Calculate But Don’t Shut Up

The cliché has it that the Copenhagen interpretation demands adherence without deep enquiry. That does physics a disservice.

Physics is important. We rely on it to provide us with valid conceptions of the nature of the physical world and how it works, conceptions which underpin almost every aspect of our technologically advanced society. At root, physics as a discipline relies on foundational theories of space and time, and of matter and light. For the most part, physicists are content to make use of foundational theories that have remained broadly unchanged for centuries. These are good enough for most practical purposes. But as they explore the physics of the very fast, or of the very small, or as they ponder the large-scale structure of the universe, they reach for younger theories that were established only a century ago. These are quantum mechanics and Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity.

Available on Aeon Magazine.

‘Shut up and calculate’ does a disservice to quantum mechanics | Aeon Essays