Thread: Observer effect
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May9-07, 09:22 AM
P: n/a
Quote Quote by MALON View Post
Basically, the observer effect is a by-product of the uncertainty principle.
If you go that far you may confuse yourself. On one hand there is the fact that you cannot measure something without interacting with it. That should be simple enough, since the alternative would amount to some magical way of extracting information from a system. If you stil have doubts about this it can be further explained.

On the other hand there is the conundrum about what we can tell about particles/waves without looking at them, since we must assume the universe doesn't cease to exist when we cease to look. It's, as your teacher pointed out, a purely philosophical question, or I should rather say, a purely intellectual question. ("philosophical" makes one think of metaphysics or mysticism, which really is not the case here)

As I pointed out in another thread, it seems the intellectual problems of quantum mechanics essentially nail down to understanding what we mean by negative probabilities. We use the concept to solve real problems, but we can't understand what the concept means. Everything else, from the double-slit experiment to entanglement, apparently follows from there.