If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics.— Richard P. Feynman
Vibrant Quantum Mechanics quotations
If quantum mechanics hasn't profoundly shocked you, you haven't understood it yet.
[T]he atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real;
they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.
When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence: Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter.
Common sense has no place in Quantum Mechanics.
Second, and relatedly, science progresses by improved instrumentation, by better recordkeeping. Star charts enabled celestial navigation. Johann Balmer’s documentation of the exact spacing of hydrogen’s emission spectra led to quantum mechanics. Gregor Mendel’s careful counting of pea plants led to modern genetics. Things we counted as simply beyond human ken – the stars, the atom, the genome – became things humans can comprehend by simply counting.
I am going to tell you what nature behaves like.
If you will simply admit that maybe she does behave like this, you will find her a delightful, entrancing thing. Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, 'But how can it be like that?' ...Nobody knows how it can be like that.
I count Maxwell and Einstein, Eddington and Dirac, among "real" mathematicians.
The great modern achievements of applied mathematics have been in relativity and quantum mechanics, and these subjects are at present at any rate, almost as "useless" as the theory of numbers.
Solipsism may be logically consistent with present Quantum Mechanics, Monism in the sense of Materialism is not.
It was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.
When the province of physical theory was extended to encompass microscopic phenomena through the creation of quantum mechanics, the concept of consciousness came to the fore again. It was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.
When things get tough, there are two things that make life worth living: Mozart, and quantum mechanics
One needn't be a crank to miss the scientific boat.
The very paragon of genius, Albert Einstein, couldn't be persuaded to give quantum physics his unreserved endorsement. Here is Einstein's most frequently paraphrased statement of dissatisfaction with the theory: Quantum mechanics is very impressive. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory yields a lot, but it hardly brings us any closer to the secret of the Old One. In any case I am convinced that He doesn't play dice.
God does not play dice [with the universe]. [Ger., Gott wurfelt nicht.]
...the physicist cannot simply surrender to the philosopher the critical contemplation of the theoretical foundations; for, he himself knows best, and feels more surely where the shoe pinches...Physical conceptions are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world.
If [quantum theory] is correct, it signifies the end of physics as a science.
Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing.
But an inner voice tells me that this is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not bring us any closer to the secrets of the "Old One." I, at any rate, am convinced that He is not playing at dice.
Our intellect does not draw its laws from nature, but it imposes its laws upon nature.
The great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
What're quantum mechanics?" "I don't know. People who repair quantums, I suppose.
Although quantum mechanics has been around for nearly 70 years, it is still not generally understood or appreciated, even by those that use it to do calculations.
Quantum mechanics, that brilliantly successful flagship theory of modern science, is deeply mysterious and hard to understand. Eastern mystics have always been deeply mysterious and hard to understand. Therefore, Eastern mystics must have been talking about quantum theory all along.
Quantum mechanics provides us with an approximate, plausible, conjectural explanation of what actually is, or was, or may be taking place inside a cyclotron during a dark night in February.
Trying to understand the way nature works involves a most terrible test of human reasoning ability. It involves subtle trickery, beautiful tightropes of logic on which one has to walk in order not to make a mistake in predicting what will happen. The quantum mechanical and the relativity ideas are examples of this.
It is a curious historical fact that modern quantum mechanics began with two quite different mathematical formulations: the differential equation of Schroedinger and the matrix algebra of Heisenberg. The two apparently dissimilar approaches were proved to be mathematically equivalent.
Because the theory of quantum mechanics could explain all of chemistry and the various properties of substances, it was a tremendous success. But still there was the problem of the interaction of light and matter.
I think we can safely assume that no one understands quantum mechanics.
No one really understands quantum mechanics.
You know how it always is, every new idea, it takes a generation or two until it becomes obvious that there's no real problem. It has not yet become obvious to me that there's no real problem. I cannot define the real problem, therefore I suspect there's no real problem, but I'm not sure there's no real problem.
There was a time when the newspapers said that only twelve men understood the theory of relativity. I do not believe there ever was such a time ... On the other hand, I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.
Nature isn't classical, dammit, and if you want to make a simulation of nature, you'd better make it quantum mechanical, and by golly it's a wonderful problem, because it doesn't look so easy.
Unless a thing can be defined by measurement, it has no place in a theory.
And since an accurate value of the momentum of a localized particle cannot be defined by measurement it therefore has no place in the theory.
If I say [electrons] behave like particles I give the wrong impression;
also if I say they behave like waves. They behave in their own inimitable way, which technically could be called a quantum mechanical way. They behave in a way that is like nothing that you have seen before.
I think I can safely say that nobody understands Quantum Mechanics.
[Quantum mechanics] describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is - absurd.
The movement of a single atom from one known position to another known position changes an experience from nothing to overwhelming. This means that mind and matter at the quantum mechanical level are all spun together.
Biology seems to be a chemical strategy for amplifying quantum mechanical indeterminacy so that it leaves the subatomic realm and can be present in a hundred and forty five pound block of meat.
Most of what Einstein said and did has no direct impact on what anybody reads in the Bible. Special relativity, his work in quantum mechanics, nobody even knows or cares. Where Einstein really affects the Bible is the fact that general relativity is the organizing principle for the Big Bang.
It is not intuitive ease I am after, but rather a point of view which is sufficiently definite to clear up some difficulties, and to be criticized in rational terms. (Bohr's complementarity cannot be so criticized, I fear; it can only be accepted or denounced - perhaps as being ad hoc, or as being irrational, or as being hopelessly vague.)
But it is certainly not possible to insist on one hand that the formalism is complete and to insist on the other hand that its application to 'the actual' actually demands a step which cannot be derived from it.
Is the world ruled by strict laws or not? This question I regard as metaphysical. The laws we find are always hypotheses; which means that they may always be superseded, and that they may possibly be deduced from probability estimates. Yet denying causality would be the same as attempting to persuade the theorist to give up his search; and that such an attempt cannot be backed by anything like a proof.
But some of these theories are so bold that they can clash with reality: they are the testable theories of science. And when they clash, then we know that there is a reality; something that can inform us that our ideas are mistaken.
Quantum field theory, which was born just fifty years ago from the marriage of quantum mechanics with relativity, is a beautiful but not very robust child.
Physics is really figuring out how to discover new things that are counterintuitive, like quantum mechanics. It's really counterintuitive.
According to quantum mechanics there is no such thing as objectivity.
We cannot eliminate ourselves from the picture. We are part of nature, and when we study nature there is no way around the fact that nature is studying itself.