8:22am

Mon October 15, 2012
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Which Fundamental Questions Are Most Fundamental?

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 8:52 am

Which fundamental questions in physics get your imagination soaring most? Is it the structure of matter? The nature of Space and Time? The possibility of life in space?

This weekend I had an OpEd piece in The New York Times about Quantum Information, the field which captured this years Nobel Prize. In its wake I received a lot of wonderful email from folks who, like me, find quantum's questions nothing short of insane (at least from our classical intuition's perspective).

When I was a young man and my passion for physics was growing I was sure that Relativity, Black Holes and the origin of the Universe would be the questions I would spend my life pondering. Then I hit undergrad and took my first quantum mechanics class. At first I thought they were joking with their uncertainty principles, wave-particle dualities and Schrodinger's cats.

They weren't and the questions I had in that class, the ones everyone has in that class, still haven't been answered.

That is why these days I am kinda, sorta, maybe coming to think that until we understand what Quantum Mechanics is telling us we may not understand much at all.

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