What the Bleep Do We Know!? — страница 3

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is understandable and in most cases perfectly fine for practical purposes. But when it comes to understanding the nature of reality, it is useful to keep in mind that quantum mechanics describes the fundamental building blocks of nature, and the classical world is composed of those blocks too, whether we observe them or not. The competing interpretations of quantum mechanics differ principally on which of the common-sense assumptions one is comfortable in giving up. Interpretations Copenhagen Interpretation – This is the orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics, promoted by Danish physicist Niels Bohr (thus the reference to Copenhagen, where Bohr’s institute is located). In an overly simplified form, it asserts that there is no ultimately knowable reality. In a sense,

this interpretation may be thought of as a “don’t ask–don’t tell” approach that allows quantum mechanics to be used without having to care about what it means. According to Bohr, it means nothing, at least not in ordinary human terms. Wholeness – Einstein’s protégé David Bohm maintained that quantum mechanics reveals that reality is an undivided whole in which everything is connected in a deep way, transcending the ordinary limits of space and time. Many Worlds – Physicist Hugh Everett proposed that when a quantum measurement is performed, every possible outcome will actualize. But in the process of actualizing, the universe will split into as many versions of itself as needed to accommodate all possible measurement results. Then each of the

resulting universes is actually a separate universe. Quantum Logic – This interpretation says that perhaps quantum mechanics is puzzling because our common sense assumptions about logic break down in the quantum realm. Mathematician John von Neumann developed a “wave logic” that could account for some of the puzzles of quantum theory without completely abandoning classical concepts. Concepts in quantum logic have been vigorously pursued by philosophers. NeoRealism – This was the position led by Einstein, who refused to accept any interpretation, including the Copenhagen Interpretation, asserting that common sense reality does not exist. The neorealists propose that reality consists of objects familiar to classical physics, and thus the paradoxes of quantum mechanics

reveal the presence of flaws in the theory. This view is also known as the “hidden variable” interpretation of quantum mechanics, which assumes that once we discover all the missing factors the paradoxes will go away. Consciousness Creates Reality – This interpretation pushes to the extreme the idea that the act of measurement, or possibly even human consciousness, is associated with the formation of reality. This provides the act of observation an especially privileged role of collapsing the possible into the actual. Many mainstream physicists regard this interpretation as little more than wishful New Age thinking, but not all. A few physicists have embraced this view and have developed descriptive variations of quantum theory that do accommodate such ideas. It should be

emphasized that at present no one fully understands quantum mechanics. And thus there is no clear authority on which interpretation is more accurate. Additional Resources BOOKS Davies, P. C. W. The Ghost in the Atom: A Discussion of the Mysteries of Quantum Physics. Cambridge University Press, 1986. Feynman, Richard. QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter. Princeton University Press, 1985. Greene, Brian. The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory. Vintage, 2000. Hawking, Stephen. A Brief History of Time: The Updated and Expanded Tenth Anniversary Edition. Bantam, 1998. Heisenberg, Werner. Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science. Harper and Row, 1958. Heisenberg, Werner. Physics and Beyond: Encounters and

Conversations. Harper and Row, 1971. Herbert, Nick. Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics. Anchor Books, 1987. McFarlane, Thomas. The Illusion of Materialism: How Quantum Physics Contradicts the Belief in an Objective World Existing Independent of Observation. Center Voice: The Newsletter of the Center for Sacred Sciences, Summer-Fall 1999. Zukav, Gary. The Dancing Wu Li Masters. Bantam Books, 1990. INTERNET Heisenberg and Uncertainty: A Web Exhibit American Institute of Physics www.aip.org/history/heisenberg/ Measurement in Quantum Mechanics: Frequently Asked Questions edited by Paul Budnik www.mtnmath.com/faq/meas-qm.html The Particle Adventure: An interactive tour of fundamental particles and forces Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory www.particleadventure.org Discussions