Why is Quantum Physics So Hard to Understand?
Why it's Hard to Understand Quantum Physics
The reason why quantum physics is so hard to understand is that the whimsical names of discovered particles during the sixties simply adds to the confusion.
Humans think though development of a picture of the minds eye. So even though spin, particle are just names that have nothing to what the math equations are talking about. By simply naming - gives people the idea that these 'things' that the math equations are referring to actually do have spin, and mass - which they don't.
“The term ‘particle’ survives in modern physics, but very little of its classical meaning remains. A particle can now best be defined as the conceptual carrier of a set of variates. . . It is also conceived as the occupant of a state defined by the same state of variates. . .It might seem desirable to distinguish the 'mathematical fictions' from 'actual particles'; but it is difficult to find any logical basis for such a distinction. 'Discovering' a particle mean observing certain effects which are accepted as proof of its existence.” - British astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington, Fundamental Theory, (Cambridge University Press., Cambridge, 1942)pp. 30-31
That's why the names mislead the ordinary person on the street with misconceptions. The odd names just made matters worse. Quarks are known as flavors: up, down, charm, strange, top, and bottom. Doesn't help to understand it - does it? That because we are animals that instinctively used familiar ideas to graft unknown and new idea upon them, inherently distorting with our brain's lenses.
If you listen to just the first 5 minutes of the Leonard Susskind's video lecture 1, he will explain why as humans, quantum theory is so hard to understand is because it is outside our everyday experience.
The rest of the hour and a half of lecture 1 is about vectors and matrices. Lecture 2 start with an overview of imaginary numbers.
Leonard Susskind's video lecture 1
Why call it a particle?
Even the word quantum itself has been bastardized in popular parlance. Quantum means an infinity small jump. In every day language a quantum leap is understood to be a huge jump in time travel. Time travel paradoxes are thought experiments that lead to imaginative movies but further takes most people away from the original math equations.
Why? Because time is an illusion caused by the passage of history and history is an illusion caused by the passage of time. So to call it a particle and saying it is at two places at the same time is what is so confusing. No wonder it takes years to understand a single photon is at two places at the same time.
Math is the most precises language there is in describing the universe. It wasn't invented, it was discovered.
There are no discrete particles, only forces, but in the math equation, when someone says what does that number mean, it's thought as a separate entity - a particle. The reducing of a thing into separate parts is what lies in the problem of understanding quantum mechanics. Spooky action at a distance is easier thought of as a force and not as a particle. Looking for a graviton or the God particle just makes understanding that so much difficult. If listen to the first five minutes of Leonard Susskind's lecture part 3 then this will explain why everything is described as a 'particle' and not a force field.
The word particle is used in everyday language rather than tensor because then would have to explain what is a tensor.
Faster Than Light Travel
From the BBC Will We Ever? "One of the earliest proposed possibilities for FTL travel involved a hypothetical particle called a tachyon, capable of tunnelling past the speed of light barrier. This turned out to be more of a mathematical artifact rather than an actual physical particle."
Leonard Susskind's lecture part 3
No Math! Just Tell it in a Story!
We have all experienced spooky action at a distance. Remember your first magnets as a kid? Einstein was fascinated with magnetism as a child.
Why is it easy to believe that fervent prayer will help heal a sick child but not that quantum entanglement or that the future affects the past? That's because most people don't believe that is a 'prayer particle' that travels to God. There isn't an ESP particle that give you that gut feeling that cannot be vocalized into vertical thinking. The force alluded to in 'Star Wars' is a culmination of all other forces that can be separated by Fourier Analysis..
It's called Quantum Entanglement and trying to understand with math is too hard. That's why I recommended only watching the first five minutes of Leonard Susskind's videos. To understand in human terms then it's best to tell it in a story, as a thought experiment. The first book that I read on dimensional reality is called Flatland, written by E. A. Abbott in 1884. It's a very small and skinny book that can be read in one sitting. Instead of trying to picture in your mind's eye the fourth dimension, it is much easier to imagine a world of only two dimensions.
I would suggest to anybody about questions such as these to read - or better yet listen to the audio book :
The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn by Louisa Gilder
It is a book about conversations throughout the decades and how the big brains struggled with the craziness of Quantum Physics. It also cleared up a bunch of weirdness as to the word 'entanglement' that Schrödinger used in English but in German is more of a 'cross-linked'
It even hurt Einstein's brain to think about it!
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