The Copenhagen Interpretation: Quantum Physics vs. Relativity

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The Copenhagen Interpretation: Quantum Physics vs. Relativity (59:00)
Item# 35291

This program provides a substantive overview of the theoretical dispute between Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr, a controversy that still resonates today. Bohr’s Copenhagen Interpretation—that measurement of phenomena creates a set of possible outcomes and that unobserved phenomena are meaningless—is thoroughly explained in conjunction with Einstein’s cause-and-effect approach. Using clever animation, archival footage, and interviews with leading physicists, the video illustrates Bohr’s double-slit experiment, the EPR paradox, and modern demonstrations of entanglement, composing an effective summary of quantum principles and the problematic friendship of two towering intellects. (59 minutes)

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Segments in this Video - (16)

1. Copenhagen Interpretation (03:25)
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Niels Bohr provides the answer to the paradox of quantum reality. Albert Einstein, however, is unable to accept his answer because he feels that Bohr’s theory does not allow physics to describe an independent reality.

2. Particle and Wave Theories (03:55)

Physicists discuss whether light photons can be described as particles or waves. Einstein argues that light can be described in terms of particles. Bohr's "complementarity" argument states that nature is influenced by measuring instruments.

3. Bohr and Schroedinger (04:08)

In 1962, Bohr records his argument with Einstein. Schroedinger does not capitulate to Bohr's argument, and he remains a realist rather than a relativist. Bohr insists that particle theory of light is proven in the double-slit experiment.

4. Quantum Mechanics (03:25)

In 1927, Einstein is unimpressed with Bohr's theory of complimentarity because it includes the influence of measuring instruments. Quantum mechanics is the probability of what may be found as a result of observation.

5. Classical vs. Quantum Mechanics (02:43)

Einstein believes there is an explainable physical reality at the quantum level, whereas Bohr theorizes that at the quantum level there is no reality. A dualism exists in which quantum mechanics and classical mechanics must co-exist.

6. Particle/Wave Duality (04:04)

Anton Zeilinger creates a double-slit experiment with molecules consisting of more than a hundred atoms to test whether these particles display wave properties. In 1927, Bohr demonstrates to Einstein that wave and particle behavior cannot be observed simultaneously.

7. Paradoxical Thought Experiment (02:58)

In 1935, the Einstein/Bohr dispute makes the "New York Times." Einstein continues his work to describe nature as a reality independent of measuring instruments. Einstein argues that, "everything has local causes."

8. Einstein's Paradox (04:05)

Bohr addresses but does not dismiss Einstein's paradox of quantum vs. relative mechanics. The ongoing debate between Bohr and Einstein becomes less stringent, as Bohr accepts the inexplicable and Einstein acknowledges "God's intentions."

9. Photon Entanglement Experiments (05:32)

Beneath the Danube River in a 600-meter tunnel, Zeilinger tests the limits of the paradoxes of quantum mechanics. His photon entanglement experiments support Bohr's contention that particle changes are dependent upon the measuring instruments used.

10. Alternative Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (05:10)

David Bohm questions the inability of quantum mechanics to describe independent reality. Basil Hiley and Bohm focus on Bohr's demonstration of entanglement, and Bohm explains entanglement in terms of "quantum potential."

11. Exploration of Quantum Potential (02:28)

Like gravitational potential, quantum potential cannot be seen, but both "reveal their presence" in material consequences. This can explain "non-locality" of causes, but this explanation may only be an "artificial" one.

12. Hugh Everett’s "Many Worlds" Interpretation (03:15)

In 1957, Everett poses a new interpretation of quantum mechanics. Everett argues that electrons are not wave phenomena, but that interference patterns in the double-slit experiment indicate the existence of "other worlds."

13. Interpretation of Hugh Everett's "Many Worlds" Theory (02:14)

Cambridge physics professor Arthur Eckert explains that in Everett's "other worlds" the observer must also exist in many worlds. Thus, events occur simultaneously, and many separate worlds exist side by side.

14. Quantum Mechanics and Human Consciousness (03:27)

It is difficult to find a satisfactory theory of quantum mechanics. A physicist suggests that one day it may be possible to observe Everett's "many words" just as planets in other universes may one day be visible.

15. Quantum Computers (03:51)

Entangled particles will store information in quantum computers, enabling them to calculate in seconds what in today's computers could take years. Ongoing experiments attempt to polarize a third particle that must meet two entangled particles in a process called teleportation.

16. Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr (02:24)

Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr maintain their friendship, Einstein serving as Bohr's most important spiritual sounding board. From the 1920s, they discuss the Copenhagen Interpretation, highlighting its central paradoxes.

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