Sunday, November 7, 2010

309 / Entanglement #2

I have now finished that book on "entanglement" that was recommended to me by my physicist friend, Chia Tze. He promised me that the book could be understood by a non-mathematician, and I do answer to that description. I did understand the book, too, The Age of Entanglement, and recommend it to other non-physicists and other non-mathematical types who may chance to read this report.

In all fairness, while I understood the book, I do not yet claim to "understand" quantum mechanics, which is what the book is all about. To the credit of the physicists whose conversations about quantum mechanics are reported/hypothesized at length in The Age of Entanglement, it's not clear to me that the physicists really "understand" quantum mechanics, either.

Here, for instance, is what physicist Chris Fuchs, described as a "Texan ... who works at Bell Labs," is supposed to be thinking about that very subject:

When I was in junior high school, I sat down with Martin Gardner's book Relativity for the Million and came away with an understanding of the subject that sustains me even today. The concepts were strange to my everyday world, but they were clear enough that I could get a grasp of them knowing little more mathematics than arithmetic. One would expect nothing less for a proper foundation to the quantum. Until we can explain the essence of the theory to a junior high school or high school student - the essence, not the mathematics - and have them walk away with a deep, lasting memory, I well believe we will not have understood a thing about quantum foundations.
I have to agree with Fuchs, based on The Age of Entanglement, at least, that the physicists aren't "there" quite yet.

Which is not to say that they aren't "somewhere."

It seems, unless I am totally missing the point, that we, who may think of ourselves as "observers," only, of the world outside us, are in fact complicit in its very creation.

That is something to keep thinking about. It's what I am trying to think about every day.

Because if we are complicit in the creation of the realities we experience, we may be able to create better ones.

And that would be something worth doing, not just thinking about!

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