Monday, September 30, 2013

Quantum Theory: You Have to Keep Thinking About It


Many years ago when I was a boy I found a book in our small-town library called "Relativity for the Millions" by MARTIN GARDNER. It was an attempt to explain the bizarre concept and implications falling out of Einstein's theory of relativity. The book was among about a half-dozen similar books that caused me to become a part-time theoretical physics junkie for life.

If you're like me -- that is, not a genius -- then the concepts of quantum mechanical science can be nothing less than mind-numbing. They present endless paradoxes, things that seemingly "can't be." The quantum scenario gleefully takes a wrecking ball to the basic world view we are comfortable with -- that of the now 300-plus-year-old mechanistic "billiard ball" universe of the great Isaac Newton.

I have found over the years that frequently revisiting some of the most difficult concepts of quantum physics helps me gain deeper understanding over time. Even when you find that you can grasp something intellectually, it's still can be vexing to absorb it psychologically. For example, it goes against our feelings of common sense to think that something can have a dual nature -- such as a particle existing both as a singular "object" and a "waveform" at the same time.

Anyway,I just finished reading another excellent book which discusses the implications of quantum theory -- it's "TAL: A Conversation With and Alien." See my review here: A QUANTUM DISCUSSION


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