The Broader Picture: Issues in The Studying of Quantum Mechanics
Op-ed worth the read. Comments are where an understanding of the originating author’s perception is founded. Because Quantum is Coming. Qubit.
Quantum Supremacy II (Not Even Wrong)
Excerpts and salient points ~
+ Looking at new books on fundamental physics that I’ve seen over the past year and a half, the conventional enthusiastic treatment of string theory/SUSY/extra dimensions is now dead, with Sabine Hossenfelder’s Lost in Math the only popular book addressing these topics, and doing so in a quite negative way. The new trendy topic is the foundations of quantum mechanics, with the recent publication of Adam Becker’s What is Real?, Philip Ball’s Beyond Weird, Anil Ananthaswamy’s Through Two Doors at Once, Lee Smolin’s Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution, George Greenstein’s Quantum Strangeness, and Sean Carroll’s Something Deeply Hidden. Forthcoming from Oxford University Press are two quantum books by Jim Baggott, Quantum Reality and The Quantum Cookbook.
The latest example of the high public profile of quantum mechanics is the publication today in the New York Times of a piece by Sean Carroll arguing that Even Physicists Don’t Understand Quantum Mechanics: worse, they don’t seem to want to understand it. Unfortunately I don’t think that this article accurately describes the issues surrounding what we do and don’t understand about “quantum foundations”, nor the dramatically improving funding prospects for research in this area.
+ On the whole this change in hot topic is a positive development, although the fact that it’s driven by a lack of anything new to say about particle physics and unification is rather depressing. On the quantum front, while I think it’s great that public attention is being drawn to quantum mechanics, if you look at my reviews you’ll see that I have mixed feelings about the point of view taken by some of the recent books (the best of the lot I think is Philip Ball’s).
+ Blake Stacey says: September 7, 2019 at 5:42 pm For that matter, the most famous riposte to the view that quantum mechanics can be “considered complete” is the EPR paper, and neither Podolsky nor Rosen were drummed out of the physics profession! Louis de Broglie doesn’t seem to have suffered for returning to pilot-wave theory in the 1950s. I have heard that he quashed the careers of Jean-Louis Destouches and Paulette Destouches-Février for taking too Bohrian a turn in their work on quantum logic, but that’s philosopher lore which may or may not be confirmable in a history book. And speaking of quantum logic, that’s a thing that a small but determined set of researchers bustled away at in order to “dig more deeply”, starting with Birkhoff and von Neumann and continuing with Jauch, Piron, Mackey, etc. I doubt that any of Andrew Gleason’s colleagues criticized him for doing quantum foundations instead of getting back to Hilbert’s fifth problem.
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