Updated: Nov 11, 2021
If you run into something, become frustrated or irritated, then you make sure to find a solution for what you want to do differently. If it is a small change, then you probably get away with it. But are you going off the beaten track …, hm with a bit of luck they call you a new thinker, but it is more likely that you are called a rebel. A blogpost about how rebels let go of their own beliefs and paved the way to discover quantum mechanics.
Turnaround I feel connected to the scientists who were called rebels at the beginning of the last century. They caused a turnaround in our physicist glance of the world. And with that laid the foundation for a different understanding of our behavior. More about that in other blogposts. But first, grateful to them as I am, I would like to give the podium to a few rebels from the 19th century.
Beginning The age of quantum mechanics began in 1900 when the German physicist Max Planck assumed that everything was made up of small particles, which he called quanta. Matter consists of quanta, but also of that which holds material objects together. Energy is radiated in quanta. Albert Einstein advanced the assumptions of Max Planck on matter in a description of the reality and the photoelectric effect, which laid the foundations for the entire concept of quantum mechanics.
Puzzle Only from about 1920 the pieces of the puzzle began to come together. Scientists such as Wolfgang Pauli, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, Max Born, Ernest Rutherford and Niels Bohr, branded as rebels in their time, further developed the doctrine of quantum mechanics.
Own beliefs The main challenge for these first researchers was to let go of their own beliefs about causal relationships between cause and effect. Quanta worked so differently from what they were used to be able to sense and explain logically and directly. They had to embrace a completely new way of thinking. They discovered certain basic rules. Just like fire is warm and ice is cold, quanta behavior is inherent in how they are and there was nothing they could compare them to.
Their idea These scientists were accustomed to thinking that something can only be there if you can sense it right there, and that it only performs what you can sense. If you split it into smaller pieces, you can always take another part off of it until nothing is left. That was their idea of particles.
Different Quanta behave completely different. Our senses are too limited to perceive them and to see their behavior. They are both a particle and a wave. Particles turn out to be at a super position, at the same time in different places, which you can only define with a certain probability and make real by your consciousness. Consciousness makes these particles manifest themselves in a certain spot with a jump. Consciousness is something we, as people, bring with us. And there is the opening to explain why we think what we think and thereby do what we do.