By J.M. Jauch
"... thought-provoking and pleasant. i feel that anybody drawn to nature's private secrets and techniques could locate nice stimulation during this charmingly written little gem of a book." -- Douglas Hofstadter"... strange, pleasant, nonmathematical book... The reader is left in entertainment and admiration." -- clinical American"This is a superb book... " -- American magazine of Physics"... this ingenious work... elucidates the distinction among the classical, deterministic notions that appear inbred and the unusual habit of the microscopic quantum world.... via resurrecting Galileo's 3 questing pals, Jauch is ready to pose questions a pupil want to ask yet too frequently is inhibited from doing so." -- the most important ReporterAn authority on either quantum mechanics and the paintings of Galileo, J. M. Jauch wrote this captivating discourse in imitation of Galileo's celebrated discussion "Two significant platforms of the World." The discussion shape is a laugh in addition to lucrative and appeals to the scholar of quantum mechanics, the thinker or historian of technology, and the lay individual.
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Additional resources for Are Quanta Real?: A Galilean Dialogue (A Midland Book)
Salviati This is exactly what I am driving at, and since you have already anticipated my question let me be more precise, and take for the source of light one single atom, which passes from an excited state of energy E1 to a ground state of energy E0, thereby emitting a single quantum of light, a photon, of frequency (where h is Planck's constant). This photon will fall on the two plates of polaroid, and I now ask the question, will it go through both or will it be absorbed in the second plate?
You know very well that I have never hidden my profound humility when I speak about complementarity. It seems to me rather that we have reached a sort of limit in our understanding which is like any other of the contingencies with which we are forced to live. Why do we have two hands and two feet? Why do our eyes see only a tiny fraction of the spectrum? Why is our earth finite and structured as it is? And why should Planck's constant have exactly the value that it has? That is where it all begins, that singular history of the quantum of action.
Yet, there were occasional, isolated voices which drew attention to the flimsy evidence for such a point of view, and which steadfastly maintained that there was in fact more evidence in favor of statistical laws in physics. One of the most remarkable spokesmen for this point of view was the American philosopher Charles S. Peirce, who devoted most of his life to the analysis of the basic logic and structure of the physical sciences. Peirce traced the origin of the idea of necessity to Democritos and opposed it with the ideas of Epicurus.