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What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics

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The Commonwealth Club

110 The Embarcadero

San Francisco, CA 94105

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Adam Becker, Astrophysicist; Science Writer; Author, What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics
In Conversation with George Hammond, Author, Conversations With Socrates

Monday Night Philosophy and almost all physicists agree that quantum mechanics is among humanity's finest scientific achievements. But ask what it means, and the result will be a not-so-scientific brawl. For a century, most physicists have followed Niels Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation and dismissed questions about the reality underlying quantum physics as meaningless. That is why, even though it is a mishmash of solipsism and poor reasoning, the Copenhagen interpretation has endured, with Bohr's students vigorously protecting his legacy, and the physics community favoring practical experiments over philosophical arguments. As a result, questioning the status quo has almost always meant professional ruin. And yet, from the 1920s to today, physicists such as John Bell, David Bohm and Hugh Everett persisted in seeking the true meaning of quantum mechanics. Join us—first for the gripping story of this battle of ideas and the courageous scientists who dared to stand up for seeking truth, and then for reexamining the littered trail of half-understood research results in the never-discarded quest for answering the fundamental questions that can be summed up as: “What is real?”

Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium, San Francisco
Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing
MLF: Humanities
Program organizer: George Hammond

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The Commonwealth Club

110 The Embarcadero

San Francisco, CA 94105

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