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New to QM - a few questions

  1. Jan 7, 2010 #1
    hi, i'm new to QM and am a lawyer - only an "armchair" physicist.

    I would be interested in understanding the "views" of subscribers to this site. Specifically:
    1. Do you believe in the story of Schorderker's cat?
    2. Is Heisenburg's uncertainty principal still valid?
    3. Is the Higgs Boson real?
    4. How do you feel about string theory?
    5. Are there 11 dimensions?
    6. Is M Theory plausible?
    7. Do you believe the universe exists beyond "the visable light limit" in cosmology?
    8. Why is the universe expansion rate increasing?
    9. Does the event horizon of a black hole violate E=MC(squared)?
    10. Is the search for TOE (theory of everything) futile?

    thanks... just wondering...
    jim coster, esq., pittsburgh, pa
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 7, 2010 #2
    1. No. 2. Sort of. 3. Nobody knows. 4. Math is tough. 5. Possibly. 7. Possibly. 8. Nobody knows. 9. No. 10. No.
  4. Jan 7, 2010 #3


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    1. Yes in principle, not in practice.
    2. Yes, if correctly interpreted.
    3. LHC will tell us soon.
    4. Good.
    5. Possibly.
    6. Not to me, but maybe that's just my lack of understanding.
    7. Yes, if I correctly understood the question.
    8. Due to the cosmological constant?
    9. Of course not. (Why do you think it might?)
    10. No.
  5. Jan 7, 2010 #4
    1. Schrodinger's cat was just a thought experiment meant to point out the absurdity of quantum logic. I'd say its good for getting quantum physicists to think about what they mean by a "measurement" and raises some interesting questions about the boundaries between classical and quantum world views.

    2. Heisenbergs uncertainty principle is not only valid, but is probably one of my favorite concepts in all of quantum mechanics.

    3. Possibly, but I secretly hope it isn't. :D

    4. 5. and 6. I'll accept those ideas only if they manage to make some unique testable predictions. Otherwise they're just mathematics that doesn't apply to reality.

    7. Only if such a thing makes an observable experimental difference.

    8. I don't know, but I'd wager that it would be the sort of thing a general relativistic quantum theory would explain.

    9. Actually this is a more complex question than I originally suspected...it certainly still applies locally...but globally it might not since the overall geometry is Schwarzchild not Minkowski...I'll have to give it some thought.

    10. I certainly don't think so. Even if the universe is fundamentally incapable of being understood by humans, the search itself might be whats important. So far this search has given us things like electricity and satillites. Perhaps its the journey, not the destination, that matters. I do however question whether a theory of everything would be unique and scientific. Perhaps there will be multiple TOEs that all explain the observed phenomena and one might be prefered for philosophical reasons.
  6. Jan 7, 2010 #5
    To all my kind responders....

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. While I could never begin to understand the mathmatical foundations to QM, I am intrigued by the philosopical implacations of many of the theories. My study of Einstein and Hawkings non-technical writing reveals that the great minds have always struggled with the reasonable logical extentions of their mathmatical findings.

    But on a more pedestrian level, if one puts 5 lawyers in a room and asks for a legal opinion, one usually gets 4 different opinions and 1 that is non-committal. Happily, it seems theoretical physiscists subscribe to that same behavioral pattern.

    Again, thanks to all ... and please continue to educate me with your insights.

    jim coster
  7. Jan 7, 2010 #6


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    Fortunately, while you make get differing opinions on the interpretation of QM, we ALL agree on the mathematical formalism of QM. After all, how your semiconductor works isn't based on a matter of subjective opinion. Even Einstein acknowledged the validity of the QM formalism even if he thought it was incomplete. Furthermore, some of what you're asking is something we don't quite know yet, or still in the research front area. So of course there will be different take on something like that.

    This is where we differ from lawyers.

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