… Even Physicists Don’t Understand Quantum Mechanics …

Worse, they don’t seem to want to understand it.

I think I can safely say that nobody really understands quantum mechanics,” observed the physicist and Nobel laureate Richard Feynman.

That’s not surprising, as far as it goes.

Science makes progress by confronting our lack of understanding, and quantum mechanics has a reputation for being especially mysterious.

What’s surprising is that physicists seem to be O.K. with not understanding the most important theory they have.

Quantum mechanics, assembled gradually by a group of brilliant minds over the first decades of the 20th century, is an incredibly successful theory.

We need it to account for how atoms decay, why stars shine, how transistors and lasers work and, for that matter, why tables and chairs are solid

rather than immediately collapsing onto the floor.

Scientists can use quantum mechanics with perfect confidence.

But it’s a black box.

We can set up a physical situation, and make predictions about what will happen next that are verified to spectacular accuracy.

What we don’t do is claim to understandquantum mechanics.

Physicists don’t understand their own theory any better than a typical smartphone user understands what’s going on inside the device.





















Sept. 7, 2019







One thought on “… Even Physicists Don’t Understand Quantum Mechanics …

  1. Very good article, yes, by Sean Caroll. Thanks to you for putting it here, as I read it.

    Trying to answer the 2 questions raised on quantum observation here :

    When we flip a coin, what are the chances of getting heads or tails ? Obviously 50-50, that is equal chances which out of 100 is 50 for each, or out of 1 is half for each. We call the probability is half, which is often interpreted as neither tails nor heads but midway, as if the flipped coin exists in a smudged fuzzy state. Funny and strange ! This pre-occurrence state is the quantum wave (wave of what ? sea water ? it is wave of probability.)

    But what happens when we actually flip it ? Obviously, after flipping, in reality a flipped coin has a definite state, which is either heads or tails, but nothing midway. This post-occurrence state is called quantum wave collapse.

    To clarify the enigma, the wave is only a possibility, not a real state while its collapse is a change from possibility into reality. Physics deals with real objects whereas Math can deal with abstracts. The confusion arises as quantum wave is merely a Math that is tried be comprehended by Physics.

    Liked by 1 person

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