By James Dacey
Last week my colleague Hamish Johnston wrote about a fascinating survey carried out recently in the quantum research community. Physicists, philosophers and mathematicians were asked to give their responses to a series of questions about the foundations of quantum mechanics. Topics covered aspects of the subject from Einstein’s views on the topic to the prospects of a practical quantum computer. The survey is described and analysed in this accompanying paper posted on the arXiv preprint server.
Perhaps the most fascinating outcome of the survey was the extent of variation in responses to the questions about interpretations of quantum mechanics. This is perhaps surprising given the fact that the modern theory of quantum mechanics has been knocking around now for the best part of a century.
Perhaps it just goes to show how many of the key concepts at the heart of this strange theory are still strong sources of debate for physicists. In this week’s Facebook poll we thought it would be interesting to ask you one of the questions from this recent poll:
In your interpretation of quantum physics, do objects have their properties well defined prior to and independent of measurement?
Yes, in all cases
Yes, in some cases
Let us know by visiting our Facebook page, and as always please feel free to post a comment to explain your answer.
In last week’s poll we asked you a question about the mechanism by which fundamental physics research is transformed into commercial products. We asked you whether you think patents are hampering the commercialization of graphene. The question was motivated by the publication of a new report from the intellectual-property consultancy CambridgeIP, which suggests that the UK might be losing out in the quest to commercialize this material. 78% of respondents said “yes” it is being hampered, while the remaining 22% said no.
Thank you to everyone for taking part and we hope to hear from you again this week.