Indeterminacy in Nature


“[…] we’re talking really about things that started 100 years ago. These effects of relativity, that Einstein is so famous for, are one side of things. But of course, he won his Nobel prize for something completely different, which was something to do with quantum physics, which is not related, it maybe related in the future, but it’s not related immediately to the very long times that we’re talking about for cosmological properties, it’s related to very, very short times, related to what electrons do inside atoms, and of course, eventually what things do inside the nucleus of the atom, but let’s just keep it on the scale of, you know, we’re made of atoms, everything is made of atoms, these atoms contain negative charges called electrons and they zip around all over the place very very fast, but they don’t zip around like billiard balls or cricket balls, they’re actually…. they live in this very strange, kind of undecided world of being partly a particle and partly a wave.

This, actually was something that, as I said, Einstein won the Nobel prize for it, but didn’t like, in some sense the monster he created, because he couldn’t… he didn’t accept this indeterminacy at a fundamental level in nature.”

– Neil Johnson, In Our Time (Programme 54) “Time”

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