[OT] "Pre-announcement" of Python-based "computing appliance"project.

Richard Hanson me at privacy.net
Sun Sep 26 21:52:21 CEST 2004

Andrew Dalke wrote:

> > Richard Hanson wrote:
> >> But, but... How can *QM* be the ultimate framework? -- it doesn't
> >> include gravity (GR).
> Stephen Waterbury wrote:
> > Touche!  OK, modulo superstrings.  :)
> There are many quantum mechanics models.  The original
> one, the Schrödinger equation, was extended to relativity
> with the Klein-Gordon equation, thence refined to
> quantum eletrodynamics (QED) to include the weak for
> and quantum chromodynamics (QCD) to include the strong
> force.

I've heard of these strange things a very *wee* bit. :-)

> All of these are quantum mechanics, as is string
> theory, *-branes, and many others, including many
> known to be non-physical.  Superstrings is an attempt
> to be a quantum theory that includes gravity.

I *almost* kinda knew that, too, sorta. :-)

> The confusion you two had is that our current best
> description of the universe is called the Standard
> Model and it's often assumed that the Standard Model
> is identical to being QM, as compared to only be *a*
> quantum mechanical model.

*Had*?! -- Hell, I'm *still* extremely confused! ;-)

Note that as I've alluded to, sometimes even explicitly stated, I'm a
generalist with only a few areas of deeper knowledge. Cosmology,
particle physics, and the like are decidedly *not* areas wherein I
have even a hobbyist's level of knowledge. About the only thing I know
about such is that laymen (myself *decidedly* included) don't know
much about such. ;-) 

(I learned a long time ago of an estimation of the amount of time and
study it would take for a layman to get even slightly up to speed on
these topics -- could be a decade or more if one *only* concentrated
on these subjects. So, I decided to remain a layman concerning these
areas -- life is too short, and all -- but who would, nonetheless,
continue reading about these and many other fascinating domains.)

I've heard of the Standard Model, the Copenhagen and Wheeler's "many
worlds" interpretations of such, Kaluza-Klein, "hidden-variables
theories" (Wheeler, Bohm, both? -- others, I presume), and other
phrases of the like. But, I *gladly* grant my confusion and ignorance,
and *do* appreciate your kindly edification -- I realize that knowing
of "buzz words" does *not* imply understanding of such. :-)

Again, I'm only an autodidact, so most assuredly, there are *major*
holes in my education. :-)

> >> Likewise, in QM it seems that a robot taking measurements is
> >> sufficient to "collapse the wave function." Of course, you could also
> >> argue that robots are people, too. ;-)
> There was an interesting paper a month or two back,
> forgot where, which showed how the length of time for
> superposition was a function of temperature.  The
> hotter it was the shorter the time, because there
> were more photons interacting with the environment.
> No active "taking measurements needed" -- only interaction
> with the passive environment.  Though I didn't read
> the article that closely.  I mostly looked at the
> picture.

Wow! Fascinating -- stranger and stranger (as someone may have said).

> I also read something recently about a proposed
> experiment that might distinguish between a couple
> of the standard philosophical interpretations of
> QM.  About all I recall is that the granddaughter
> of one of the early 20th century physicists (Bohr?
> Schrödinger? Heisenberg?) was involved.

Again, very interesting! 

Thanks for your further help to ameliorate my very limited knowledge
of the field (as it were). Much appreciated!


[Note: I am having equipment and connectivity problems. I'll be back
as I can when I get things sorted out better, and as appropriate (or
inappropriate ;-) ). Thanks to you and to all for the civil
and fun discussions!]

thanks!--a-man's-gotta-know-his-limitations'ly y'rs,
Richard Hanson


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