Sound and Fury

Signifying nothing

Why I shouldn’t go near libraries.

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So I went to the library today looking for a translation of a paper by Max Born which I needed to read for Physics. But of course, the only copy of the book was out. And in the physics library which I don’t know where it is… or… whose location I am ignorant of. Anyway, I left the library and popped into Waterstones, as you do. I sort of accidentally ended up buying three books. Oops.

In my defence, two of them make tangential allusions to Henry Oldenburg, so they might provide some background for my putative essay topic for the history course next term. And the third one is about the history of maths. (Nicolas Bourbaki, to be specific.) So they were all sort of a bit almost relevant to stuff. Kind of… I also got 10% off with my new shiny Waterstones card… So I really only bought 2.7 books.

OK. The Einstein Podolsky Rosen paradox. That’s why I’m here. I need to vent a bit. What? Seriously. It’s bonkers. I know Bohr and friends went a bit crazy with the “indeterminacy is a feature of the world not a defect of the quantum theory” thing with no evidenc. But EPR seems to make similarly unfounded claims about the “reality” of physical quantities witout really explaining what a quantity is or what it means for it to be real. For example is “hage” (=height*age) a real quantity? I don’t know. Its all very silly. I hope Bohr’s reply, which I have yet to read, is a decent paper…

Hage was a term used by Brian Ellis in his Basic Concepts of Measurement. Unfortunately out of print. I am planning to pick myself up a copy off Abebooks later this term… Incidentally, Ellis thought that you have to accept that hage is a quantity, but there are pragmatic practical reasons for choosing the quantities we do when doing actual science.

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Written by Seamus

October 15, 2007 at 2:48 pm

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