Why did Einstein object to quantum mechanics even though he was a major contributor to quantum theory - by Viktor T.Toth - Quora Question Review

This document contains a review of the answer by Steve Baker on the question in Quora: "Why did Einstein object to quantum mechanics even though he was a major contributor to quantum theory" - by Viktor T.Toth
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1. Answer Review

Now, warten Sie eine cotton-picking Minute, bitte… he had a hard time doing what?

Here is how Einstein was described by the Nobel committee when they awarded him the 1921 Nobel prize in physics: “for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.” Say what? Yes, the photoelectric effect. The idea that the electromagnetic field consists of quanta. An idea so crazy, so revolutionary when Einstein presented it in one of his 1905 annus mirabilis papers, even a decade later, his friends felt compelled to offer excuses because, after all, even a genius can make mistakes. Nor was Einstein quite done with quantum physics. Nearly 20 years after that paper, it was Einstein who helped Bose publish his landmark paper (personally translating it into German) in the prestigious Zeitschrift für Physik, along with his own generalization of Bose’s idea into what has become known as the Bose—Einstein statistic of integral spin quantum particles. Einstein did not have a hard time accepting quantum physics. On the contrary, perhaps second only to Planck, Einstein was one of the founding fathers of quantum physics.

What Einstein did have a hard time accepting was the probabilistic, Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics, which came about after the “new” quantum theory, characterized by Schrödinger’s wave mechanics and Heisenberg’s matrix mechanics, was born. The idea that Nature is fundamentally random, and the idea that the boundary conditions of this randomness change instantaneously and retroactively everywhere by the magic, mysterious act of “measurement.”

Einstein was right
I think there is a great deal of sympathy these days towards Einstein’s concerns, but also a recognition that, ultimately, it is all philosophical. What ultimately matters is that the equations correctly replicate what we observe in Nature, not that they be amenable to our intuition, which is deeply rooted in how we experience the classical world.


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Created: 1 June 2023

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