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March 24, 2015


Mark Montgomery

Nicely done Irving--an elegant story telling, despite the absence of mentioning the pioneer of complexity with our friends at SFI:) One of the reasons we are located in NM--have engaged with many up the hill since conceived my classic CAS in our lab in mid 90s--then in N AZ, but it's better being on the ground as I can participate regularly with visiting scientists from all over the world. I am constantly attempting to remind those who will listen that we need to be a bit careful about allowing the magical mystery tour to deflect away from the rigor and discipline of objectivity, as bias is ever present in the CAS we call humans.

Pasquale Di Cesare

Implied in Irving’s elegant and thought-provoking post is the ontology of quantum mechanics and in particular the reality of the wave function which is a fascinating subject. I feel a bit uncomfortable with Frenkel’s statement that “There is really no escape from the mysterious - some might say, mystical - nature of the quantum world” which I perceive as opting-out from a deeper and objective discussion. Physics has quite abandoned a serious debate with philosophy as was the case in a not too distant past and I feel we are at a point, in fundamental physics, where this would need to be revamped as several scientists are now trying to. Moreover, cantoning to the framework of physics alone, my feeling is that when we take very seriously the essence of what the two physical theories of Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity tell us about our world, when we take both of them to their extreme consequences and follow mathematical consistency leading to Quantum Gravity (e.g. with Loop Quantum Gravity), we might also have a base for clarifying the discussion on what being a “realist” means which is very much related to the reality of the wave function. It is not clear to me why we do not question reality of the macroscopic world while we seem doing it for the microscopic one. It is inspiring here to cite the intuition of Sir. Roger Penrose where a realistic (and testable) view of the wave function “reducing” to the physical state actually observed (what he calls “OR” or Objective Reduction, see his book The Road To Reality) is very profoundly linked to gravity and to other “mysteries” such as time reversal and the entropy law. I feel that in clarifying these connections will lie a lot of new 21st century science and I fully share Inving’s last enthusiastic sentence!


Wave function collapse. Would have been nice to see some mathematics
The quantum state of a physical system is described by a wave function (in turn – an element of a projective Hilbert space). This can be expressed in Dirac or bra–ket notation as a vector.


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