Quantum Physics: A First Encounter : Interference, Entanglement, and Reality

Quantum Physics: A First Encounter : Interference, Entanglement, and Reality

Quantum Physics: A First Encounter : Interference, Entanglement, and Reality

Quantum Physics: A First Encounter : Interference, Entanglement, and Reality

Synopsis

Quantum physics is often perceived as a weird and abstract theory, which physicists must use in order to make correct predictions. But many recent experiments have shown that the weirdness of the theory simply mirrors the weirdness of phenomena: it is Nature itself, and not only our description of it, that behaves in an astonishing way. This book selects those, among these typical quantum phenomena, whose rigorous description requires neither the formalism, nor an important background in physics.

The first part of the book deals with the phenomenon of single-particle interference, covering the historical questions of wave-particle duality, objective randomness and the boundary between the quantum and the classical world, but also the recent idea of quantum cryptography. The second part introduces the modern theme of entanglement, by presenting two-particle interference phenomena and discussing Bell's inequalities. A concise review of the main interpretations of quantum physics is provided.

Excerpt

'When all is said and done, physics is only a description, not an explanation'. I have uttered similar statements many times myself in informal discussions, when my interlocutor happened to slide into an excessive praise of experimental science and an excessive contempt of other forms of human knowledge. In the mouth of Jean-Paul Fragnière, a friend and philosophy teacher who lives in the small Swiss town of Fribourg, this sentence sounds, however, the expression of a different and distant line of thought . . . of a rivalry between human and natural sciences that is still latent in the French-speaking world, a relic of the arrogance of Positivism.

We are in the massive building of Saint-Michel College – a sixteenth century Jesuit establishment, a public school for several decades; and though Jean-Paul's classroom is a modernization of what was the granary, history weighs heavily here. For the first generations of young people educated in this school, heliocentrism was one of the hot topics; now Jean-Paul has invited me to speak to hisstudentsabout quantumphysics. Heisconcernedbythetheme, and what philosophy teacherwouldn'tbewhentheir students come to consult them after having read or heard that quantum physics has abolished the notion of causality? While the students arrive one after another and greet the two of us timidly, he explains that the question of the interpretation of modern science interests him very much, although without troubling him particularly because 'physics is only a description, not an explanation.' At the time, I didn't react – fortunately, I was not required to.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.