Is quantum mechanics complete?
Perhaps not. Adam Becker’s “What is Real?” makes a case for alternative theories to counter the hegemony of the Copenhagen Interpretation.
The world described by quantum mechanics is a strange one. To fully appreciate its strangeness, picture this in your mind: Imagine a ball rolling down a track at a speed of 1 meter per second. Classical physics tells us this: if we can measure the position and velocity of the ball at this time, we can predict the position and velocity of the said ball at different points in the future.
Even if no one is looking at the ball, everyone would agree that the ball has definite properties. If our measurements do not disturb the system, we can measure the properties without changing anything about the ball at all. All that changes is our knowledge. We now know something additional about the world that we previously did not know.
Now, imagine that the ball is shrunk to the size of an electron. The Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics tells us that the electron does not have any definite properties before the act of measurement. In fact, it exists in a superposition of all possible values until someone comes along to measure it. When that happens, the ‘wavefunction’ of the system collapses, giving rise to a singular definite value. It is not just our knowledge of the world that changes. By choosing to take a measurement, we are changing something deeply fundamental about the external world.Read More »Adam Becker’s “What is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics”