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To major or minor in Physics

  1. Aug 19, 2015 #1
    I am about to be a junior Psychology major but I'm realizing my calling is more in quantum/astrophysics, though truly I would want to study consciousness' effect on quantum mechanics. My question is since I'm already half way though a Psych BA, should I continue this and minor in Physics as well or should I switch and major in Physics and minor in Psych. I intended to not only get a BA but eventually a Masters and possibly a Phd.
    I know switching majors now would add lot more time to obtaining my BA, which is why I am wondering if I should only minor in Physics.
    Thank you. I'm so lost any suggestion is helpful!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 19, 2015 #2

    Student100

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    Physics doesn't say anything about consciousness, so you might be disappointed.
     
  4. Aug 19, 2015 #3

    symbolipoint

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    How is your Mathematics? Which and to what extent have you credit in other physical sciences? Which subject do you like better: Physics or Psychology?
     
  5. Aug 19, 2015 #4
    You'd better have a pretty thick skin to deal with all the things we PFers will say about that...
     
  6. Aug 19, 2015 #5
    Actually there are various quantum effects that are influenced by observation including quantum-wave duality (notably the double-slit experiment), Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, superposition (including Schrodinger's uncertainty principle,) and other forms of quantum measurement. So no, consciousness has nooo effect on quantum physics.
     
  7. Aug 19, 2015 #6

    Student100

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    The uncertainty principle doesn't say anything about consciousness- it's purely about the precision of your measurement.The observer effect, which you're probably confusing it for, simply states that when you make a measurement you inherently change the system. This true even for classical measurements, and doesn't invoke anything about consciousness.

    Physics has no definition of consciousness. This is a common misconception that's popularized on television pop science shows.
     
  8. Aug 19, 2015 #7
    So observation (which is consciousness) has no influence on any of the quantum mechanics I listed?
     
  9. Aug 19, 2015 #8

    symbolipoint

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    Can you say more exactly what you want to study, what you want to learn, more clearly than in your initial posting on this topic? Are you maybe interested in Mathematical or Scientific Cognition, but just do not know it?
     
  10. Aug 19, 2015 #9

    Student100

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    Observation is not consciousness. I don't, nor does anyone else, know what consciousness is.
     
  11. Aug 19, 2015 #10

    Student100

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    Yes, please. Lets not go down the rabbit hole on this.
     
  12. Aug 19, 2015 #11

    e.bar.goum

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    Observation does not imply consciousness in quantum mechanics in general. Only the von Neumann–Wigner interpretation requires the role of consciousness, and not even Wigner liked the interpretation in his later years. Further, the von Neumann-Wigner interpretation requires a non-physical theory of mind, which, well, is rather contrary to what is thought by most physicists. Further still, interpretations of the results of delayed-choice experiments preclude the interpretation. I don't think any but a small majority of physicists give the concept of consciousness any importance in quantum mechanics. It's just not necessary.

    To read more: http://www.danko-nikolic.com/wp-con...kolic-Qm-and-consciousness-Annalen-Physik.pdf
     
  13. Aug 20, 2015 #12
    Physicists mean something different when they say "observation" than someone in everyday conversation. When we observe something in a non physics context, we are referring to the act of consciously examining something. When physicists say "observation," they mean a (usually) idealized measurement of a physical process (often in thought experiments). For instance, we may fire photons at a particle to determine its position, but then the photons will impart energy to the particle, changing its momentum. If we want to get a better idea of its position, we fire higher energy photons, but that makes the momentum change even more erratic. If we want to observe without changing the momentum too much, we fire lower energy photons--whoops, now the photons' energy is too low to get an accurate idea of where the particle is. So we can't have both position and momentum. Note that this has nothing to do with whether there was a human or a robot watching the experiment. It is simply impossible to make a measurement that will allow is to know the position and momentum of a particle at the same time with great accuracy. It has nothing to do with human consciousness.

    It's good to be interested in physics, but make sure you're interested in physics for the right reason if you make the switch.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
  14. Aug 20, 2015 #13

    micromass

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    You might be more interested in a philosophy degree.
     
  15. Aug 20, 2015 #14

    radium

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    There is a field in philosophy called philosophy of physics and sometimes the people in it do actually have physics background. I personally don't see the appeal but many do.
     
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