The Biggest Myth In Quantum Physics

The Biggest Myth In Quantum Physics

“Questions like “How or why does [quantum physics] work?” or “What, if anything, do the mathematical objects in [quantum] theory represent?” have as many answers as we care to give them. But those, arguably, say much more about us and our prejudices, biases, and assumptions about the Universe than the reality of the Universe itself. There are very few things we can actually observe in nature: particle properties like position, momentum, cross-sections, scattering amplitudes, and individual quantum states are pretty much it. Asking questions about the underlying nature of reality assumes that a true reality conforms to certain rules that fit our intuition, while the exact opposite may turn out to be true. Our perception of reality is determined by our limited senses and capabilities, and whatever rules truly govern the Universe may be more foreign to us than our minds have ever conceived of.”

Quantum physics is one of the strangest beasts we’ve ever stumbled upon when it comes to the nature of the Universe. We may be used to physical objects with well-defined properties in our everyday reality, but at the quantum level, the Universe is full of unexpected surprises. On very small scales, objects act as both waves and particles, depending on what you do to them. They have interactions that are non-local, tied to one another across large spans in both space and time. They don’t have well-defined properties until you measure them, and that’s perhaps the spookiest thing of all. Yet there’s one thing we’ve done in recent years that may be the worst crime of all: we’ve assigned interpretations to quantum physics in an attempt to better describe reality. Only, we haven’t learned anything about reality at all; all we’ve done is insert ourselves and our prejudices, biases, and our useless intuition into quantum physics.

The result has been the perpetuation of the biggest myth in quantum physics: that it needs an interpretation at all.