A discussion on quantum mechanics that never stops

From Philip Ball’s piece on Quanta Magazine: Quantum Theory Rebuilt From Simple Physical Principles

The basic premise of the quantum reconstruction game is summed up by the joke about the driver who, lost in rural Ireland, asks a passer-by how to get to Dublin. “I wouldn’t start from here,” comes the reply.

Where, in quantum mechanics, is “here”? The theory arose out of attempts to understand how atoms and molecules interact with light and other radiation, phenomena that classical physics couldn’t explain. Quantum theory was empirically motivated, and its rules were simply ones that seemed to fit what was observed. It uses mathematical formulas that, while tried and trusted, were essentially pulled out of a hat by the pioneers of the theory in the early 20th century.

Quantum mechanics is at the basis of the operation of solid-state electronics and optoelectronics, and therefore enables the whole ICT and Internet world.

However, it is still introduced to students as a new science, a revolution with respect to “classical” science, and as something that is basically strange and unintuitive. This is because the historical view of the birth of quantum mechanics is still dominant, after all these years. So all new attempts at rebuilding the foundations of quantum physics are welcome (and I admit I still very much like David Bohm’s view).

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