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No. 138: NOV-DEC 2001

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It's Time For A Bit Of Generalization

No one can contest that quantum mechanics has been extremely successful in describing the phenomena of physics. This fact does not mean that it is easy to understand. In fact, there are eight competing "interpretations" of quantum mechanics, none of which is completely convincing. No wonder, because quantum mechanics implies four characteristics of the universe that are seriously at odds with our everyday experience:

A. Zeilinger, University of Vienna, advances the idea that we can truly understand quantum mechanics only when we discover an underlying principle -- something akin to the concept of energy which led to the quantification of the laws of thermodynamics. (Incidentally. we only think we know what energy is, but it is a human construct and is not a physical dimension like mass or distance.)

Zeilinger asserts that the underlying principle of quantum mechanics is the quantization of information. Every inquiry science makes into the nature of the universe, says Zeilinger, can be reduced to a yes-or-no question; i.e., a 1 or 0. To a scientist, nature is really like a person on a witness stand being hammered by a prosecutor (i.e., a scientist) with yes-or-no questions. In other words, nature appears quantized because our knowledge of it is quantized.

(von Baeyer, Hans Christian; "In the Beginning Was the Bit," New Scientist, p. 26, February 17, 2001.)

Comment. It follows, we presume, that if information were not quantized and were, say, analog in nature, the universe would look entirely different.

From Science Frontiers #138, NOV-DEC 2001. � 2001 William R. Corliss

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