Quantum physics is weird … so they say

Stars being distant suns was once a weird idea

Why is quantum physics considered weird? What makes you think something is weird? Remember Giordano Bruno. His ideas were considered weird in his time, the 16th century. He proposed that the stars were distant suns surrounded by their own planets, and that that these planets might foster life of their own. He also insisted that the universe is infinite and could have no “centre”. He was burned at the stake in Rome in 1600 for his weird ideas. The earth was commonly believed to be the centre of the cosmos and thinking otherwise was weird. Nowadays his ideas aren’t weird any more.

Geocentric universe of Aristotle

A lot of science was initially considered weird

At the end of the 19th century Max Planck did a weird suggestion, starting thus the quantum revolution. Electromagnetic energy was transferred in little discrete packages he called quanta, contrary to common understanding that electromagnetic energy transfer was continuous and was done by waves. Nowadays this is something every physics student accepts as a fundamental truth.

Photons – physical or spooky things?

At the beginning of the 20th century Rutherford discovered that the atom was 99,999 % empty. Solid matter lost its solidity and became ephemeral, weirdly empty. This soon became an accepted fact.

Rutherford’s atom – wrong, but still in use today as iconic image

In the second decade of the 20th century, Albert Einstein published a then utterly weird theory. The speed of light was always the same even if it was coming from lightsources moving towards or away from you. The maximum speed for all objects with mass was the speed of light but would need an infinite amount of energy. Time slowed remarkably and rulers got measurable shorter for objects approaching the speed of light. What one observer saw as time, another observer would regard as space. Space and time fused into a four-dimensional spacetime. Causality could be reversed for different observers. Mass turned out to be extremely concentrated energy. The question of what energy fundamentally was became important again, because energy was previously defined as the ability to accelerate mass, which seemed now to become a circular definition. It took several years of debate, but his theory is now an experimentally confirmed and accepted theory. The weirdness is still there but it’s diminishing gradually.

Source Phys.org – Experiment with speeding ions verifies relativistic time dilation to new level of precision

Nowadays we are confronted with the weirdness of quantum physics. Objects that seem to alter their property and behavior from particle to wave and back depending on how you set up and alter your way of measuring. Objects getting their properties on measurement and not before it. Particles being at different places at the same time.

Particles with a common history staying connected even though they have become galactic distances apart. Particles that seem to travel back in time. Vacuum teeming with energy. Weird, isn’t it?

Shed accepted ideas about objective reality

In my opinion it is possible in to become familiar with quantum physics in the same way we became familiar with the idea of stars as very distant suns with planets. We don’t have to wait centuries for such a change of perspective. We can do that by scrutinizing our common understanding of reality and asking ourselves if our ideas are as proven and fundamental as we thought. It won’t be easy for most of you but it’s very much worth the effort. Promise.

The role of consciousness should not be ignored

This site is for all people who have an interest in quantum physics and its connection with consciousness. A great deal of the internet content concerning quantum physics (and there is indeed a lot of it) is often confusing (wave-particle duality), weird (entanglement), acknowledges sometimes the all important role of the observer but ignores often the fact that the observer has to be conscious.

On this site I’ll try to fix this confusion by exploring the all important role of consciousness.

For an introduction into quantumphysics: Start your exploration here.

Proofreaders wanted

I wrote a book ‘Quantum Physics, Information and Consciousness’ where the role of the consciousness of the observer and the arguments for it are explained from the point of view of physics. The original is written in Dutch. It is now translated in English and I need some native English speaking proofreaders. More information here.