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2019-09-07 17:27:54 UTC

Even Physicists Don’t Understand Quantum Mechanics

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

By Sean Carroll

Dr. Carroll is a physicist.

Sept. 7, 2019

====

Physicists don't understand their own theory

any better than a typical smartphone user

understands what’s going on inside the device.

#

There are two problems.

One is the “measurement problem” of quantum theory.

The other problem is ''wave functions''

#

If nobody understands quantum mechanics,

nobody understands the universe.

. . . . .

Few modern physics departments have researchers

working to understand the foundations of quantum theory.

. . .

Physicists brought up in the modern system will

look into your eyes and explain with all sincerity that

they’re not really interested in understanding how

nature really works; they just want to successfully

predict the outcomes of experiments

. . .

In the 1950s the physicist David Bohm, egged on

by Einstein, proposed an ingenious way of augmenting

traditional quantum theory in order to solve the

measurement problem.

Werner Heisenberg, one of the pioneers of quantum

mechanics, responded by labeling the theory

“a superfluous ideological superstructure,” and

Bohm’s former mentor Robert Oppenheimer huffed,

“If we cannot disprove Bohm, then we must agree to ignore him.”

. . . .

A more recent solution to the measurement problem, proposed

by the physicists Giancarlo Ghirardi, Alberto Rimini and

Tulio Weber, is unknown to most physicists.

. . . .

But they have been neglected by most scientists.

For years, the leading journal in physics had an explicit

policy that papers on the foundations of quantum mechanics

were to be rejected out of hand.

. . . .

The situation might be changing, albeit gradually.

. . .

It’s hard to make progress when the data just keep

confirming the theories we have, rather than pointing

toward new ones.

. . . .

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/07/opinion/sunday/quantum-physics.html

====

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

By Sean Carroll

Dr. Carroll is a physicist.

Sept. 7, 2019

====

Physicists don't understand their own theory

any better than a typical smartphone user

understands what’s going on inside the device.

#

There are two problems.

One is the “measurement problem” of quantum theory.

The other problem is ''wave functions''

#

If nobody understands quantum mechanics,

nobody understands the universe.

. . . . .

Few modern physics departments have researchers

working to understand the foundations of quantum theory.

. . .

Physicists brought up in the modern system will

look into your eyes and explain with all sincerity that

they’re not really interested in understanding how

nature really works; they just want to successfully

predict the outcomes of experiments

. . .

In the 1950s the physicist David Bohm, egged on

by Einstein, proposed an ingenious way of augmenting

traditional quantum theory in order to solve the

measurement problem.

Werner Heisenberg, one of the pioneers of quantum

mechanics, responded by labeling the theory

“a superfluous ideological superstructure,” and

Bohm’s former mentor Robert Oppenheimer huffed,

“If we cannot disprove Bohm, then we must agree to ignore him.”

. . . .

A more recent solution to the measurement problem, proposed

by the physicists Giancarlo Ghirardi, Alberto Rimini and

Tulio Weber, is unknown to most physicists.

. . . .

But they have been neglected by most scientists.

For years, the leading journal in physics had an explicit

policy that papers on the foundations of quantum mechanics

were to be rejected out of hand.

. . . .

The situation might be changing, albeit gradually.

. . .

It’s hard to make progress when the data just keep

confirming the theories we have, rather than pointing

toward new ones.

. . . .

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/07/opinion/sunday/quantum-physics.html

====