We usually leave that to historians and literary critics.
New forces and interactions might appear at those scales whose impact was too tiny to detect at the larger distances previously investigated.
The notion of scale, which tells physicists the range of sizes or energies that are relevant for any particular investigation, is critical to the understanding of scientific progress — as well as to many other aspects of the world around us.
Scientific theories grow and expand to absorb increased knowledge, while retaining the reliable parts of ideas that came before.
Science thereby incorporates old established knowledge into the more comprehensive picture that emerges from a broader range of experimental and theoretical observations.
Scientific “beliefs” then evolve in accordance with our expanded knowledge.
Nonetheless, even when improved technology makes a broader range of observations possible, we don’t necessarily just abandon the theories that made successful predictions for the distances and energies, or speeds and densities, that were accessible in the past.
My own research ﬁeld of particle physics investigates increasingly smaller distances in order to study successively tinier components of matter.
Current experimental and theoretical research attempt to expose what matter conceals — that which is embedded ever deeper inside.
The universe evolves and so does our scientific knowledge of it.
Over time, scientists peel away layers of reality to expose what lies beneath the surface.
The ideas and suggestions that excite us today will soon be forgotten if they are invalidated by more persuasive or comprehensive experimental work tomorrow.