The impossibly stubborn question at the heart of quantum mechanics

September 30, 2019 | From Prospect Magazine


A great debate has raged over what precisely this field can tell us. Ninety years later physicists still can’t decide.

Everybody knows by now that quantum mechanics is an extraordinarily successful scientific theory, on which much of our modern, tech-obsessed lifestyles depend. It is also completely mad. Although the theory quite obviously works, we’re left to puzzle over what we think it’s telling us, with all its ghosts and phantoms; its cats that are at once both alive and dead; its collapsing wavefunctions; and its seemingly “spooky” goings-on. It leaves us with a rather desperate desire to lie down quietly in a darkened room.

Published by Prospect Magazine, 2 August 2018. Read the article here.