This week I read (actually listened to) The Invention of Tomorrow: A Natural History of Foresight by Thomas Suddendorf, Jonathan Redshaw, and Adam Bulley. I was alerted to the existence of this book by Sean Carroll's interview of Bulley on his podcast, which provides a good overview of their overall thesis. People have long struggled … Continue reading The Invention of Tomorrow
The other day I shared a video on quantum computing, which I thought was informative, but the feedback I received is that it wasn't for anyone not already versed in the subject. Since I once struggled to understand this subject myself, I tried to think of a way of describing it that would actually help. … Continue reading A way to understand quantum computing
Sean Carroll's February AMA episode is up on his podcast. As usual, there were questions about the Everett many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics (which I did a new primer on a few weeks ago). This time, there was a question related to the correlated outcomes in measurements of entangled particles that are separated by vast … Continue reading Many-worlds and Bell’s theorem
I recently had a conversation with someone, spurred by the last post, that led to yet another description of the Everett many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, which I think is worth putting in a post. It approaches the interpretation from a different angle than I've used before. As mentioned last time, the central mystery of … Continue reading The entanglements and many worlds of Schrödinger’s cat
The central mystery of quantum mechanics is that quantum particles move like waves but hit and leave effects like localized particles. This is true of elementary particles, atoms, molecules, and increasingly larger objects, possibly macroscopic ones. It's even true of collections of entangled particles, no matter how separated the particles may have become. People have … Continue reading The benefits of wave function realism?
Last week, Sabine Hossenfelder did a video and post which was interesting (if a bit of a rant at times at strawmen) in which she argued for a little considered possibility in quantum mechanics: superdeterminism. In 1935, Einstein and collaborators published the famous EPR paradox paper, in which they pointed out that particles that were … Continue reading Superdeterminism and the quandaries of quantum mechanics
In last week's post on entropy and information, I started off complaining about the most common definition of entropy as disorder or disorganization. One of the nice things about blogging is you often learn something in the subsequent discussion. My chief complaint about the disorder definition was that it's value-laden. I asked: disordered according to … Continue reading Reconciling the disorder definition of entropy
I've long struggled with the concept of entropy. Part of the reason is the way it's often described in popular science accounts, which typically seem subjective and value laden. The most common way of describing it is the amount of disorder in a system. But disorder according to who? A room that appears messy and … Continue reading Entropy, information, and causality
I've posted a lot over the years on interpretations of quantum mechanics. My writing has tended to focus on comparing the big three: Copenhagen, pilot-wave, and many-worlds. But there are a lot of others. One that has been gaining converts among physicists and others is Carlo Rovelli's relational quantum mechanics (RQM) interpretation. This is an … Continue reading Carlo Rovelli’s Helgoland
In the scientific realism vs instrumentalism debate, realism is the position that the elements of a scientific theory represent reality. So when general relativity talks about space warping, space really is warping. Instrumentalism, or anti-realism, is the stance that scientific theories are just prediction mechanisms, with no guarantee that they represent reality. Under instrumentalism, general … Continue reading Structural realism, a way to be a scientific realist?