How to explain the quantum world?
Thursday, 25 Jun. 2015, 14:00 - 15:30
Presenter: Tina Bilban; Institute Nova Revija, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Host: Caslav Brukner
Where: IQOQI Seminar Room, 2nd Floor, Boltzmanngasse 3, 1090 Vienna
Although often labeled as weird, quantum mechanics can be comprehensively and simply explained if handled with philosophical rigor. Before and after a measurement, a quantum system is described by a wave function, while in the context of a measurement, a quantum system is described by the measured property. The ontology of these descriptions can be understood if we reconsider the role of observation in the quantum world, while entanglement provides an explanation for the change in the description that occurs when we measure a quantum system. Such a reconsideration of observation lay at the heart of Niels Bohr’s philosophy of quantum mechanics, however, his position is very often misunderstood, simplified and separated from its philosophical centre. While a survey by Schlosshauer, Kofler and Zeilinger in 2011 demonstrated that personal philosophical prejudices predispose one towards a certain interpretation, it also seems to determine how one understands other interpretations. If we want future journalists, physicists and philosophers to appreciate the complexities of interpretations of quantum mechanics, it might be a good idea, to approach them early enough – perhaps through a book on quantum mechanics for children.