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Quantum physics and the first-person perspective

Seeing | Quantum physics

Markus Müller, PhD | 2022-10-23

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The Nobel Prize in physics in 2022 went to scientists who, for over 40 years, have carried out a series of experiments indicating that, contrary to materialist expectations, physical entities do not have standalone existence but are, in fact, products of observation. This result is extraordinarily relevant to our understanding of the nature of reality, and so Essentia Foundation’s conference this year is organized in collaboration with the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Vienna (IQOQI-Vienna), of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The  IQOQI-Vienna is home to Prof. Anton Zeilinger, one of 2022’s Nobel Laureates in physics. The conference will be hosted by IQOQI-Vienna’s Dr. Markus Müller and feature seven other speakers. You can attend the conference online, for free, without need for registration, by using this link: https://webinar.cue-support.nl/essentiafoundation. So set the dates in your calendars: 17 and 18 November 2022, between 2:00pm and 5:45pm (Central European Standard Time, CEST).

Classical physics describes the objective and deterministic evolution of a unique external world composed of material entities. One of its main characteristics is to keep the observer out of the description, and this commitment has historically, without doubt, been an important methodological strength. However, quantum physics challenges this commitment: for example, the measurement problem attributes special significance to the act of observation, and Bell’s theorem challenges the assumption that measurements always reveal preexisting properties of the world.

Are some ‘laws of nature’ better interpreted as agents’ betting strategies than facts of the world? Should we think of quantum theory as relational, and if so, as specifically relative to an observer, as Wigner’s friend-type thought experiments may suggest? At this conference, we will discuss whether, and if so, how, the first-person perspective is an irreducible part of quantum physics, and what this may tell us about the paradigm of materialism.

You can watch the conference live via this link: https://webinar.cue-support.nl/essentiafoundation.

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