Friday, August 31, 2007

This is important...

I'm totally bogged down in an article in quantum non-locality, which is one of my most long-standing pet interests. I'll say more next week, after finishing the article, but I'm beginning to believe that social dynamics have actually had quite a lot to do with this area of physics over the past 50 years. For many years, in effect, people were unable to get jobs at good institutions if they wished to work in unorthodox areas, especially if they questioned the prevailing orthodoxy on the interpretation of quantum theory.

Scientists are people too, and all the usual dynamics and pressures of fashion and group influence work there too. Anyway, in the past few days, I learned of some new work that, if it turns out to be free of holes and as important as it seems to me, may be the most profound development in quantum theory (and therefore basic physics) in maybe 40 years. In essence, it suggests that the widespread belief that quantum theory demands a break with ordinary thinking and with a belief in a reality that exists separate from our observation of it may be very much incorrect.

But more on that later. Here's a link to something much more down-to-earth, and important, in a very practical sense. Our government, it is clear, will get away with whatever we let them get away with.

8 comments:

Ahsan said...

really like this blog but i have a request. pls write more of the stuff you did when you were on the NYT (the freakonomics, gladwell type stuff) and less on hardcore science (natural or social). thanks.

Who am I? said...

Ahsan,

I agree, I'd like to write more of that stuff too, and that IS the aim of this blog. Sadly, I also have to make a living, and that means writing articles for print magazines (such as New Scientist), and I usually write about "hard science." This is taking up most of my time. The NYT articles took a day's work at least to put together, but at least I got paid (a little) for them...

Hopefully I can get more efficient and manage some posts more like the NYT stuff. Certainly there's plenty to write about. It's just finding the time to do it, while also keeping my financial head above water!

Ahsan said...

Well, at any rate, you have a great blog. If you promise to keep writing, I promise to keep reading.

Kate said...

Wow, the biggest breakthrough in 40 years? Sounds like exciting work--I look forward to learning more about it.

partha said...

"In essence, it suggests that the widespread belief that quantum theory demands a break with ordinary thinking and with a belief in a reality that exists separate from our observation of it may be very much incorrect." .... I'm looking forwared to reading about your findings. Forgive us if a bunch of Platonists and I are skeptical.

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