Even ignoring quantum mechanics, chaos theory is sufficient to guarantee that the future of any sufficiently complex mechanical or astronomical system is unpredictable. In 1820, Hans Christian Ørsted discovered a connection between electricity and magnetism, triggering decades of work that culminated in 1865, in James Clerk Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, it gradually became apparent that many common examples of forces – contact forces, elasticity, viscosity, friction, and pressure – result from electrical interactions between the smallest particles of matter. In his experiments of 1849–50, Michael Faraday was the first to search for a unification of gravity with electricity and magnetism.

Even ignoring quantum mechanics, chaos theory is sufficient to guarantee that the future of any sufficiently complex mechanical or astronomical system is unpredictable. In 1820, Hans Christian Ørsted discovered a connection between electricity and magnetism, triggering decades of work that culminated in 1865, in James Clerk Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism.

However, he found no connection. In 1900, David Hilbert published a famous list of mathematical problems.

Einstein wrote to a friend in the early 1940s, "I have become a lonely old chap who is mainly known because he doesn't wear socks and who is exhibited as a curiosity on special occasions." Prominent contributors were Gunnar Nordström, Hermann Weyl, Arthur Eddington, David Hilbert, Theodor Kaluza, Oskar Klein (see Kaluza–Klein theory), and most notably, Albert Einstein and his collaborators.

For example, a grandfather of Ijon Tichy – a character from a cycle of Stanisław Lem's science fiction stories of the 1960s – was known to work on the "General Theory of Everything".

The first two were combined in 1967–68 by Sheldon Glashow, Steven Weinberg, and Abdus Salam into the electroweak force. Electroweak unification is a broken symmetry: the electromagnetic and weak forces appear distinct at low energies because the particles carrying the weak force, the W and Z bosons, have non-zero masses ( and , respectively), whereas the photon, which carries the electromagnetic force, is massless.

Physicist Harald Fritzsch used the term in his 1977 lectures in Varenna.

Physicist John Ellis claims to have introduced the term into the technical literature in an article in Nature in 1986.

However, the existence of these forces and particles has not been proven. ===String theory and M-theory=== Since the 1990s, some physicists such as Edward Witten believe that 11-dimensional M-theory, which is described in some limits by one of the five perturbative superstring theories, and in another by the maximally-supersymmetric 11-dimensional supergravity, is the theory of everything.

It has also led to many insights in pure mathematics and in ordinary, strongly-coupled gauge theory due to the Gauge/String duality. In the late 1990s, it was noted that one major hurdle in this endeavor is that the number of possible four-dimensional universes is incredibly large.

In 2000, Schmidhuber explicitly constructed limit-computable, deterministic universes whose pseudo-randomness based on undecidable, Gödel-like [problem]s is extremely hard to detect but does not at all prevent formal TOEs describable by very few bits of information. Related critique was offered by Solomon Feferman, among others.

The model was expressly generalized for an infinite number of generations and for the weak force bosons (but not for photons or gluons) in a 2008 paper by Bilson-Thompson, Hackett, Kauffman and Smolin. ===Other attempts=== Among other attempts to develop a theory of everything is the theory of causal fermion systems, giving the two current physical theories (general relativity and quantum field theory) as limiting cases. Another theory is called Causal Sets.

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