The philosopher Kuhn distinguished routine science that changes theories, from paradigm shifts that change their foundations, where the axioms a theory is built on are its foundations. Changing foundations is difficult so Kuhn argued that science involves long periods of routine theory changes interspersed with occasional revolutionary paradigm shifts (Kuhn, 1970).

For example, Euclid’s assumption that parallel lines can’t converge was accepted for two thousand years, until it was realized that on curved surfaces like the earth, parallel longitudes do converge (at the poles). Changing that axiom gave hyper-geometries that work on curved surfaces, and made Euclid’s geometry the special case of a flat surface. Einstein’s relativity was another paradigm shift that included its predecessor, Newton’s mechanics, as a special case. Science sometimes has to change its foundations to advance.

What then are good theory foundations? Chaitin argued that good axioms support more than one fact (Chaitin, 2006), based on Gödel’s proof that all theories are incomplete (Gödel, 1962). Good theories use a few axioms to predict many facts. Ignoring this criterion by adding new axioms for every new fact increases size not success, just as putting a shack on every new plot of land gives a shanty town not a city of skyscrapers. That a theory isn’t increasing knowledge is a sign that it needs a paradigm shift.

It is increasingly obvious that particle physics today is stagnating, as:

“*One experiment after another is returning null results: No new particles, no new dimensions, no new symmetries.*” (Hossenfelder, 2018).

It is also obvious that physics has been adding new axioms to explain new facts for a while now. Particles and fields have increased but not their predictions. Gravitons were assumed to explain gravity, but predicted nothing new. Virtual particles with mass were assumed to explain neutron decay, but again predicted nothing. A Higgs field was assumed to explain how those particles had mass, but it also led nowhere. The field has increased in complexity but has made no breakthrough in decades, suggesting the need for a paradigm shift.

The paradigm shift proposed is to base physics on waves not particles, as quantum theory does. This change is costly but disruptive innovations can be the price of progress (Sandström, 2010). Adding meaning to the equations of physics would give it a semantic heart not kill it. For example, Schrödinger’s equation would stay the same but now describe what exists, not what doesn’t. Just as giving up geocentrism gave new directions in astronomy, giving up materialism offers new directions in physics, such as a focus on light not matter (4.5.9). Changing Wheeler’s It from Bit into *It from Qubit *is the paradigm shift that physics needs, but it challenges the belief that we already have all the answers.