From: Rex Allen
Sent: Sunday, June 12, 2011 4:26 PM
Subject: Genuine Fortuitousness
Interesting paper by Aage Bohr, Nobel prize laureate and son of Niels Bohr:
The Principle Underlying Quantum Mechanics
The present article reports on the finding of the principle behind
quantum mechanics. The principle, referred to as genuine
fortuitousness, implies that the basic event, a click in a counter,
comes without any cause and thus as a discontinuity in spacetime. From
this principle, the formalism of quantum mechanics emerges with a
radically new content, no longer dealing with things (atoms,
particles, or fields) to be measured. Instead, quantum mechanics is
recognized as the theory of distributions of uncaused clicks that form
patterns laid down by spacetime symmetry and is thereby revealed as a
subject of unexpected simplicity and beauty. The departure from usual
quantum mechanics is strikingly borne out by the absence of Planck’s
constant from the theory. The elimination of indeterminate particles
as cause for the clicks, which the principle of genuine fortuitousness
implies, is analogous to the elimination of the ether implied by the
principle of relativity.
It is a hallmark of the theory based on genuine fortuitousness that it
does not admit physical variables. It is, therefore, of a novel kind
that does not deal with things (objects in space), or measurements,
and may be referred to as the theory of no things.
The intuitive feeling of the necessity of particles as cause for the
clicks may be compared with the adherence to the ether. This medium
appeared necessary as a carrier of the electromagnetic waves, but
obscured the discovery of the principle of relativity.
Genuine fortuitousness with its two faces, lack of cause and
discontinuity, is found to be the principle that underlies quantum
mechanics. The acceptance of the completely uncaused clicks goes
against deeply held beliefs, but is consistent with all evidence and
provides a simple principle for the theory.
I found the paper to be very interesting! I would only change one thing
about it and it is the assumption of a prior and separate space-time
continuum. It would make more sense to break with the ontological assumption
that space-time is a "Substance" that has an existence independent of the
acts that generate it. To maintain the substance assumption is to perpetuate
the same mistaken idea that has plagued physics and philosophy for the last
2000 years. We can think of the Poincare group as (one of) the symmetries
that manifest from the patterns of "clicks" as the number of such becomes
Another slight problem is that "clicks" are not the only form of "real"
events, "beables" if you will, that are involved. We also need to
incorporate other kinds of beables such as what we see in spinors and wave
phenomena. One way of connecting discrete events such as "clicks" with the
wave type of phenomena is to see them as opposite poles of a spectrum that
is the result of the Pontryagin duality as it relates discrete topologies to
compact topologies. How spinors are brought in is an open problem.
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