Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Physicists surveyed about quantum mechanics

I criticize physicists who subscribe to goofy interpretations of quantum mechanics, or who complain that the theory is nonsensical and needs a new interpretation. There are many high-profile and big-shot physicists who say such things.

A Danish student did a master's thesis survey and reports:
A survey was sent out to 1234 physicists affiliated to 8 different universities. 149 responded to the questions, which both concerned foundational issues related to quantum mechanics, ...

More and more work is done concerning quantum foundations; investigating basic properties of quantum mechanics, such as Bell’s inequality, or developing new interpretations of quantum mechanics, such as QBism. However, when one regards the results of the survey, it shows that the resurgence the topic has been undergoing in recent times still has not had an impact on the participants being familiar with foundational concepts.
The "resurgence" has not had an impact because the overwhelming majority of respondents rejected the goofy ideas.

Only 25% said that they liked some non-Copenhagen interpretation. (And some of those preferred reasonable variations of Copenhagen. Only 6% preferred many-worlds.) Only 11% believe that physical objects have their properties well defined prior to and independent of measurement. Only 3% believe that Bell's theorem implies action-at-a-distance.

The author has a different spin on this, saying his survey is "quite a validation of the whole research area concerning quantum foundations". I don't know why he says this, as very few of the answers give any credence to any work done in the last 80 years.

I am not saying that the subject of quantum foundations is completely worthless, but it has mostly just affirmed the Copenhagen consensus of 1930. The ideas that depart significantly have been either proved wrong (eg, hidden variables) or are just conceptually stupid (eg, many-worlds).

1 comment:

  1. Back when I was a kid, life was going swell.
    Till something happened, blew every thing to hell.
    That night my daddy stumbled in, all pale and weak,
    Said "A woman up the block just gave birth to a geek."

    Mom said, "Sell it to the circus, what the heck."
    Dad said, "Nope, this one's a pencil neck.
    And if there's one thing lower than a side show freak,
    It's a grit eatin', scum suckin', pencil neck geek. "

    You see if you take a pencil that won't hold lead,
    Looks like a pipe cleaner attached to a head,
    Add a buggy whip body with a brain that leaks,
    You got yourself a grit eatin', pencil neck geek.

    Pencil neck geek, grit eatin' freak,
    Scum suckin', pea head with a lousy physique.
    He's a one man, no gut, loosing streak.
    Nothin' but a pencil neck geek.

    Soon the geeks were poppin' up all over town.
    You couldn't hardly sneeze without knockin' one down.
    After a nice juicy steak, if you need a toothpick,
    Just reach for a geek, they'll do the trick.

    One day we cut one up for fish bait.
    Learned our lesson just a little bit late.
    Soon as the geek hit the drink, the water turned red.
    Next day, sure enough, all the fish were dead.


    Most any night you know where I can be found.
    Yeah, stomping some geek's head into the ground.
    So keep the faith 'cause in Blassie you can trust,
    I won't give up 'til the last geek bites the dust.


    They say, "these geeks come a dime a dozen."
    I'm lookin' for the guy who's supplin' the dimes.
    It's gonna be real hard times for all of these
    Grit eatin',
    Scum suckin',
    Boot lickin',
    Drop kickin',
    Gut grindin',
    Nail bitin',
    Glue sniffin',
    Scab pickin',
    Butt scratchin',
    Egg hatchin',
    Pepper bellied,
    Dirty, lousy, rotten, stinkin', freaks.
    Nothing but a pencil neck geek.

    Pencil neck geek.
    Pencil neck geek.
    Pencil neck geek.