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Physics: Quantum quest
Nature News ^ | 11 September 2013 | Philip Ball

Posted on 09/16/2013 1:40:34 PM PDT by neverdem

Physicists have spent a century puzzling over the paradoxes of quantum theory. Now a few of them are trying to reinvent it.

If the truth be told, few physicists have ever really felt comfortable with quantum theory. Having lived with it now for more than a century, they have managed to forge a good working relationship; physicists now routinely use the mathematics of quantum behaviour to make stunningly accurate calculations about molecular structure, high-energy particle collisions, semiconductor behaviour, spectral emissions and much more.

But the interactions tend to be strictly formal. As soon as researchers try to get behind the mask and ask what the mathematics mean, they run straight into a seemingly impenetrable wall of paradoxes. Can something really be a particle and a wave at the same time? Is Schrödinger's cat really both alive and dead? Is it true that even the gentlest conceivable measurement can somehow have an effect on particles halfway across the Universe?

Many physicists respond to this inner weirdness by retreating into the 'Copenhagen interpretation' articulated by Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg and their colleagues as they were putting quantum theory into its modern form in the 1920s. The interpretation says that the weirdness reflects fundamental limits on what can be known about the world, and just has to be accepted as the way things are — or, as famously phrased by physicist David Mermin of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, “shut up and calculate!”1

But there have always been some who are not content to shut up — who are determined to get behind the mask and fathom quantum theory's meaning. “What is it about this world that forces us to navigate it with the help of such an abstract entity?” wonders physicist Maximilian Schlosshauer of the University of Portland in Oregon...

(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: physics; quantummechanics

1 posted on 09/16/2013 1:40:34 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Bazinga.


2 posted on 09/16/2013 1:43:08 PM PDT by gundog (Help us, Nairobi-Wan Kenobi...you're our only hope.)
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To: neverdem
Im not sure why this is a paradox..anything that transitions from one state to another has a border that is passes through when it is both and neither..
3 posted on 09/16/2013 1:52:49 PM PDT by tophat9000 (Are we headed to a Cracker Slacker War?)
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To: neverdem

Boonga boonga!


4 posted on 09/16/2013 1:58:32 PM PDT by faithhopecharity (Er)
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To: neverdem

‘“What is it about this world that forces us to navigate it with the help of such an abstract entity?” wonders physicist Maximilian Schlosshauer of the University of Portland in Oregon...’

Search me. God made it that way; ask Him.


5 posted on 09/16/2013 2:01:01 PM PDT by Jack Hammer (American)
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To: Jack Hammer

Where is the old sense of awe. Now that the world is deemed no more than our personal toy box, we yawn.


6 posted on 09/16/2013 2:05:16 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (The Lion of Judah will roar again if you give him a big hug and a cheer and mean it. See my page.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Most moderns can’t handle awe - it scares them.


7 posted on 09/16/2013 2:09:16 PM PDT by Jack Hammer (American)
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To: Jack Hammer

LoL.....


8 posted on 09/16/2013 2:11:55 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole..)
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To: Jack Hammer
God made it that way; ask Him

God might reply, study My Creation,
I have made it Understandable
I have Given you Reason and Logic

One might say that we Honor God by Honoring His Creation
By Studying it and using it Prudently.
We Honor God by being Good Stewards of
the Gifts of Logic and Reason.

Always Honoring the Giver of the Gifts
In all Gratitude and Humility.
And Knowing that ALL is Freely Given Gifts.

The Quantum Mechanics Conundrum is, I Believe, Resolvable.
In this Context

9 posted on 09/16/2013 2:13:08 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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To: HangnJudge
We Honor God by being Good Stewards of the Gifts of Logic and Reason.

Thank you.
That ranks as one of the most enlightening things I've ever read on FR!

10 posted on 09/16/2013 2:20:22 PM PDT by frog in a pot ("To each according to his need..." -from a guy who never had a real job and couldn't feed his family)
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To: HangnJudge

Einstein: “G-d does not play dice.”
Bohr: “Albert, quit telling G-d what to do!”


11 posted on 09/16/2013 2:35:36 PM PDT by donmeaker (Youth is wasted on the young.)
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To: neverdem

It is quite simple. We may know “this much” but not more. Period.
See my tag line,


12 posted on 09/16/2013 2:36:51 PM PDT by ImaGraftedBranch (...By reading this, you've collapsed my wave function. Thanks.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

When I read this I felt awe.

http://www.amazon.com/Introducing-Quantum-Theory-Sciences-Discovery/dp/1840468505/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1379367422&sr=8-2&keywords=cartoon+quantum+mechanics


13 posted on 09/16/2013 2:38:52 PM PDT by donmeaker (Youth is wasted on the young.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

When I read this I felt awe.

http://www.amazon.com/Introducing-Quantum-Theory-Sciences-Discovery/dp/1840468505/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1379367422&sr=8-2&keywords=cartoon+quantum+mechanics


14 posted on 09/16/2013 2:39:55 PM PDT by donmeaker (Youth is wasted on the young.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

And yet I would imagine our bleeding edge science is the equivalent of Lincoln logs. We don’t know what we don’t know. Like an eleven year old :)


15 posted on 09/16/2013 2:42:11 PM PDT by catbertz
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To: donmeaker
Einstein: “G-d does not play dice.”
Bohr: “Albert, quit telling G-d what to do!”

I've always been uncomfortable with Einstein's words here
With his profound Gifts of Reason, and dare we say, Vision
Einstein was able to look “Differently” at
our understanding of Physics.

But to state these words,
especially from a Jewish perspective,
might be thought of as... blasphemous

Better would be to say,
I cannot comprehend a Physics where G-d Rolls Dice
It would seem to be a breach in Causality and Determinism,
both strong features of our understanding of the Universe

16 posted on 09/16/2013 2:46:46 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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To: tophat9000
There is no transition. What quantum theory states is that all that exists is in 'superposition', where a dual state of matter/energy exists at all times, and only 'collapses' into one definitive state or another depending on what arrangement is devised to observe it -- waves or particles. Note that, at subatomic distances, matter and energy are so interchangeable that mass is measured in electron volts.

This also implies, in part, a subjective, user-created reality.

I find it only too fitting that the more we get closer to the nature of 'what is real', the more unreal it becomes.

17 posted on 09/16/2013 2:51:58 PM PDT by Joe Brower (The "American People" are no longer capable of self-governance.)
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To: neverdem

18 posted on 09/16/2013 2:56:27 PM PDT by Lmo56 (If ya wanna run with the big dawgs - ya gotta learn to piss in the tall grass ...)
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To: neverdem

There can not be any paradoxes in nature. What appears to be a paradox is just humans’ imperfect understanding of the universe.


19 posted on 09/16/2013 2:56:36 PM PDT by I want the USA back
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To: neverdem

20 posted on 09/16/2013 2:56:45 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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To: frog in a pot

—Thank you.

That this Creation is so Consistent and Understandable
is enormously comforting to this poor soul

Logic and Reason are features of Man’s Mind
and are profound Gifts, to be used Prudently

It also infers that these are features of the Creator,
and this is even more comforting.

It does NOT infer that
Logic, Reason, Consistency, and Determinism
are Limiting Features of The Creator

Nor does it infer that our Understand of G-d
is limited by the Sciences
(Knowledge Revealed by Reason and Logic)


21 posted on 09/16/2013 3:13:52 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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To: HangnJudge

Rolling dice doesn’t diminish casuality. It just asserts that we are unable to predict it exactly, rather that the act of rolling dice creates new information.

When the differential equations are non-linear, chaotic, with sensitive dependence on initial condition, then accurate prediction of the future is not possible except in the most trivial sense (the temperature close to now will be similar to the temperature now).

That is, among other things, why global warming is bunk. No finite set of past temperature data sets is adequate to predict nontrivial future states BECAUSE the Navier Stokes equations are chaotic, non-linear, with sensitive dependence on initial conditions.


22 posted on 09/16/2013 3:25:24 PM PDT by donmeaker (Youth is wasted on the young.)
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To: HangnJudge
The Quantum Mechanics Conundrum is, I Believe, Resolvable. In this Context

Works for me...

Regards,
GtG

PS As an engineer, I do not need to know why it works, only that it does work,
but there is still that pesky itch to peek under the hood...

23 posted on 09/16/2013 3:29:55 PM PDT by Gandalf_The_Gray (I live in my own little world, I like it 'cuz they know me here.)
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To: neverdem

Mathematics definitely seem a part of God’s creation, which is one good reason for believing in Him.


24 posted on 09/16/2013 3:35:07 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: donmeaker
Navier Stokes equations are chaotic, non-linear,
with sensitive dependence on initial conditions

Oooo... digging back into dimly remembered
non-linear differential equation classes in 1975...

Haven't used it much in the last 38 years,
but it was fun then

My favorite equation

how is it possible to have any relationship between the Ratio of the Circumference of a circle and the base of the natural logarithm, and come up with a unitary non zero value. It boggles my brain

25 posted on 09/16/2013 3:39:37 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
Boy interrupted: Y-chromosome mutations reveal precariousness of male development

Cells Reprogrammed in Living Mice

Biomarker May Predict Prostate Cancers Requiring Treatment

Low Estrogen May Play a Role in 'Male Menopause'

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

26 posted on 09/16/2013 3:40:23 PM PDT by neverdem (Register pressure cookers! /s)
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To: gundog

Bill Clinton says, “What about a pair of doxies?”


27 posted on 09/16/2013 5:07:07 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: HangnJudge

The shocking thing about Euler is his papers filled scientific journals for 30 years after his death.

Wow.


28 posted on 09/16/2013 6:24:35 PM PDT by donmeaker (Youth is wasted on the young.)
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To: HangnJudge

The shocking thing about Euler is his papers filled scientific journals for 30 years after his death.

Wow.


29 posted on 09/16/2013 6:24:44 PM PDT by donmeaker (Youth is wasted on the young.)
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