Tag: Quantum mechanics

I refute it thus?
A while ago I read Max Tegmark‘s “Our Mathematical Universe” (Amazon link) – which introduced me to the concept of “Quantum Suicide” and the idea that if the “many worlds” interpretation of quantum physics is correct then, if death is a result of quantum processes (e.g., does this particular atomic nucleus decay, releasing radiation, causing…

Wormholes and quantum entanglement
View image  gettyimages.com Been a while… There is a fascinating article in this week’s New Scientist about the idea that quantum mechanics and general relatively could be linked via the idea of the “wormhole” – a fold in spacetime that links what appears to be two very distant parts of the universe. The article…

An unchanging quantum universe
This another one of those bizarre thoughts that cosmology throws up which manages to be both simple and profound. Imagine the wave function for the whole universe. By its nature the universe cannot change its quantum state: it’s the ultimate closed system. Of course there is a probabilistic distribution of energy inside the system but…

Perhaps “you” will live forever after all
This is inspired by Max Tegmark‘s Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality: I have been thinking about this since I finished the book and I cannot find a convincing argument against the thesis (certainly the ones Tegmark uses in the book didn’t impress me – but perhaps I misunderstood them.)…

The trouble with Copenhagen
Dr Johnson famously settled an argument on the existence or nonexistence of the physical universe by kicking a heavy stone and saying “I refute it thus”. But when it comes to the science of the microuniverse, the quantum world, no heavy stones seem to be around to be kicked. I have been thinking about this…

Why we’ll never meet aliens
Well, the answer is pretty plain: Einstein‘s theory of general relativity – which even in the last month has added to it’s already impressive list of predictive successes – tells us that to travel at the speed of light a massive body would require an infinite amount of propulsive energy. In other words, things are…

In what sense do photons exist?
This is a genuine question on my part – and I would be grateful for any answers! The inspiration for asking the question comes from Genius: Richard Feynman and Modern Physics – my current “listen while running” book – along with Feynman’s own description of radiation in QED – The Strange Theory of Light and…

My one problem with Feynman’s QED
Well, as predicted, I finished off Richard Feynman‘s QED – The Strange Theory of Light and Matter in short order this morning – and it is a truly marvellous book. I just wish I had read it as an undergraduate. My one problem with it was its explanation of “stimulated emission“. Now, as an undergraduate, I…

Incompleteness in the natural world
A post inspired by Godel, Escher, Bach, Complexity: A Guided Tour, an article in this week’s New Scientist about the clash between general relativity and quantum mechanics and personal humiliation. The everyday incompleteness: This is the personal humiliation bit. For the first time ever I went on a “Parkrun” today – the 5km Finsbury Park…

Schrödinger’s cat: for real
Quantum Mechanics is, along with General Relativity, the foundation stone of modern physics and few explanations of its importance are more famous than the “Schrödinger’s cat” thought experiment. This seeks to explain the way “uncertainty” operates at the heart of the theory. Imagine a cat in a box with a poison gas capsule. The capsule…