Tuesday, December 2, 2014
I wonder how many people can follow quantum mechanics. It's traditional, old-school science I like and understand, that is, the science prior to 1920. After Einstein, everything got weird. In school, I was taught primarily Newtonian physics, which handicapped my understanding of the Universe, but that remains at heart my understanding of things. When I read, for instance in the biography of Richard Feynman, that electrons can travel backward and forward in time, just as they travel backward and forward through space, it does not compute, and I do not understand the math either, nor even the high-level explanations or the "easy" analogies offered. I don't understand what is meant by the idea that time has no meaning or does not exist or is strange in a way that I cannot directly observe. To me, time is real. I observe things change, and they do not revert to what they were, either. Perhaps my limitations are biological in nature, and I'm not meant to divine such mysteries. To me, quantum physics reads like magic, and the physicists, like Feynman, are sorcerors that can tap into dangerous, double-edged supernatural forces.