Saturday, October 17, 2009

Craziness has a fine history in physics?

In an essay titled "The Collider, the Particle and a Theory About Fate," DENNIS OVERBYE writes:

But craziness has a fine history in a physics that talks routinely about cats being dead and alive at the same time and about anti-gravity puffing out the universe.

As Niels Bohr, Dr. Nielsen’s late countryman and one of the founders of quantum theory, once told a colleague: “We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct.”

Of Schrodinger's cat, wikipedia writes: Schrödinger did not wish to promote the idea of dead-and-alive cats as a serious possibility; quite the reverse. The thought experiment serves to illustrate the bizarreness of quantum mechanics and the mathematics necessary to describe quantum states. Intended as a critique of just the Copenhagen interpretation (the prevailing orthodoxy in 1935), the Schrödinger cat thought experiment remains a topical touchstone for all interpretations of quantum mechanics.

Wikipedia also mentions that Hugh Everett (Princeton PhD) formulated the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.


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