Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Physics and Philosophy - Thoughts on the Implications of Quantum Mechanics, and Other Matters #11i

11. On classical causality v. quantum probability:

i. Quantum mechanics led physicists away from the causal physics of previous centuries. Certain historical figures and physicists in general, as identified by Werner Heisenberg,[13] were critical of the Copenhagen Interpretation. The first group wished to modify its wording to more closely agree with classical physics. This group did not disagree with the physics. They admitted the theory’s experimental predictions were accurate. For this group, the philosophical implications were difficult to accept, and so sought to change it. As good scientists, the second camp agreed with the theory, but wished to challenge certain components. The last faction, which included some such as Albert Einstein[14] and Erwin Schrödinger that were ironically instrumental in its formulation, were deeply dissatisfied with the widespread interpretation, and in particular concerning its philosophy.

[13] See Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy - The Revolution in Modern Science for further reading.

[14] His single Nobel prize was for discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect, which was unexplainable in classical terms and is considered one of the bases of the development of modern physics.

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