Click through for source and bonus red button caption at smbc-comics.com. This SMBC gets at something that's often bothered me about the way many people talk about the block universe concept. The block universe is the idea that if the universe is fully deterministic, then its entire history from beginning to end exists in an … Continue reading The block universe is interesting, but not comforting
The main difference between a quantum computer and a classical one is the qubit. Qubits are like classical bits, in that they hold binary values of either 1 or 0, on or off, true or false, etc. However, qubits, being quantum objects, can be in a superposition of both states at once. The physical manifestation … Continue reading Thoughts about quantum computing and the wave function
I've written about the bizarre nature of quantum physics many times, providing a lightning primer back in May on three major interpretations: Copenhagen, pilot-wave, and many worlds. The many worlds interpretation (MWI) is often summarily dismissed by people, often along with visceral shudders or high doses of outrage. I understand the discomfort. When I first … Continue reading David Deutsch’s version of many worlds
I just finished reading Jim Baggott's new book Quantum Reality: The Quest for the Real Meaning of Quantum Mechanics - a Game of Theories. I was attracted to it due to this part of the description: Although the theory quite obviously works, it leaves us chasing ghosts and phantoms; particles that are waves and waves … Continue reading Quantum Reality
George Ellis has an article at Aeon on free will that is garnering some attention. Ellis' case is a fairly classic one. Brain are complex systems whose operations, due to chaotic and stochastic dynamics, cannot be predicted. Furthermore, minds constrain the detailed physical reactions, a case of downward causation. And if that weren't enough, there's … Continue reading The necessary attributes of a responsible agent
Anyone who follows the computing industry knows that Moore's Law, the observation that computing power doubles every couple of years, has been sputtering in recent years. This isn't unexpected. Gordon Moore himself predicted that eventually the laws of physics would become a constraint. One of the technological hopes for a revival is quantum computing. Quantum … Continue reading The promise of quantum computing?
Matt O'Dowd is a first class science communicator. In this latest video, he does an excellent job explaining decoherence, and why the MWI (many worlds interpretation) ends up being so tempting when you see it through. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlOwJWJWPUs Of course, this doesn't mean MWI is the right interpretation, but it does demonstrate why many find it … Continue reading An excellent explanation of quantum decoherence, and how it might lead to many worlds
A recent tweet by Sean Carroll has me thinking. https://twitter.com/seanmcarroll/status/1204128666273271808 Quantum decoherence is said to occur when a particular quantum system becomes entangled with its environment, that is to say, as information about the quantum system spreads throughout the environment, that system undergoes at least an apparent wave function collapse. It stops behaving like a … Continue reading Is entanglement decoherence from the outside, and decoherence entanglement from the inside?
Jim Baggott has a pretty good piece at Aeon on the problems with post-empirical science. I've highlighted Baggott's views before. Along with others like Sabine Hossenfelder and Peter Woit, he calls attention to a serious issue in physics, the rising acceptance of theories that show little promise of being testable in the foreseeable future. In … Continue reading The problems with post-empirical science
I'm just about finished reading Sean Carroll's Something Deeply Hidden. I was going to wait to post this until I'd completely finished, but all I've got left is the appendix, I perceive that I've gotten through the main points, and discussion on the previous post is veering in this direction. As widely reported, Carroll is … Continue reading Sean Carroll’s Something Deeply Hidden