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Luke_A_Somers comments on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) - Less Wrong

42 Post author: orthonormal 12 August 2010 01:08AM

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Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 26 August 2011 11:36:06AM *  27 points [-]


I'm a 32 year old physics PhD, working (so far) on the oh-so-fashionable subfield of graphene and carbon nanotubes. I took Quantum field theory, which is a little unusual for an experimentalist (though not positively rare). I have a background in programming, and a moderate degree of interest in AI.

I came here by way of the Methods of Rationality. After reading that, and upon seeing that there was a sequence on quantum mechanics, I had a suspicion that it wouldn't be terrible. This suspicion was vastly exceeded. I never encountered the slightest technical flaw, which is better than many physicists can produce on the subject, let alone philosophers and amateur physicists.

I began wandering and seeing what else there was, and it is good. The atmosphere also seems quite good around here, so I thought I'd join the community rather than treating it as a collection of essays and comments.

So here I am.

~~~~ Edited to add: ~~~

I am not sure how this got so many upvotes. Was it the praise? The brevity? That I'm a physicist? The score just stands out on the page a bit, and I'm not at all sure why.

Comment author: realitygrill 30 August 2011 08:41:03PM 5 points [-]

upvoted, because I've been wondering how the QM sequence is looked upon by physicists :)

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 08 September 2011 09:03:41PM *  7 points [-]

I'd be interested to know that myself.

I've only spoken with a few because it's a potentially awkward subject. I recall one other strongly and one other regular-strength in favor of MW+decoherence (both in my rough age-group);

one classmate said "decoherence, as I understand it, is a little more reasonable sounding than most", for ontology, but uses the Copenhagen interpretation when thinking about epistemology;

one professor was against MW just on uneasiness grounds, but didn't have a firm opinion;

one professor with the philosophy "If it's just quantum mechanics, I'm not interested. If it's not quantum mechanics, I'm not interested", which is formally equivalent to MW + decoherence but without the explicit acknowledgement that it is;

one who was against everything, especially the part with everything in it;

and too many "Let's stop talking about this/I'm not qualified to have an opinion/Aargh" to count.


In this tiny sample of mostly experimentalists:

People with a preference for the Bohm guide wave interpretation: 0

People with a preference for more sophisticated just-QM interpretations such as transactional or consistent histories: 0

People who accept wavefunction collapse as real: 1 on the fence.

A survey on the subject could be interesting.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 09 October 2011 12:30:19AM *  4 points [-]

It's because you're a physicist who commented about the QM sequence. I, and apparently a lot of other people who've read it, really wanted to know if we've absorbed any mistakes. Thanks for giving a more informed opinion than most of us can bring. :)

Comment author: christina 30 August 2011 05:39:48AM *  3 points [-]

I can't answer for anyone else, but I think graphene work sounds pretty cool, so here's an upvote from me!