Einstein, Bohr, And Ultimate Reality

by MARCELO GLEISER

How much can we know of the world? Some believe we can go all the way and find the answers to the most penetrating questions, at least those concerned with the natural world. Others think there is only so much we can know, that there are some very concrete limits to how much information we can gather about reality. These limits are not just a consequence of our brains or the tools we use to extract knowledge. They are Nature’s trademarks.

So, which one of the two views is the right one?

Perhaps nowhere in the history of science this split is better expressed than in the famous Einstein-Bohr debates. The two giants of twentieth century physics, with a deep intellectual respect for each other, locked horns on several occasions trying to make sense of the puzzling new science they helped developed, quantum mechanics.

In 1905, Einstein wrote what he considered his most revolutionary paper, where he proposed that, contrary to the accepted view, light could be seen as being comprised of little bullets, later called photons. The prevailing view then, after centuries of disagreement, was that light is a wave. More precisely, an oscillation of the electromagnetic field. This dual nature of light, corpuscular and wavy, was like nothing else anyone had seen. When, in 1924, Louis de Broglie suggested that this dual nature was not restricted to light but was a property of electrons, protons, and all particles of matter, things became even more mysterious……

Continue reading at Einstein, Bohr, And Ultimate Reality : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR.

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