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Source for "Shut up and calculate"

  1. May 28, 2014 #1
    I'm looking for the source for the QM interpretation of "shut up and calculate". I thought it was synonymous with the Bohm theory and that I had seen it in Shankar or Sakurai.

    Yes, I Googled it and found David Mermin, and some other dude named Tegmark that I'm wont to bring up lest I incur the wrath of the Mentors. Point is, don't tell me "google it".
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2014 #2

    Fredrik

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    I'm pretty sure it's Mermin. It was a comment about what the Copenhagen interpretation is suggesting.

    http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/magazine/physicstoday/article/57/5/10.1063/1.1768652 [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. May 28, 2014 #3
    I remember my QM lecturer has also used this famous quote himself, along with the statement that there is not much else to do in QM anyway.
     
  5. May 28, 2014 #4
    So what are the problems with "Shut up and calculate" (ShUAC)? Does it disagree with any experiments? (Other than EPR, of course.) Citations would be appreciated.
     
  6. May 28, 2014 #5

    WannabeNewton

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    I've explicitly asked Mermin to incant the phrase to me on occasion; he's a cool guy :)

    Anyways, it doesn't disagree with any experiment. Why would it? It simply remains quiet about the conceptual foundations of QM. The problem with this of course is if one wants to go beyond calculations and actually understand the theory at a deeper level then one must investigate the conceptual foundations and "shut up and calculate" isn't too great for that :)
     
  7. May 28, 2014 #6

    f95toli

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    Of course it does not disagree with experiments; the quote essentially just refers to the fact that most scientist who use QM do not really care about interpretations of QM (or perhaps just don't see interpretations as being a scientific question).

    It is an purely "technical" approach to science.

    Edit: WannabeNewton was faster
     
  8. May 28, 2014 #7

    f95toli

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    Although this of course only works if there really IS such a thing as a deeper level...
     
  9. May 28, 2014 #8

    WannabeNewton

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    That's a fair point! QM is quite the enigma.
     
  10. May 28, 2014 #9
    Can you get Mermin to chant it Gregorian style and post in on youtube. Also, tell him to fix the factor 2 error in his solid state book's derivation of the Drude model.

    I think does ShUAC does imply an interpretation/deeper understanding. I.e. any "measurement" has to be treated as a potential acting on psi. Which in turns implies deterministic evolution of psi which sound notoriously Bohmian.
     
  11. May 28, 2014 #10
    I've found myself in a similar mentality. I've stopped bothering to think about what QM really means when I am presented with QMechanical Problems. Although I do like to ponder on the philosophical side of QM, but only in the quiet Sunday evenings.
     
  12. May 28, 2014 #11

    UltrafastPED

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    I found this via Google: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Richard_Feynman#Disputed

    With references!
     
  13. May 29, 2014 #12

    Demystifier

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    RigetFrog, shut up and calculate is usually NOT associated with the Bohmian approach.

    But perhaps it should be, because it seems to be the only interpretation which proposes a new quantity to be actually calculated.
     
  14. May 29, 2014 #13
    I don't understand. You mean hidden variables? Please elaborate.
     
  15. May 30, 2014 #14

    Demystifier

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    I mean particle trajectories, which of course are hidden variables.
     
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