Evidence that nature is surreal.

Quantum physics: our classical picture is wrong - Comment on 2012 October 13

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2012 October 13

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The world is not made up of particles and waves and beams of light with a definite existence. The world works in a much more exploratory way. It is aware of all the possibilities at once and trying them out all the time. That is a hard thing to picture. Read more:

I read an article today and I bring an excerpt from it:

 

In his new book, The Universe Within, theoretical physicist Neil Turok provides the backstory. Einstein and his colleagues were struggling to come to terms with evidence that nature is surreal, he writes.

Deep down, its basic constituents “don’t behave like particles or billiard balls or masses sliding down planes, or weights on springs or clouds or rivers or waves or anything anyone has ever seen in everyday life.”

It would take 70 more years for physicists to appreciate fully the “immense opportunities” offered by quantum physics. Dr. Turok’s book – the basis for his series of Massey Lectures, which began this week in St. John’s – is an attempt to help non-scientists appreciate that potential.

Dr. Turok is also the director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ont. But even such a gifted thinker and communicator has difficulty, he admits, in explaining quantum physics without using equations.

“Quantum physics is one of the hardest things to understand intuitively, because essentially the whole point is that our classical picture is wrong. The world is not made up of particles and waves and beams of light with a definite existence. Instead, the world works in a much more exploratory way. It is aware of all the possibilities at once and trying them out all the time. That is a hard thing to picture.”

Ultimately, he says, physics is about the human mind making sense of the universe, on a scale from one-billionth the size of an atom to 10 trillion times the size of the solar system.

 

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