Last modified on 11 August 2013, at 21:28

Nick Herbert (physicist)

Nick Herbert
Though today's quantum theory shows no sign of weakness, someday it may collapse.

Nick Herbert (born September 7, 1936, Pittsburgh) is an American physicist and author, best known for his book Quantum Reality. Herbert studied Engineering Physics at the Ohio State University, graduating in 1959. He received a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University in 1967 for work on nuclear scattering experiments.

SourcedEdit

Quantum Reality - Beyond The New PhysicsEdit

  • One of the curious features of modern physics is that in spite of its overwhelming success in explaining a vast range of of physical phenomena from quark to quasar, it fails to give us a single metaphor for how the universe really works.
    • Preface, p. xi
  • Although mathematics originates in the human mind, its remarkable effectiveness in explaining the world does not extend to the mind itself. Psychology has proved unusually resistant to the mathematization that works so well in physics.
    • Chapter 1, The Quest For Reality, p. 2
  • One of the best-kept secrets of science is that physicists have lost their grip on reality.
    • Chapter 2, Physicists Losing Their Grip, p. 15
  • Quantum physics emerged from the Stone Age with an embarrassment of riches - three quantum theories, each claiming to explain the world. As it turned out, all three were right.
    • Chapter 3, Quantum Theory takes Charge, p. 42
  • Though today's quantum theory shows no sign of weakness, someday it may collapse.
    • Chapter 3, Quantum Theory takes Charge, p. 52
  • Physicists, for all their odd notions, are basically a conservative lot.
    • Chapter 4, Facing The Quantum Facts, p. 55
  • Most everywhere, most of the time, the world dwells in an unmeasured state.
    • Chapter 6, Meet The Champ: Quantum Theory Itself, p. 94
  • So minuscule is the scale of quantum events compared to the actions of everyday life that it's a wonder humans ever found out about the quantum world at all.
    • Chapter 8, "And Then A Miracle Occurs": The Quantum Measurement Problem, p. 150
No local reality can explain the type of world we live in.
  • The pragmatist regards any theory as a mere mathematical machine for generating numbers which he then compares with experiment. A pragmatist is concerned with results, not reality. The pragmatist refuses on principle to speculate about deep reality, such a concept being meaningless from his point of view. Pragmatism is an intelectually safe but ultimately sterile philosophy.
    • Chapter 9, Four Quantum Realities, p. 159
  • The quantum world is not made up of objects.
    • Chapter 9, Four Quantum Realities, p. 162
  • The quantum world is objective but objectless.
    • Chapter 9, Four Quantum Realities, p. 162
  • If a friend in Texas seals a silver coin in one envelope and a gold coin in another and mails the envelopes to Tokyo and London, the instant you open you envelope in Japan you know the contents of my envelope in England. But opening your letter causes no physical change in England (faster-than-light or otherwise) but merely involves a change in your knowledge concerning something happening far away and outside your control.
  • Strictly speaking, there are no "measurements" in the world, only correlations.
    • Chapter 9, Four Quantum Realities, p. 174
  • Legendary King Midas never knew the feel of silk or a human hand after everything he touched turned to gold. Humans are stuck in a similar Midas-like predicament: we can't directly experience the true texture of reality because everything we touch turns to matter.
    • Chapter 10, Quantum Realities: Four More, p. 194
  • The entire visible universe, what Bishop Berkley called "the mighty frame of the world," rests ultimately on a strange quantum kind of being no more substantial than a promise.
    • Chapter 10, Quantum Realities: Four More, p. 195
  • Physicists cannot explain atoms to their children, not because we are ignorant but because we know too much.
    • Chapter 10, Quantum Realities: Four More, p. 197
  • The gist of Bell's theorem is this: no local model of reality can explain the results of a particular experiment.
    • Chapter 11, The Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox, p. 199 (See also: John Stewart Bell)
  • Bell himself managed to devise such a proof which rejects all models of reality possessing the property of "locality". This proof has since become known as Bells theorem. It asserts that no local model of reality can underlie the quantum facts. Bell's theorem says that reality must be non-local.
    • Chapter 12, Bell's Interconnectedness Theorem, p. 212
  • Non-local influences do not diminish with distance. They are as potent at a million miles as at a millimeter.
    Non-local influences act instantaneously. The speed of their transmission is not limited by the velocity of light.
    A non-local interaction links up one location with another without crossing space, without decay, and without delay. A non-local interaction is, in short, unmediated, unmitigated, and immediate.
    • Chapter 12, Bell's Interconnectedness Theorem, p. 214
Strictly speaking, there are no "measurements" in the world, only correlations.
  • The simplicity of Bell's proof opens it to everyone, not just physicists and mathematicians.
    • Chapter 12, Bell's Interconnectedness Theorem, p. 215
  • A universe that displays local phenomena but upon a non-local reality is the only sort of world consistent with known facts and Bell's proof.
    • Chapter 12, Bell's Interconnectedness Theorem, p. 230
  • Physicists continue to debate whether Bell's theorem is airtight or not. However, the real question is not whether Bell can prove beyond doubt that reality is non-local, but whether the world is in fact no-local.
    • Chapter 13, The Future Of Quantum Reality, p. 238
  • No local reality can explain the type of world we live in.
    • Chapter 13, The Future Of Quantum Reality, p. 245

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