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Quantum Mechanics - the dream stuff is made of

Friedrich Wagner, September 2015

Quantum mechanics builds today together with the general theory of relativity the cornerstone of theoretical physics. The predictions of this theory have been confirmed in countless experiments with an almost fantastic accuracy, enabling technologies such as lasers, solar cells and transistors as building blocks of modern computers. This remarkable empirical success contrasts however with the equally remarkable fact that this theory has not found a generally accepted interpretation - almost 100 years after its final formulation we still don't know how to interpret it physically. But one thing seems certain: our usual "classical" understanding of nature will have to be completely revised in light of the phenomena of the quantum world.

Since I have been interested in this topic for quite some time and am still fascinated about new contributions,
I decided to make an attempt to highlight the special properties of the quantum world as clearly as possible and to gather the strengths and weaknesses of the current interpretations. I am confident that the amazing - if not downright shocking! - behavior of this world can be illustrated also for readers without physical knowledge and I want to enable them (that is you) to come to an own point of view in the current interpretation debate. This essay in three parts is the result of these efforts, for which I took advantage of many books and articles on this subject. The main sources are referenced at the end of the second part.

This much may already be revealed: every single interpretation attempt will turn out as so weird and unsatisfying, each in its own way, that the statement of Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics, has not lost any of its relevance: "Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it."

Let the shocking discovery journey begin...

Friedrich Wagner: Quantum Mechanics - the dream stuff is made of