Paradoxes as signposts to the truth
I love paradoxes. They provide an opportunity to critically examine your assumptions. That’s what a scientist does if it’s right, not to deny or ignore the paradox, but straight to the point of the problem. In this way, the quantum paradox – the quantum collapse, a particle can be in several places at once but eventually manifests itself in one place when we try to perceive it – was addressed by pinpointing a classical physical cause, namely gravity as the cause of the collaps. Readers of my book already know that my opinion is that the observer does this with his consciousness. But that’s a hypothesis that many physicists don’t like. Even an outstanding thinker and physicist like Carlo Rovelli – read Helgoland – seeks the explanation in a property of matter, namely that matter only exists physically in interaction with other matter. In doing so, he eliminates the consciousness of the observer as the cause of the quantum collapse, but assigns almost telepathic properties to matter, although he wisely does not use that term.
Gravity as the supposed cause of the quantum collapse
The gravitational hypothesis – gravity as the cause of the quantum collapse – is therefore a popular hypothesis. The hypothesis was first proposed by the Hungarian physicist Károlyházy Frigyes in 1960 and later again by Lajos Diosi in 1980. In 1980 this idea was taken up by the well-known physicist Roger Penrose and further developed. It seemed a fruitful idea and put the quantum collapse firmly back into the purely physical realm. Much to the relief of many physicists. Hopefully, the paradox was dealt with. But of course, it must be possible to test it, like any hypothesis, and that was not easy in this case. It didn’t even seem possible.
The idea behind this hypothesis is that the gravitational field is a separate field and not a part of the quantum field. The gravitational field of an object can therefore not be present in several places and that means that the object has to ‘choose’ for a location. I cannot help pointing out here that a field — a state of empty space that exerts forces on the appropriate objects within it — is an abstract concept that, through frequent application, has acquired the status of something physical. We still don’t know what gravity is and I don’t think it’s a good idea to make something we don’t understand the cause of something else we also don’t understand. On top of that, it’s a big problem if you can’t test your hypothesis.
A test of the gravity hypothesis of Penrose in Gran Sasso
But testing the hypothesis – quantum gravity collapse – now seems possible, assuming a physical testable quantum collapse. A charged particle that manifests itself as a result of a physical cause will have to emit a photon when it appears in physical space-time. This is an extremely weak photon, but if this happens with a collection of charged particles at the same time, the effect becomes measurable.
In order to generate this effect, a special detector was built, which is then shielded as much as possible against background radiation. This was done by enclosing this detector in lead and placing it 1.4 km underground in the Gran Sasso National laboratory. The effect that was predicted by Roger Penrose, which should be significantly greater than the ambient radiation in that situation, was not measured. Thus, the gravitational hypothesis has been falsified. For more details, read the full article in Science.
Unfortunate? I think not.
This is of course a disappointment for the materialistic physicists, one favorite hypothesis less. But as far as I’m concerned, one step closer to what I think is the correct interpretation. We create the world by experiencing it. In our consciousness.