Yep … nothing at all weird about quantum physics is there? Reality is real and what you perceive through your senses is what is really “out there.” Objects are nice and solid, made up of tinier “bits” of solid stuff. Objects are always just in one place and our scientists are pretty damn close to understanding everything.
Only new-age wackos believe that quantum mechanics suggests that reality is not as it seems …. It was therefore fascinating to listen to BBC Radio Four this morning.
John Humphrys was interviewing the new director-general of CERN, Professor Fabiola Gianotti, about how the newly refurbished Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which will soon start searching for more sub-atomic particles. John asked her that surely the LHC had fulfilled its purpose now that the Higgs Boson had been discovered.
In a really honest answer Professor Gianotti replied that science is far from complete in its understanding of how the universe works.
She then gave the example that 94% of the universe is “missing” in that it is made of something we simply cannot detect but we know is there from certain indirect effects that this mysterious “Dark Matter” has on physical matter. She also added that science also has no idea why there is so much more matter than anti-matter in the universe when it should be about equal.
John Humphry’s response was amazing …. in that he was not amazed at all. It was as if she had said that she was planning to go out for a curry tonight in Geneva. Surely if one of the world’s top scientists had told you that the “reality” we perceive with our best instruments makes up only 6% of what there is really “out there” should have had him speechless … but no, it seemed to simply fly over his head …. I suspect he is, like many others wedded to the science of 120 years ago, simply in denial. She may have said it but it simply didn’t register.
Professional physicists know that we are far from understanding how the universe works. Indeed much of what we now know about the behaviours of sub-atomic particles are is completely crazy and totally in conflict with “common-sense.” Indeed I was immedeately reminded of the famous Bill Hick’s monologue regarding the newscaster and the “young man on acid” … only this wasn’t fiction … indeed Humphrys actually finished the interview by saying, “now over to the sports news….”
I was also delighted to hear Professor Gianotti quote the 94% statistic as this is EXACTLY what I said to Natalie Gray two days ago during our epic interview.
Finally, although the vast majority of our fellow human beings are locked into “Naïve Realism” (aka “what is out there is real and exactly as perceived and is nice and solid”), REAL scientists writing in real science periodicals are far less sure …. for example check out this article on the website of Nature published in May 2015, probably they most hard-science of all periodicals … read it carefully and inwardly digest exactly what it is telling you …. and this is exactly the kind of science I write about …..
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