Реферат: What the Bleep Do We Know!?

Whatthe Bleep Do We Know!?                                                           “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity                                                          has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in                                                          awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life,                                                         of the marvelous structure of reality. Itis enough if one tries                                                         merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.                                                          Never lose a holy curiosity.” — Albert Einstein

At the core of this report are provocativequestions about the way we participate in an unfolding, dynamic reality. Whatthe Bleep Do We Know!? proposes that there is no solid, static universe,and that reality is mutable — affected by our very perception of it. At thesame time, the report acknowledges that reality is not entirely relative orsimply created out of thin air. Mothers do give birth to real babies. Somethings are more solid and reliable than others.<span Verdana",«sans-serif»;mso-bidi-font-family: Verdana;mso-no-proof:yes">

In fact,according to quantum physics, things are not even “things”, they are more likepossibilities. According to physicist Amit Goswami, “Even the material worldaround us — the chairs, the tables, the rooms, the carpet, camera included — all of these are nothing but possible movements of consciousness.” What are weto make of this? “Those who are not shocked when they first come across quantumtheory cannot possibly have understood it,” notes quantum physics pioneer NielsBohr. Before we can consider the implications of quantum mechanics, let’s makesure we understand the theory.

What is Quantum Mechanics?

What is Quantum Mechanics? Quantum mechanics, the latest development in the scientificquest to understand the nature of physical reality, is a precise mathematicaldescription of the behavior of fundamental particles. It has remained thepreeminent scientific description of physical reality for 70 years. So far allof its experimental predictions have been confirmed to astounding degrees ofaccuracy. To appreciate why quantum mechanics continues to astound and confoundscientists, it is necessary to understand a little about the historicaldevelopment of physical theories.

Keeping in mind that this briefsketch oversimplifies a very long, rich history, we may consider that physicsas a science began when Isaac Newton and others discovered that mathematicscould accurately describe the observed world. Today the Newtonian view ofphysics is referred to as classical physics; in essence, classical physics is amathematical formalism of common sense. It makes four basic assumptions aboutthe fabric of reality that correspond more or less to how the world appears toour senses. These assumptions are reality, locality, causality, and continuity.

Quantum reality

Reality refers to the assumptionthat the physical world is objectively real. That is, the world existsindependently of whether anyone is observing it, and it takes as selfevidentthat space and time exist in a fixed, absolute way. Locality refers to the ideathat the only way that objects can be influenced is through direct contact. Inother words, unmediated action at a distance is prohibited. Causality assumesthat the arrow of time points only in one direction, thus fixingcause-and-effect sequences to occur only in that order. Continuity assumes thatthere are no discontinuous jumps in nature, that space and time are smooth.Classical physics developed rapidly with these assumptions, and classical waysof regarding the world are still sufficient to explain large segments of theobservable world, including chemistry, biology, and the neurosciences.Classical physics got us to the moon and back. It works for most things at thehuman scale. It is common sense.

But it does not describe thebehavior of all observable outcomes, especially the way that light — and, ingeneral, electromagnetism — works. Depending on how you measure it, light candisplay the properties of particles or waves. Particles are like billiardballs. They are separate objects with specific locations in space, and they arehard in the sense that if hurled at each other with great force, they tend toannihilate each other accompanied by dazzling displays of energy. In contrast,waves are like undulations in water. They are not localized but spread out, andthey are soft in that they can interact without destroying each other. Thewave-like characteristic also gives rise to the idea of quantum superposition,which means the object is in a mixture of all possible states. Thisindeterminate, mixed condition is radically different than the objects we arefamiliar with. Everyday objects exist only in definite states. Mixed states caninclude many objects, all coexisting, or entangled, together.

Howis it possible for the fabric of reality to be both waves and particles at thesame time? In the first few decades of the twentieth century, a new theory,Quantum Mechanics, was developed to account for the wave-particle nature oflight and matter. This theory was not just applicable to describing elementaryparticles in exotic conditions, but provided a better way of describing thenature of physical reality itself.

Einstein’s Theory of Relativityalso altered the Newtonian view of the fabric of reality, by showing how basicconcepts like mass, energy, space, and time are related. Relativity is not justapplicable to cosmological domains or to objects at close to light-speeds, butrefers to the basic structure of the fabric of reality. In sum, modern physicstells us that the world of common sense reveals only a special, limited portionof a much larger and stranger fabric of reality.

Electronscan behave as both particles and waves. As waves, electrons have no preciselocation but exist as “probability fields.” As particles, the probability fieldcollapses into a solid object in a particular place and time. Unmeasured or unobservedelectrons behave in a different manner from measured ones. When they are notmeasured, electrons are waves. When they are observed, they become particles.The world is ultimately constructed out of elementary particles that behave inthis curious way.

In classical physics, all of anobject’s attributes are in principle accessible to measurement. Not so inquantum physics. You can measure a single electron’s properties accurately, butnot without producing imprecision in some other quantum attribute.

Quantum properties always comein “conjugate” pairs. When two properties have this special relationship, it isimpossible to know about both of them at the same time with complete precision.Heisenberg’s Uncertainty (also know as the Indeterminacy) Principle says thatif you measure a particle’s position accurately, you must sacrifice an accurateknowledge of its momentum, and vice versa. A relationship of the Heisenbergkind holds for all dynamic properties of elementary particles and it guaranteesthat any experiment (involving the microscopic world) will contain someunknowns.

What does the phrase “we know”mean? It means that theoretical predictions were made, based on mathematicalmodels, and then repeatedly demonstrated in experiments. If the universebehaves according to the theories, then we are justified in believing thatcommon sense is indeed a special, limited perspective of a much granderuniverse.

The portrait of reality paintedby relativity and quantum mechanics is so far from common sense that it raisesproblems of interpretation. The mathematics of the theories are precise, andthe predictions work fantastically well. But translating mathematics into humanterms, especially for quantum mechanics, has remained exceedingly difficult.

The perplexing implications ofquantum mechanics were greeted with shock and awe by the developing scientists.Many physicists today believe that a proper explanation of reality in light ofquantum mechanics and reliability requires radical revisions of one or morecommon-sense assumptions: reality, locality, causality or continuity.

Given the continuing confusionsin interpreting quantum mechanics, some physicists refuse to accept the ideathat reality can possibly be so perplexing, convoluted, or improbable — comparedto common sense, that is. And so they continue to believe, as did Einstein,that quantum mechanics must be incomplete and that once “fixed” it will befound that the classical assumptions are correct after all, and then all thequantum weirdness will go away. Outside of quantum physics, there are a fewscientists and the occasional philosopher who focus on such things, but most ofus do not spend much time thinking about quantum mechanics at all. If we do, weassume it has no relevance to our particular interests. This is understandableand in most cases perfectly fine for practical purposes. But when it comes tounderstanding the nature of reality, it is useful to keep in mind that quantummechanics describes the fundamental building blocks of nature, and theclassical world is composed of those blocks too, whether we observe them ornot. The competing interpretations of quantum mechanics differ principally onwhich of the common-sense assumptions one is comfortable in giving up.


<st1:City w:st=«on»>Copenhagen</st1:City>Interpretation – This is the orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics, promoted by Danish physicist Niels Bohr (thus the reference to <st1:City w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Copenhagen</st1:place></st1:City>, where Bohr’sinstitute is located). In an overly simplified form, it asserts that there isno ultimately knowablereality. In a sense, this interpretation may be thought of as a “don’task–don’t tell” approach that allows quantum mechanics to be used withouthaving to care about what it means. According to Bohr, it means nothing, atleast not in ordinary human terms.

Wholeness – Einstein’s protégé David Bohm maintained thatquantum mechanics reveals that reality is an undivided whole in whicheverything is connected in a deep way, transcending the ordinary limits ofspace and time.

Many Worlds – Physicist Hugh Everett proposed that when a quantummeasurement is performed, every possible outcome will actualize. But in theprocess of actualizing, the universe will split into as many versions of itselfas needed to accommodate all possible measurement results. Then each of theresulting universes is actually a separate universe.

Quantum Logic – This interpretation says that perhaps quantum mechanics ispuzzling because our common sense assumptions about logic break down in thequantum realm. Mathematician John von Neumann developed a “wave logic” thatcould account for some of the puzzles of quantum theory without completelyabandoning classical concepts. Concepts in quantum logic have been vigorouslypursued by philosophers.

NeoRealism – This was the position led by Einstein, who refused toaccept any interpretation, including the Copenhagen Interpretation, assertingthat common sense reality does not exist. The neorealists propose that realityconsists of objects familiar to classical physics, and thus the paradoxes ofquantum mechanics reveal the presence of flaws in the theory. This view is alsoknown as the “hidden variable” interpretation of quantum mechanics, whichassumes 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 theact of measurement, or possibly even human consciousness, is associated withthe formation of reality. This provides the act of observation an especiallyprivileged role of collapsing the possible into the actual. Many mainstreamphysicists regard this interpretation as little more than wishful New Agethinking, but not all. A few physicists have embraced this view and havedeveloped descriptive variations of quantum theory that do accommodate suchideas.

It should be emphasized that atpresent no one fully understands quantum mechanics. And thus there is no clearauthority on which interpretation is more accurate.



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