Mystery of the quantum world

The quantum world is still a headache for physicists. (Image: ipopba / iSock)

Because of reality – quantum theory fundamentally questions the existence of “our world”. This continues to cause controversial discussions among scientists. The July issue of bild der Wissenschaft is dedicated to this fascinating and tricky subject of physics.

“Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it,” said the famous physicist Niels Bohr. The concept that has revolutionized physics since the beginning of the last century is considered experimentally confirmed and yet describes a strange world with consequences that seem incomprehensible: puzzling coincidences, bizarre interferences and “spooky long-range effects” make the quantum world a mystery, with which Bohr Albert Einstein also quarreled.

At the beginning of the two-part title topic, an introduction clarifies what quantum theory is all about and why it raises so many questions. Based on the description of the famous double-slit experiment, it becomes clear that certain physical effects cannot be explained in a classic way. Phenomena such as entanglement and superposition are also the reason why “spooky long-range effects” emerge from quantum theory, as Einstein called these effects. In the mysterious quantum world, places and distances seem to dissolve.

Shattered understanding of reality

In the first part of the article “Einstein’s Spook”, the bdw expert Rüdiger Vaas describes how Einstein refused to accept this consistency of the concept and reports on Einstein’s friendly controversies with Bohr about the tricky aspects of the theory. This shows how difficult it is for the two brilliant stars of science to understand the quantum world. Einstein believed that hidden variables were still missing to explain the known effects. But then it became apparent that this was not the case. If the quantum theory is complete, however, it has drastic consequences for the physical world view: Then the classical idea of ​​reality is at the end – or at least the one that objects have a fixed place in it and can exist independently of one another, writes Vaas.

Then the author explains in the article “Controversial Quantum Reality” how the scientific headache has developed to this day. Precision measurements have shown that “spooky long-range effects” pervade the entire quantum realm. Quantum physicists are now discussing solutions that sometimes seem completely bizarre or surreal, reports Vaas. To explain the strange non-localities, they speculate on alien universes, backward times, and cosmic conspiracies. Other researchers even consider reality to be higher dimensional mathematics or a mere illusion. At least one thing is clear: the “spooky long-distance effects” have deeply shaken our familiar worldview and understanding of reality, sums up Vaas.

You will find the title topic “Controversy about the quantum world” in the July issue of Bild der Wissenschaft, which will be available in stores from June 15.

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