Elite Engineer

Why quantum physics is a WASTE OF TIME

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Quantum physics is becoming really popular on TV and other media, mainly b/c it has the potential to offer so much, but in reality provides so little. yea it sounds cool to talk about wormholes and quarks and leptons, but at the end of the day, what does this get us? I really think quantum physics got started by a bunch of geniuses who got bored and started breaking down matter to unnecessary levels.

 

Sure, I can tediously calculate all the electrons on my computer screen, or explain why benzene is a stable ring due to its orbitals. But at the end of the day, these don't really save or help anyone or anything.

 

Yes, I'm aware of the things physics has given us such as the atom bomb, etc. However, once we start talking about string theory and 5th, 6th, and 7th dimensions and so on...why does this matter, and what does this do?

 

If you look at the most beneficial achievements to human kind in the last 100 yrs..it's been mostly in biology, chemistry, and engineering (including computer engineering). I don't see how understanding the spin of a quark is ever going to advance human kind.

 

(P.S. we will never approach the speed of light)

 

/end rant

 

~EE

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Strange    2431

 

If you look at the most beneficial achievements to human kind in the last 100 yrs..it's been mostly in biology, chemistry, and engineering (including computer engineering).

 

Ironic that you post this using a device that is only possible because of our knowledge of quantum physics ...

 

 

we will never approach the speed of light

 

We are already travelling at over 99.99% of the speed of light (relative to something).

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ajb    1567

Maybe you should make a distinction between 'quantum mechanics' and all theories that are quantised.

 

'Bog standard' non-relativistic quantum mechanics has, from a engineering point of view, been fundamental in the development of electronic components.

 

Quantum field theory you could argue has done far less from an engineering perspective. I generally agree, apart from the technology developed to test these models. There has been lots of engineering triumphs in developing experimental apparatus. The same can be said about nuclear medicine and antiproton therapy; both require some understanding of particle physics and the right language is QFT.

 

So the standard model has given us not just a better view of nature, but also some technologies, both directly and indirectly.

 

String theory and similar today had brought no spin-off technologies as such (some mathematical tools have been developed, but that is not what you are looking for). The energy scales involved are outside of our reach and this makes testing and using strings impossible. The benefit to mankind of string theory and similar has to be measured not by direct applications, but the deeper knowledge it gives us. This may be seen as a cultural thing and not simply an engineering thing.

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Acme    496

Even if quantum physics is a waste of time, so what? Peoples' time is theirs to waste and there is no end of works that don't 'benefit' humanity. Knitting doilies comes to mind. Damnable doily knitters anyway! No skin off my shins.

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Klaynos    717

Sorry, your view that qm doesn't help people is jest false. Walk into a hospital and turn off every device with a micro controller or CPU and head watch as not only do patients suffer immediately but no one can be easily summoned to help them. This is one of the worst arguments against qm research I've ever seen, and frankly that's saying something.

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swansont    6166

Sure, I can tediously calculate all the electrons on my computer screen, or explain why benzene is a stable ring due to its orbitals. But at the end of the day, these don't really save or help anyone or anything.

GPS is kinda nice, has probably saved lives, and been helpful to many. Not possible without QM, because GPS relies on atomic clocks.

 

Here's more

http://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2015/08/13/what-has-quantum-mechanics-ever-done-for-us/

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Prometheus    337

There is a popular story that the British Prime Minister asked Faraday about his discoveries of the electro-magnetic field:

 

"What good is it?"

 

To which Faraday reportedly responded, "What good is a newborn baby?"

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Phi for All    4741

Sure, I can tediously calculate all the electrons on my computer screen, or explain why benzene is a stable ring due to its orbitals. But at the end of the day, these don't really save or help anyone or anything.

 

On your computer, where the transistors are only possible with QM? Try doing the calcs without your computer, or any other solid-state device, and let us know how it works out. But don't use your computer anymore, Mr QM-is-wrong. That would be hypocritical.

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swansont    6166

 

On your computer, where the transistors are only possible with QM? Try doing the calcs without your computer, or any other solid-state device, and let us know how it works out. But don't use your computer anymore, Mr QM-is-wrong. That would be hypocritical.

 

And don't communicate it over fiber-optics with a laser, another product of QM.

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Phi for All    4741

 

And don't communicate it over fiber-optics with a laser, another product of QM.

 

I remember reading once that even the conductivity of electricity through copper wire is a QM effect, but we didn't need QM at the time to take advantage of it, and it evolved more or less by trial and error. But when QM was actually applied, we could suddenly make things with very specific optical and electrical properties.

 

QM revolutionized chemistry as well. Solar panel technology comes to mind, and I'm sure there are many others. I'm scheduled for a PET scan in the next month, so it's a good thing I don't think QM is waste of time. I'd hate to think of the alternative to modern medical imaging.

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I see I may have some how been unclear by my title. Ajb kinda mentioned what I was talking about. I was suggesting the purely theoretical, not applicable in an engineering perspective. The talk of time travel and opening up wormholes. These things are more popular because they entertain the masses, but I don't think it'll ever be achieved or have any real application.

 

I wasn't referring to computers or anything like that.

 

And yet no one has added to the defense of the utility of wormholes, time travel, and the 11th dimension. Instead everyone is jumping on the band wagon of what I wasn't talking about.

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Sensei    599

And yet no one has added to the defense of the utility of wormholes, time travel, and the 11th dimension. Instead everyone is jumping on the band wagon of what I wasn't talking about.

You also mentioned "quarks and leptons", in the same line as "wormholes".

Their decay is what is running nuclear plants, so far using U-235.

There can be other unstable/stable isotopes which can be turned to fuel of future.

Scientists have to analyze newly produced unstable isotopes to check whether they could be used as fuel of future.

 

I don't see how understanding the spin of a quark is ever going to advance human kind.

Nuclear spin of theoretically unstable isotope can cause it to be metastable because there is not allowed decay mode (or time is significantly increased).

f.e. what should decay quickly, is delayed, and decaying from excited state to ground state, by emitting gamma rays, much longer than expected.

 

Don't you think so fluorescence is interesting subject to discover by scientists?

 

Read about using Tritium as source of electrons that excite other atoms

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritium_illumination

to emit light in Wristwatch clock.

Edited by Sensei

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You also mentioned "quarks and leptons", in the same line as "wormholes".

Their decay is what is running nuclear plants, so far using U-235.

There can be other unstable/stable isotopes which can be turned to fuel of future.

Scientists have to analyze newly produced unstable isotopes to check whether they could be used as fuel of future.

 

 

Nuclear spin of theoretically unstable isotope can cause it to be metastable because there is not allowed decay mode (or time is significantly increased).

f.e. what should decay quickly, is delayed, and decaying from excited state to ground state, by emitting gamma rays, much longer than expected.

 

Don't you think so fluorescence is interesting subject to discover by scientists?

 

Read about using Tritium as source of electrons that excite other atoms

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritium_illumination

to emit light in Wristwatch clock.

Alright, I stand corrected on the quarks and leptons. But what about this talk of time travel, wormholes, and dimensions? Actually applicable, or just fun to talk about?

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ajb    1567

But what about this talk of time travel, wormholes, and dimensions? Actually applicable, or just fun to talk about?

You are trying to judge something by immediate applications. That is not the way to judge fundamental science. The idea is that we add a new layer to our understanding of nature, maybe applications will someday follow and maybe not very quickly. You seem to be pooh-poohing parts of modern theoretical physics.

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swansont    6166

From the "Dead Irish Writers" episode of The West Wing

 

[G]reat achievement has no road map. The X-Ray is pretty good, and so is penicillin, and neither were discovered with a practical objective in mind. I mean, when the electron was discovered in 1897, it was useless. And now we have an entire world run by electronics. Haydn and Mozart never studied the classics. They couldn't. They invented them.

 

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Strange    2431

Alright, I stand corrected on the quarks and leptons. But what about this talk of time travel, wormholes, and dimensions? Actually applicable, or just fun to talk about?

 

And even if their only purpose is to be "fun to talk about", is that a bad thing? It might stimulate new ideas or encourage young people to study physics. And who knows what might come out of that...

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DrP    347

err - the photoelectric effect!? Heck of a lot of practical application of that, which is a QM effect. EE, you are just unaware of the scale of which QM is used in everyone's everyday lives obviously.

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Strange    2431

But what about this talk of time travel, wormholes, and dimensions? Actually applicable, or just fun to talk about?

 

Don't those ideas come mainly from general relativity, not quantum theory?

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DrP    347

I would imagine they come from a collection of scientific theories rather than just one as it goes Strange. :) Most theories tend to build on scientific principles laid out in earlier theories I would think.

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Theres obviously 2 ways of looking at it.

 

1) Its the area of physics were yet to fully understand, even partially. It has and will offer great breakthroughs for mankind and is the only real direction physics can move. It already has a large list of usefull progressions that have aided mankind massively. A good example is the jahn teller metal just created within the last few months. Its a superconductor with a very low critical temprature, its also an insulator, metal and magnet simaltaniously. Offers great potential for various purposes.

 

2) It has turned into a form of pseudo science whereby new theories are being written up but have no physical evidence other than abstract theoretical math. Theres lots of conflicting theories and theres a herd mentalility to which theory is agreed upon. Finally it could be said very intelligent people are wasting huge amounts of time on theories that are almost impossible to prove and have no advantage to human progress.

 

Its important to note that quantum refers to anything sub atomic, such as electrons, protons and neutrons. At this basic level it has given us a much greater understanding of chemistry, electromagnetism and physics in general.

 

Theres a major flaw in QM in that it doesnt work with the classical physics which is used 80% of the time in engineering and such.

 

My personal opinion is that QM is by no means a waste of time, however the amount of time and money thats invested into it should be for more practical purposes rather than creating wild and exotic theories because theyre more fun.

 

The primary goal should be to unify physics so that its no longer conflicting.

 

One final note id like to add is the limitations of QM, i firmly believe that we are physically constrained by the apparatus. There is limit to the time variable and size variable we can explore. For example if we define time as being relative and the speed of light the fastest thing we can observe then its fair to say anything moving faster than the speed of light simply cant be captured.

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