a first post which is not the first post

As I understand it, quantum theory consists of two parts.

... the 2nd part is Born's rule and using it
one can follow the 'shut up and calculate' approach which is so
successful. On the other hand, trying to really understand or
even derive it can be quite confusing and I admit that I am confused [*].

But in my case, this is just one of several issues in physics which I
do not understand. To be honest, I already have a problem to explain
what exactly 'probability' is supposed to mean. And why do we use
it most often when considering the future but not the past?
I feel like Augustinus and if I wish to explain, I recognize that I do not know.

Whenever I considered myself to be a physicist, I suffered from the suspicion of being a fraud. Like most physicists I used (and abused) various mathematical
concepts, but quite often I really had no clue
what I was doing
But it seems that I am perhaps not the only one [x] with this problem...

Later, I found a solution to my doubts - I simply do not consider
myself to be a real physicist any longer.
At least I can feel free now to ask stupid questions and make silly proposals...

This is why this blog exists. Again.

As some readers know there is that chance that I may delete it as soon
as the feeling of being a fraud creeps up again. What is the probability of
that? A good question, which I may be able to answer as soon as you help me
figure out what probability means .-)

If you found this first blog post by chance and want to get a better idea in advance what this blog will be about, I suggest you
take a look at this page.

Welcome to the statistical mechanic and let's hope it will be an interesting journey.

PS: Perhaps you noticed that this text was somehow written in reverse order.
It is not that I try to be confusing on purpose - but often it just comes out that way...

[*] A good starting point is this paper by Zurek and I also recommend these comments.
Notice that the comments appeared earlier than the original paper on the arxiv 8-)

And there is a video of a lecture by Sidney Coleman on quantum theory, which I recommend. (If you want to jump to his treatment of the 'measurement problem' move to min. 38 and probability is discussed at min. 55)

[x] I should clarify that in my opinion the interesting part of the Bogdanov Affair is not played by the two brothers, but the community of professional physicists. E.g. consider this statement of Roman Jackiw: "It showed some originality and some familiarity with the jargon. That's all I ask."


Arjen Dijksman said...

Hello Wolfgang, looking forward to your coming blogposts! I had a look at that lecture of Sydney Coleman and will have to view it entirely.

BTW, this blog seems to know cyclic revivals. In my Google reader, the whole history shows up;-)

wolfgang said...

It seems Google does not forget anything...
I am not sure if this is a good thing 8-)

Arjen Dijksman said...

Maybe this is specific to blogspot.com

aeolist said...

Whenever I considered myself to be a physicist, I suffered from the suspicion of being a fraud.

Same here.t

Cosma said...

I hope that, in this spirit, this is the last time we see TSM resurrected (though this makes an important point about Schrodinger's cat experiment).

wolfgang said...


this is really funny. I thought about the Schroedinger LOLcat for my announcement but could not remember where I saw it.


I am sure everybody knows the feeling of sitting in a conference or lecture talk suspecting that most of the audience does not understand it - and still there are no questions.
I also remember some talks where I was pretty sure that the speaker did not (fully) understand what he was talking about.
In fact, years ago I (had to) attend a seminar where students reported on the progress of their thesis and research work and the main purpose was for the audience (consisting of professors and other students) to demonstrate that the speaker really had no clue what he or she was talking about. They usually succeeded...
I remember this seminar now with a strange mixture of nostalgia and nightmare.

Dave Bacon said...

If I had all the time in the world, I would spend it studying time and probability. I look forward to your posts!

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