Sunday, 22 January 2017

Quantum Mechanics In Science And Fiction

I seek to draw together threads from three blogs. See:

A Sea Of Virtual Particles
Reality Is Not What It Seems

Poul Anderson writes sf.
Alan Moore writes a novel in which an artist considers the philosophy of science.
Carlo Rovelli tells us the science.

Onward, Earthlings.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    As we know from Poul Anderson's story "Delenda Est," Alfred North Whitehead and Lewis Mumform were among Anderson's chief influences as regards philosophizing about science. I esp. recall Anderson's citing of Mumford on how the invention in Medieval times (circa AD 1200s) of a true mechanical clock by Christian monks was crucial in the rise and developing of a true science.

    Perhaps Carl Rovelli would have been read with interest and careful thought by Anderson?


    1. Sean,
      I think that Rovelli is more recent though.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      He is! That's why I try to put my suggestion about Rovelli only as a hypothetical.

      And all this makes me wonder if Sir Arthur Eddington, another philosopher of science, was also an influence on Poul Anderson. The fictional "Note" prefacing Anderson's THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS has this to say about a British physicist: "I remember one time I persuaded him [Holger Carlsen] to go with me to a lecture by a visiting physicist: one of those magnificent types which only Britain seems to produce, scientist, philosopher, poet, social critic, wit, the Renaissance come back in a gentler shape. The man was discussing the new cosmology. Since then the physicists have gone further, but even in those days educated people used to look back with a certain wistfulness to times when the universe was merely strange--not incomprehensible. He wound up his talk with some frank speculation about what we might discover in the future. It relativity and quantum mechanics have proven that the observer is inseparable from the world he observes, if logical positivism has demonstrated how many of our supposedly solid facts are mere constructs and conventions, if the psychic researchers have shown man's mind to possess unsuspected powers, it begins to look as if some of those old myths and sorceries were a bit more than superstition." This makes me if Anderson had Sir Arthur in mind.