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Feynman is more important than Bohr!

  1. Jul 20, 2011 #1
    I would challenge the tradition of viewing Bohr as the most important quantum physicist. I think all of the modern physics, in a nutshell, is "relativistic quantum field thoery". Thus, we need to choose between two people: the author of Lagrangian formulation OR the author of Hamiltonian one. The former guy is Richard Feynman; unfortunately I don't know who the latter guy is, but I am pretty sure it is not Bohr.

    The only kinds of things Bohr did is the endless list of "rules" and "postulates" of quantum mechanics which only made it more and more ugly. In reality there is no such thing as quantum mechanics to begin with. It is merely a low speed limit of quantum field theory. Plus, neither quantum mechanics nor field theory needs any axioms. Quantum mechanics all follows from Schrodinger's equation (notice, Schrodiger's, NOT Bohrs). The only thing "missing" is exclusion principle. Quantum field theory all follows from Feynmann's path integral. And, here, we don't even need to separately introduce "exclusion principle" either, as long as we remember to stick Grassmann numbers into path integral! So, whether we look at QM or QFT, we need to pay attention to either Schrodinger or Feynmann; Borh was basically a time waster!

    And, speaking of Schrodinger's vs Feynmann, the former is a non relativistic limit of the latter. People who do interpretation of quantum mechanics, for the most part, focus on Schrodinger. Again big mistake. It is especially hypocritical since one of the big issues is "can measurement be compatible with relativity". Well, if they worry about relativity so much, why not take relativistic theory such as QFT? Why stick with QM??? I also don't have much respect for "quantum informatin" either. What is "information" anyway? It is way too abstract for me.

    In my own career, I am doing "INTERPRETATION of quantum FIELD theory", which has been wrongly neglected for a very long time. I do'nt worry about "quantum information", nor do I worry about endless specific alice-bob problems. ALL I am doing is just finding classical mechanisms of producing mathematical information of good old Feynmann path integral. Once I understand THIS, the rest is supposed to follow!

    I think all of the physics in a nutshell is Feynman path integral, which makes Feynmann the one and only guy I respect. Yeah in my work I want to re-interpret path integral by comming up with "classical" mechanism behind interference and things like that. So if Feynmann doesn't think his path integral should be reinterpretted, then that is where we disagree. But still, fact remains, his theory is simple, whether I agree with it or not, AND it encompasses ALL of quantum mechanics as its mathematical consequences; which means that anyone else's work, including Bohr's, is just a waste of time.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
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  3. Jul 20, 2011 #2


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    I disagree. As a theoretical physicist I often come across problems that I want to calculate and there is NO way I'm going to use a full formalism or anything near a path integral to calculate it. You're basically saying Einstein is greater than Newton because Einstein's theory is more "elegant" or something. When I ask how long it takes fall off a bridge, you don't ask which metric to use...
  4. Jul 20, 2011 #3
    QM is classical mechanics in the limit as zero approaches h. Schroedinger and Heisenberg came up with the Hamiltonian approach. At least, Bohr is one of the giants upon whose shoulders Feynmann stood. But deciding which physicist is most important is like deciding which body part is most important, no?
  5. Jul 20, 2011 #4
    I understand that in many problems you can't use QFT for the simple fact that path integrals can't be computted non-perturbatively. The "classical" analogue of it is many-body problem. But still that won't make "two-body" simplification of Newtonian mechanics "more important" than the many-body general form it take.

    I understnad that if you try to do something practical you might want to use QM. But if you talk about people who do INTERPRETATION, I see no reason in the world why they would want to interpret something that is merely an approximation. In this case, they are not interested in practical results; thus it would make the most sense for them to focus on interpretation of QFT, which they don't do.

    Also, even in your case, when you use Schrodinger's equation for your "practical" work, that is still Schrodinger's work, not Borh's. Did Bohr even write any equation that is being used today (beyond erroneous Bohr's model of atom)?
  6. Jul 20, 2011 #5
    They came with Hamiltonian approach of QM. I was asking who came with Hamiltonian approach of QFT? In other words, who introduced creation/annihilation operators and stuff like that?

    Do you notice how you just called him a "giant" without attributing anything in particular to him? That is exactly what I am talking about!
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