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It's been nearly a century since relativity and quantum physics took the stage, and we have gathered considerably more data, and filled in a great many areas since then, yet we are still waiting for the next big breakthrough.

The problem may be in the way we approach scientific discovery.

Currently, when a new hypothesis is advanced, it is carefully considered as to how well it stands on its own and whether, eventually, it is worthy of being adopted as a recognized theory and becoming a part of our overall model of how everything works.

This might be the problem. Suppose the next advance cannot be made in this fashion? By this I am proposing that the next breakthrough may involve not a single new concept, that can be tested independently for worthiness, but several that cannot be tested individually.

For example, when you build a stone wall, you can test its strength and stability with each new stone placed. When you build a stone arch, attempting to test its strength and stability after each piece is going to get you labeled as an incompetent as the uppermost pieces will always fall if you merely try to set them in place, one at a time. Insisting that there are several pieces that must be placed at once before it can be tested is necessary, yet in theoretical physics, it well get you labeled as a crackpot.

For example, suppose one were to approach a transportation company with a radical new idea on how to improve airplanes, and even air travel in general. The company would want to test it and validate the concept before adoption. But suppose you told them that the idea could not even be evaluated unless it simultaneously includes the research and development of radical new ideas in such seemingly unrelated fields as personnel management, inventory control, and submarine transports. Chances are they would politely (or perhaps not politely) decline any further involvement.

Yet that is precisely the problem with the Standard Model.

We have conundrums in explaining consciousness, the dual-slit experiment, Schrodinger's cat, the number of spatial dimensions required, the expansion of the universe, the acceleration of the expansion of the universe, dark matter, dark energy, quantum uncertainty, the speed of light, singularities, the Big Bang, the heat-death (or Big Chill) of the universe, the Big Rip, gravity, entropy, and the list continues. Anyone that attempts to address more than one or two of these things at one time is likely to be dismissed at once as a crackpot. 

Yet is fairly well believed that Einstein's classic papers, submitted in today's climate, would go straight to the crackpot slush pile.

There is also the problem that, for proposed idea in physics to be given a hearing of any sort almost invariably requires advanced degree work in physics, with appropriately degreed instructors and sponsors. A paid position in the field is very nearly a prerequisite as well. Further, given the preoccupation with string theory that has consumed so many of them, and so restricted the opportunities of those who are not adherents . . . I've heard there may be less than 200 individuals in the world employed as theoretical physicists that are not dedicated to string theory (which doesn't seem to yield useful results in terms of advancing or redefining the Standard Model).

Additionally, given that they all go through a similar process to become recognized theoretical physicists, it almost certainly channels and colors their thinking on the subject, which is the same thing as saying that it limits them.