Quantum Mechanics, the stupid and the science

Quantum Mechanics probably holds the unfortunate distinction of being the most abused area of science. The French philosopher of science Gaston Bachelard once said that the reason we still think of it as something mysterious and somehow scandalous in regard to the whole of science is because the Physics we are taught at school – except for those who go into careers that include the discipline in the professional higher education – is a “dead” discipline, in the sense that Latin is a dead language. And he wrote it some 80 years ago, so this makes even less sense than today.

Yes, Quantum Mechanics was a major revolution when it first came out, over a century ago, and threw lots of good minds into a tailspin. But today we inhabit a world that, to a large measure, was created by practical applications of QM. Solid state physics, one of its branches, is the basis for the functioning of transistors, and hence, all of microelectronics, meaning that all of the things we take for granted in our daily life – computers, internet, flat-screen TVs, communications – are all direct applications of QM.

That doesn’t keep charlatans and quacks of all kinds to try and hijack the brand to serve their own agenda, from management (I once saw a book called “the quantum firm” or something like that) to health (Deepak Chopra being probably the greatest offender).

An absolutely nonsensical “documentary” recently fudged the situation even more, peddling so much nonsense that probably made Plank spin in his tomb. For a thorough takedown, take a look at this critique: What the (Bleep) Were They Thinking?

RationalWiki also has an entry about that nonsense: What tHē βLєєP Dѳ ωΣ (k)πow!?, it points in its sources to a detailed critique in video form of that pile of crap, in 7 parts.

The best antidote to pseudoscience is, after all, science, and fortunately an actual scientist put together a series of lessons explaining the most relevant aspects of QM in video form; without further ado, here they are: Quantum mechanics 101: Demystifying tough physics in 4 easy lessons.

Have fun!


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