Observation is Measurement, but Measurement is not necessarily “Observation”

“By final [state], we mean at that moment the probability is desired—that is, when the experiment is “finished.” –Richard P. Feynman, Feynman Lectures, Vol. 3 The challenge of defining measurement is evident in the excerpt from Feynman’s famous Lectures in Physics, quoted above--when is the experiment 'finished'??. This remark arises in his discussion of when … Continue reading Observation is Measurement, but Measurement is not necessarily “Observation”

The Arrow of Time from an Overlooked Physical Law

In this post, I'm going to disagree with the following statement by physicist Sean Carroll concerning the nature of time: "The weird thing about the arrow of time is that it’s not to be found in the underlying laws of physics. It’s not there. So it’s a feature of the universe we see, but not … Continue reading The Arrow of Time from an Overlooked Physical Law

Science and Spirit: A Troublemaker In The Cave (Part 2)

Recall that in Part I of this post, I discussed an option (ii) in which scientists make a non-scientific, metaphysical choice when they presume that scientific theories are only about the world of appearance (as opposed to a realm that may not be observable). Now, that is certainly a choice a scientist can make--but for … Continue reading Science and Spirit: A Troublemaker In The Cave (Part 2)

Science and Spirit: Two Sides of the Coin of Understanding(Part I)

The Boundary: Scientific vs. Philosophical or Spiritual Inquiry It might be said that religion begins where science ends. And it may be turning out that quantum theory has indeed taken us to that point. But first of all, let's take a quick look at what science is. Science is fundamentally about the observable world -- … Continue reading Science and Spirit: Two Sides of the Coin of Understanding(Part I)

How light ‘smells’ all its possible paths from source to destination

"Now in the further development of science, we want more than just a formula. First we have an observation, then we have numbers that we measure, then we have a law which summarizes all the numbers. But the real glory of science is that we can find a way of thinking such that the law is evident." -Richard Feynman Quantum … Continue reading How light ‘smells’ all its possible paths from source to destination

Decoherence in the Everettian Picture: Why It Fails

  [Note: this is an adapted excerpt from the introductory chapter to a collected volume, Quantum Structural Studies, forthcoming from World Scientific (eds. R.E. Kastner, J. Jeknic-Dugic, and G. Jaroszkiewicz.] The idea that unitary-only dynamics can lead naturally to preferred observables, such that decoherence suffices to explain emergence of classical phenomena (e.g., Zurek 2003) has been shown … Continue reading Decoherence in the Everettian Picture: Why It Fails

The Quantum and the “Preternatural”

I recently was reminded of the somewhat archaic term 'preternatural' while watching the classic 1963 horror flick "The Haunting." In this amazing film, a scientist interested in occult matters (including, especially, ghosts) decides to investigate Hill House, a nearly century-old mansion notorious for being cursed with untimely deaths and considered as undeniably haunted. He and several … Continue reading The Quantum and the “Preternatural”