fundamental description of nature may be statistical. This dissertation may be regarded as an attempt to see how far one can go with this premise in explaining the observed phenomena, starting with the simplest statistical picture imaginable. It may be that nature is richer than the model assumed here, but the present results are quite suggestive, because, with a set of assumptions that are not unreasonable, one recovers the phenomena listed above. At the end, the present theory leads back to conventional physics, except that Lorentz invariance and supersymmetry are violated at extremely high energy. To be more specific, one obtains local Lorentz invariance (at low energy compared to the Planck scale), an SO(N) unified gauge theory (with N = 10 as the simplest possibility), supersymmetry of Standard Model fermions and their sfermion partners, and other familiar features of standard physics. Like other attempts at superunification, the present theory involves higher dimensions and topological defects.